Hollywood-letters are extending 30 feet high over the tiny village in northeastern Guatemala. About fifteen thousand people live in Chivarreto, and almost every household has one or more family members in the United States, most of whom work illegally in Los Angeles. The village´s name in large letters where the migrant´s gift to those who remained.
On the way to Chivarreto the car stops at one of the many shops along the road where gasoline is sold illegally. The high fuel prices have provoked this competition to the regular gas station. The driver asks the owner of the temporary outlet, if the police are doing anything about this practice.
«Nothing», she replies. «They get their share».
Here in the mountain village lives the Maldonado Hernandez-family. Their house is composed of brick walls, plank, tin roof and a dirt floor. It is home to twelve persons. The youngest family member is only three months old. His mother is 16. One of the youngest sisters, Amaryllis, is 21. She has a daughter of one year. This dry and barren village is home to Antonia Maldonado Hernandez.
In Chivarreto everyone knows her as Nixa. It is her K´iche-Indian name. At home she speaks K´iche and dresses in traditional clothing. The shirt, the Huipil, she sticks into a colorful corte, a piece of cloth wrapped around the hips and used as skirt. Antonia choose tones of the soil and sky, deep red, green or blue. When she is in the city, where she studies law, she wears modern clothes, jeans and t-shirt. She has coloured a blue strip in her hair, which her grandmother does not approve of.
As her mother´s and grandmother´s, Antonia´s future seemed determined. She was going to be a wife and mother, stay at home and look after the house. But Antonia chose differently.
Early 2009, the future looks bright. Not long ago Antonia celebrated her graduating Secondary, and she has just begun her law studies. Then, she discovers she is pregnant. But Antonia does not want to be a housewife. She wants to study, work, and maybe make a small difference working as a lawyer. So she chooses to go through with an abortion, with the help of a small, white pill.
Today she is happy that she chose abortion. Antonia dreams about doing something for her people and for the future generations.
«I said to myself», says Antonia. «If I don’t do anything to make a change, as a young woman living this from day to day, who will do it? The women here are like plants. They are born, they grow, they reproduce and then they die. I refuse to be a plant».
Antonia made a difficult and dangerous choice. In Guatemala, abortion is illegal. Abortion can only be granted if the woman's life is in danger. In spite of this, a Guttmacher-report estimates that 65.000 abortions are performed in the country every year. With every fourth birth, an abortion is performed.
Guatemalan women bear an average of 4.4 children each. That is the highest number in Latin-America. At the same time, the use of contraception is the lowest in Central-America. Only half of the women in a relationship, are using contraception.