Empower women. Eliminate poverty.


Giving Back: An Interview with our Guatemalan Intern Navith Caban

Navith Caban is a native of Guatemala, currently living in Miami, FL. She reached out to Friendship Bridge several months ago asking to join our team, and has since come on as our newest Social Media Intern! She is the first native Guatemalan to intern with us here in the United States. We recently sat down with her to get her story and learn about why she has chosen to work with Friendship Bridge.

(Friendship Bridge) “How old were you when you came to live in the US from Guatemala and how long have you lived here?”

(Navith Caban) “I had been visiting Miami since I was 7 years old after my father passed away, but we finally moved when I was 16 years old. I have been living in US for almost 13 years.”

(FB) “What was your first impression of the US compared to life in Guatemala?”

(NC) “Security was my first impression when I moved to US. In Guatemala it wasn’t so safe to travel around if you don’t have a car, and even then it’s a little dangerous. You would avoid wearing anything flashy when you would go to certain places. Don’t get me wrong Guatemala is a beautiful country and they have cleaned up a lot of the areas! The tourist areas are very important for the locals to increase their business traffic. The other thing that I remember and that I try to forget, is about the men being so disrespectful towards women. It is not surprising because we are still fighting for our rights around the world.” 

(FB) “What opportunities do you have here that you didn’t in Guatemala?”

(NC) “Freedom to do anything without looking over your shoulder. It took me a while to feel this empowered and to take more chances in life. Back in Guatemala it was more like following culture rules. I really believe that if I hadn’t moved to US my grandmother would have married me and my sister off at early age, because in her mind men provided. My grandmother was from Retalhuleu with no education because her mother put her to work at an early age.”

(FB) “What do you miss about Guatemala?”

(NC) “Even though I’m vegan now, I would definitely say I miss all the traditional foods (the ones I liked such as  ‘Pepian’ or ‘Jokon’) and my favorite fruit Green mango ‘mango verde’. The ‘mango verde’ is not like we see in every tree down here in Miami because the Guatemala mango is small and bitter. You can add anything to it from chilli, lemon, salt and Pepita (a grayish powder) made out of the pumpkin seeds.”

(FB) “How did you find out about Friendship Bridge?”

(NC) “I was looking for organizations about helping women grow emotionally and financially. I never thought I would find something close to my heart, my country, and about empowering women!” 

(FB) “What made you decide to work with Friendship Bridge?”

(NC) “The clients and their stories. I want to help them see that with a little bit of education greater goals can be reached. Any dream can be accomplished by working hard and smart. Women can be very strong and independent too.”

(FB) “What do you hope to see happen in Guatemala to give women more opportunities?”

(NC) “A safer way of transportation for women and children to help them reach their destinations. They need to be able to see more of Guatemala, not only their birth place. I was never able to really see Guatemala. The only place I remember to visit is Esquipulas, Antigua and San Lucas. My life was home to school, school to home. I would like to see more sexual health education too. Guatemala is a very religious country and sometimes this becomes a big problem in every teenager girl. I was raised by my grandmother because my mother had to work more after my father passed away. In my grandmother’s mind you couldn’t talk about the topic and you have to wait to have sexual relationships until marriage. I don’t blame her but I’m glad my private school offered a one time class for those who parents allowed them to attend it. I think is very important for every young girl to learn about their bodies and to be safe without being scared to talk about it.”

(FB) “What do you hope to gain personally working with Friendship Bridge as an intern?”

(NC) “I want to get in touch with my roots because writing about Guatemala brings back memories some good others not so much.”

(FB) “How will this help your personal and career goals?”

(NC) “My personal and career goals work together because I want to be able to get out of my comfort zone. I want to take more chances in life and learn from all theses women that started their businesses from nothing. I want to grow mentally and professionally.”

(FB) “Is there anything you would like US supporters of Friendship Bridge to know about us?”

(NC) “A little help can make a big difference in Guatemala! It’s a beautiful country and Friendship Bridge shows what they are capable of. The Guatemalan women are very hard workers and humble. Friendship Bridge wants to build more bridges between every women, together we are stronger than ever.”

We want to thank Navith for all her hard work and dedication, not only to Friendship Bridge, but to her country of Guatemala. It’s because of interns and volunteers like her Friendship Bridge is able to do the important work we do of creating opportunities that empower Guatemalan women to build a better life. If you are interested in becoming an intern or volunteer with us, please call us at (303) 674-0717, or email info@friendshipbridge.org.