Growing Up in Guatemala City: There's Always a Way Out

Updated: Dec 2, 2018

Irving has been surrounded by expats, foreign friends and tourists for several years now. Unlike many people with a similar childhood, he succeeded to leave behind the tough neighbourhoods of Guatemala City, to start his own business, to keep educating himself and realizing his dreams.

"I grew up in Guatemala City in a pretty bad area. There was a war between two cartels so if you said anything bad or were at the wrong place at the wrong time, you could easily get killed. Everybody had a gun from the black market, even kids. By the time I was a teenager, I lost 17 friends of mine. One of my best friends and neighbour was killed with a grenade. A cousin was shot dead in the street. I was really close to death twice but I was lucky. When I was 14, my mum left us to go to work in New York, and my dad didn't take care of me. I couldn't get a job here so I joined her a few years later."

"Time passed by, my grandfather got sick and we both decided to come back to Guatemala to look after him. In our country, you can choose between two things: culture or development. If you choose culture, you have kids already at an early age and with development, you opt for education. I chose the latter so I got a diploma and worked hard. I saved up enough money to start my own business which is providing accommodation for visitors. But after living abroad, travelling through Europe and being around foreigners so much, I just realised that I love Antigua, I love the volcanoes around but I don't feel Guatemalan anymore."


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