Gustavo Valle was born in the village of Zacatecas, Pastores, Gautemala in 1971. As a young boy his father impressed upon him not only to better himself through education, but to also use his talents and resources to better the life in his community. During his early adult years he worked for the Peace Corps as a Spanish and Cultural Perspectives instructor.
When we first met Gustavo, he was working as a Spanish teacher in the mornings in a school in Antigua, and teaching social studies and English in the junior high school in the village of La Trinidad. In 2007, Gustavo, Ann Austin and Gary Teale began formulating the plans for an organization to help improve the quality of education in rural Guatemalan villages. That led to the founding of Asociacion Avivara in the spring of 2008.
During those early years of Avivara, Gustavo would travel on his motorcycle, visiting different schools and interviewing students for the Avivara Scholarship program. As the project grew, Gustavo's responsibilities increased and he began working full-time with Avivara in 2009. Over the last ten years, he administered grants to over 24 schools and scholarships for over 250 scholarship students. But he was much more than just an Avivara administrator. He was a mentor, father-figure and friend to our scholarship students, his fellow teachers, and other young adults in his community.
In the latter months of 2017, Gustavo and the administrative team of Avivara were beginning the process of transferring more responsibility and authority to him and a Guatemalan team of advisors so that there would be even more Guatemalan input and ownership of Avivara’s programs in Guatemala.
Then, suddenly, in the afternoon of Saturday, December 30, we received a frantic phone call from Gustavo’s sister telling us that he had suffered a heart attack while playing soccer and had been taken to the hospital in Antigua.
Sadly, Gustavo died in route to the hospital.
He is survived by his wife, Gloria, his daughter Ana Lucia (age 16), and his son, Juan David (age 11). Both of his parents are still alive and his death was for them their third child’s death in their family of eight children.