There is a strong belief in Colombian culture that social mobility does not exist. It is thought that if you are born poor, you will die poor, your children will be poor… It serves as a great consolation prize to the privileged upper class that controls most of the country. My grandfather beat these odds. He was the first person in his entire family to attend university, but was forced to abandon his studies and his dream of becoming an attorney to provide for my father. Through hard work, he was able to make his small corner pharmacy into one of the biggest franchises in Colombia. Because of my grandfather’s sacrifices, my father became the first person to finish his studies. To my grandfather’s delight, my father became an attorney. This leather jacket was the jacket he took to Madrid, Spain where he attended IE Business School to attain his MBA. This was the first time he had ever left the country, and he did it because he believed in the importance of education. As I got ready to leave for college, my father pulled this jacket out from the depths of his closet (we live in a very warm climate so winter attire is scarcely necessary) and handed it to me as a symbolic gesture showing me how proud he was that I was following his steps. This jacket means more to me than any other possession ever could, and every time I wear it, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be where I am and to have what I have.
– Maria Rodriguez