August 19, 2010
Yesterday I returned from a quick visit to Guatemala and the community of El Triunfo. Construction continues on the second floor expansion at the school. Since my visit a month ago, the concrete roof has cured and the bamboo supports removed. On Tuesday, the workers were applying a final coat of concrete to the walls and ceiling. Once this is done, the walls and ceiling will be painted, lights and light switches will be installed, a tile floor laid down followed by the installation of windows and doors. I’ve posted some new photos of the construction to here. The workers in the photos are either fathers, brothers, or uncles of students in the school.
I also had a meeting with members of the community economic development committee (COCODE is the Spanish acronym) and Edwin, the school director, about our plans for the rest of the year and next year. Edwin outlined the curriculum for the first grade ten class which starts in January. It includes courses in law, economics, accounting, computers, English as well as Kaqchikel, the Mayan language spoken in the community. In the new few months, we’ll also need to equip one of the three classrooms in the expansion with desks, a blackboard, and new computers, among other items.
So far this year, your support of the project has been wonderful. The students, teachers and the entire community are very grateful for your help in ensuring the school’s operation. While the Ministry of Education in Guatemala is very impressed with the school, there is no indication of financial support in the short term.
Your donations to help finish the expansion and pay for the teachers’ salaries for the remainder of the year are always welcome (and tax deductable!) You can donate online at http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=25964 (Click on “Donate Now.” Then under “Fund/Designation,” select “El Triunfo School Project.”) Or you can also send a cheque payable to Pueblito Canada to:
El Triunfo School Project
The Centre for Social Innovation
Suite 165 – 215 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2C7
I’ll be travelling again to Guatemala in October when the expansion will be inaugurated with several days of festivities including religious ceremonies by a Mayan priest as well as by the local Evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches. If you would like to come visit and see things for yourself, send me a note.