September 16, 2010
As usual when Guatemala made national headlines earlier this month, it wasn’t a good news story. After days of torrential rains, mudslides came crashing down on houses and highways killing dozens. The rainy season was kicked off in May by two tropical storms and since then, the rain simply hasn’t stopped. It’s been the wettest year in decades. Many of you have asked about how my friends in Guatemala are doing. In the village of El Triunfo where the school is located, there has fortunately been only some minor damage but they’ve endured many days when the Pan-American Highway which runs on the mountain above the village has been closed due to slides. My friends with the CCDA (Comite Campesino del Altiplano) who provide us with Café Justicia also survived the last bit of rain with no loss of life but, unfortunately, in many communities, crops which had been replanted after the storms in May were once again swept away.
I’m going to Guatemala in a few weeks for the official inauguration of the school expansion which will be marked by traditional Mayan religious ceremonies, a Catholic mass, Evangelical Protestant services and finishing with a community wide celebration on October 11.
This project has not been possible without your continuing financial, spiritual and moral support. When I’m in the village, I often say, that the school is not “Ken’s project.” It’s a project which belongs to “everyone” – starting with the students, their parents, the entire village, and the teachers. Without the community’s support, it simply cannot exist. “Everyone” includes my friends and family; my sister Margaret and our friend Suzanne who are hosting a fundraiser on Saturday evening. “Everyone” includes my colleagues and friends from the Rotman School, who are supportive when I’m ‘working’ from Guatemala and Jennifer who is hosting the 5th annual edition of Ken’s Guatemalan Dance Party on September 25. “Everyone” includes my regular customers at St. Lawrence Market who stop by to say hello and ask about the school. And “everyone” includes all of you who are able to donate and those who send me those wonderful messages of support.
We (“everyone”) are approaching the last couple of months of the school year and looking forward to the opening of the school expansion and the first grade ten class in January. Funds are need to cover the expenses remaining in the year and to ensure that the school will be as successful in 2011 as it is this year. While we don’t have the construction expenses to deal with next year, we do need to buy new desks, computers and other items for the new classroom.
Your donations 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
If you haven’t checked out the photos of the new second floor at the school, please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/29121052@N07/ and don’t forget there are videos from the school at http://www.youtube.com/user/kenguate