January update and a party invitation

January 21, 2011

Dear friends,

 On Monday, after a two month break, students headed back to class in Guatemala, including at the school we are supporting in the community of El Triunfo. More importantly it is the first week for the first grade ten classes in the instituto diversificado (high school.) The grade ten students join the middle school (grades seven to nine) which we have been supporting for the last three years. With our help, the community has been able to establish one of the only high schools in a rural area in the department of Solola, which has a population of over 260,000 people. (There are high schools but only in the larger urban areas.) I hope to be able to share photos and more details with you shortly from the first day of school.

 This week we were also able to purchase a number of new desks, computers and other items, including a blackboard so that the new class started the year with all of the required equipment. 

I’d also like to invite you to participate in two upcoming events. The first is coming up next month and the second may take place in the summer.

 First, please join me as I celebrate my 40th birthday on Friday, February 4 at The Duke of York on Prince Arthur Avenue in Toronto.  We’re taking over The Cellar in the basement of the pub for a celebration which will start at 5 pm. Tickets require a minimum donation of $25 and include a beverage and appetizers with all remaining proceeds going to the school. Please let me know by the end of the day on February 2 if you can attend. Feel free to invite other friends and colleagues. The more the merrier!

 I’m currently planning another event with Pueblito Canada, the NGO which supports the school, for later in the year. We’re organizing a ten day travel seminar to Guatemala to visit the school and other cooperatives and projects which are improving the lives of thousands of Guatemalans. Some visits may include the school in El Triunfo; Asociacion Maya De Desarrollo which is the women’s weaving cooperative I work with in the community of El Triunfo, and the Comite Campesino del Altiplano (Campesino Committee of the Highlands) which produces the fair trade coffee I sell.  There would be a fixed price for the travel seminar which would include air fare, transportation within Guatemala, accommodation, some meals, honourariums to the groups we visit, and translation. Please let me know if you are interested.

And don’t forget that your tax deductable donations for the school are still welcome. We need approximately $3500 per month simply to pay the salary of the teachers. Donations can be directed to Pueblito Canada. You can read details on how to donate by mail or online in my previous message.  



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