A Visit to Guatemala for the Start of the School Year.

February 7, 2015

Dear friends.

Last month I returned from an extended visit to Guatemala during which I pondered the mysteries of life in the country which enable a beer company to place promotional Christmas trees in the public spaces of many towns and cities on an annual basis and the possible return to political life of a former president who is currently a guest of the U.S. federal prison system.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Fortunately I also was able to visit with many friends and organizations that I knew, including the school we support in the community of El Triunfo in the department of Sololá.

One of my last meetings with this group.

One of my last meetings with this group.

I visited the school several times during my visit, first meeting with the COCODE (the community’s economic development council) on January 3. It was a bitter-sweet meeting as this would one of the last times I would be working with this group. A new COCODE has been selected by the community and their two-year term will begin on March 10. But the current committee has done an excellent job of leading projects in the community, including the construction of a new path down the hillside to the school! The path will make the hike up and down the hill much easier, especially during the coming rainy season.

The new walkway leading down the hill to the school.

Walkway

On January 7 I was able to chat with the teachers and staff of the school, where I received a wonderful surprise. Rosa, a young woman from the community and a former pupil in the middle school, has been hired as the secretary for the middle school! It was great to see her in her new role as she has had to overcome many challenges to complete her education.

Rosa at work registering students.

During the following week I had the chance to meet with members of the new COCODE as well as with some of the new students in the school during an orientation day. Students were still registering for classes during my visit and enrollment for the grade seven class rose from 25 to 28 in front of my eyes. The following week, after my return to Canada, I was told that enrollment rose to 32 students in grade seven with another 15 students each in the grade seven and eight classes. Unfortunately enrollment is still a bit low in the high school with only 18 students in total. It’s hoped that a few more students will enroll by the end of next week.

Registration of New Students for Grade 7

While the budget for this year’s project remains the same in Guatemalan currency, our actual costs are going up thanks to the sharp decrease in the Canadian dollar. (The Guatemalan currency has only slightly declined vs the U.S. dollar over the past year.) So I hope I can count on your continued support of the project this year and perhaps a little bit extra.

The school is also seeking additional resources to connect the computer lab in the school to the Internet as well to buy a small bus to help transport students and staff to and from the school as students are now travelling to the school from villages up to 5 km away.

You can donate online here.

(Click on “Donate Now.” Then under “You can select to apply your donation to a specific fund set up by this charity,” select “El Triunfo School Project.”)

You can also mail a cheque payable to Pueblito Canada to (please note this is a new address) :

 Pueblito Canada 

107A 2238 Dundas St. W

Toronto, ON M6R 3A9

ATTN: El Triunfo School Project

Please note Pueblito is also in a position to accept donations of securities.

Orientation Day

Further photos from the school are online here  and some general trip photos are here.

Thanks! Ken

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