Friday, April 15, 2016

Another beautiful start to the day! A few went for a walk to the back of the property to see an amazing sunrise. There was a haze in the valley and contrasted by the clear mountains and we could see the sunshine on the peak of the volcano. It has been very quiet for the last few days.
Carmen made another wonderful breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, mango and coffee. Lauren and Doug accompanied Mynor on the school bus to pick up the students for the Center of Hope School. The students were excited and the bus was packed full of energy.

Science Fair
The students were going to have science for the morning. The science programs were from Ontario’s Scientists in School program. The team members presenting the science program were Diane P., Lauren, Brian, Suzanne and Cathy. The science workshop began with “Elephants Toothpaste” and many wide eyed happy faces. We divided the group of 40 students into 5 equal sized group and travelled to five exciting centres including magnets, structures, sight and hearing, marine biology, and solar and light energy. Since science is not a part of the curriculum in Guatemala learning was happening by both students and teachers.
The students spent 20 minutes at each center, experimenting and exploring all the activities. It was a delight to share the science activities from the Ontario science curriculum with the students. Highlights from each center were: the Solar art wheel which allowed the students to hold the solar wheel up to the sun to create a work of art, a competition between students as to which item was magnetic or not magnetic, the sound of the ocean waves from the snails at the marine biology center, the concept of needing light to see an object in the birdhouse, and creating a structure using connectors and straws. We hope the students had as much fun as we did.

Stove Program
Kelly, Doug, and Angel headed to La Hermita to finish the stove that was started yesterday.  We carried our tools down the steep path that would challenge a goat and arrived at the house.  Momma let us in and we began mixing more mortar to finish the stove.  The family had to leave so it was all business for the three of us.  Kelly mixed mortar, Doug cut blocks with a machete and Angel laid the brickwork.  After awhile, Angel got a phone call from Mynor saying he would be there in 10 minutes to pick us up.  So it was double time to finish the parging of the stove.  I haven’t seen Angel move that quick.  Just as we finished the stove, Momma returned so we showed her the gifts we left for the family and climbed back up the vertical goat path to Mynor who was waiting to take us back to the school.

Shoe Distribution at Corrales School
So we headed up the mountain to the town of Corrales with three hockey bags full of shoes in the hopes that we could meet the needs of all the children.  We proceeded into the school and laid out the shoes with boys on one table and the girls shoes on the second.  Four small chairs were brought in from a classroom for the children to sit on.  The teacher and principal then walked around the classrooms to determined who and in what order the children would be selected. Diane, Tim and Juli would then take their shoes off, determine if the current shoes were the appropriate size or not and then we tried to find a pair that the child would like and was the correct fit.  Many times the children would say Grande as they are used to having shoes or boots that are too small. The children had washed their feet prior to the shoe distribution but many had washed with their shoes and socks still on, this made it a challenge to get wet feet into shoes with no socks.  
In most cases we were able to find a great match yet in other cases the shoes we gave out were too big or the wrong gender colour, none the less the kids accepted them because they were far better than what they already had.  In most cases the shoes or boots they were wearing had holes thru the sole and the heels were split to elongate the wear. Some of the shoes were brand new the children would do anything to get their foot into that shoe even if it was two sizes too small. There were two boys that were buddies who were able to walk away with matching high top basketball shoes and their excitement and gratitude had us all emotionally charged.

We wrapped up and put the remaining shoes away and headed out to the road where all the children followed.  We then dug in our bags for candy and proceeded to chuck it in the air watching the kids scramble desperately for their fix of sugar.  I wish that it was money that we could give but the excitement was unmeasurable as if it was. As were drove away in the back of the truck we continued to launch candy as the kids followed us as if they were in a marathon.

Once back at the school the sponsored school children presented “Thank you” songs in Spanish and English and the story of creation through song. The children and staff were so appreciative of the time, talent and enthusiasm we share with them this past week.

We had a very quick lunch of sandwiches, fruit and potato chips.  We quickly loaded up the bed, gifts and armoire for the presentation and dedication of the Build a Home Project.

Adopt a Home
We were delighted to finally complete our adopt a home construction and present the completed home to Claudia, Freddie, William and Grandma. Funds for the “Build a Home” came from Uxport Tools in Port Perry. The families’ tears showed their gratitude. Their eyes widened as we carried in a new bed and armoire.  We attempted to attach the metal bedsprings with the headboard and footboard. But a rock and muscle power helped the bed go together. Dianne and Cathy taught mom Claudia how to make a bed with sheets and blankets.  We said our goodbyes and came back to the “Centre of Hope”.
We presented clothing, shoes, and toys to the family. Diane presented a homemade knitted square blanket to the family. Claudia mom was really overwhelmed with gratitude. This was the biggest gesture she has every experienced as she grew up in an orphanage.  Claudia is six months pregnant and was presented with a baby blanket and clothes with an angel teddy bear. We did a dedication with a prayer and blessing for the house. After a group photo we said our goodbyes and came back to the “Centre of Hope”.

Corrales Food, Clothing, Shoe Distribution
As we arrived back, 24 families from Corrales were waiting for us to distribute food, clothes and shoes. We offered a teaching on “Peace” to the women, and the God’s Eye Craft for the children.  Each child received a stuffed animal, while moms picked two pairs of shoes, three pairs of clothing, one pair of socks, and one hat.  Tim made sure that each woman received a freshly picked rose. This was a special time for Doug who met with up with his sponsored little girl Alba, who is from Corrales and received her gift package. Doug’s adopted sponsored girl was from the 2013 “Build A Home” project.

Presentation of Unsponsored Children
No sooner did they leave, when our next group arrived.  This new group consisted of 16 unsponsored children who are registered to begin kindergarten in January at the “Centre of Hope”.  We welcomed them and called each student by name to take their measurements for a school uniform, so our sewing team back home in Greenbank can begin to sew their uniforms prior to January school start.  Once measured, moms and dads went through the clothing and shoe distribution where they received two pairs of shoes, four pieces of clothes, a hat, a buff, pair of socks, a hygiene kit and a rose. 
We played parachute games with the children.  They had never seen a parachute before. These families are hoping that their child will be sponsored to allow them to attend school in January. Sponsorship for a child is $50 a month which allows them to a receive a Christian education, bus transportation, breakfast every morning, oral hygiene lessons, two uniforms, running shoes, a school backpack, school supplies, daily English lessons and a monthly food hamper.

After we cleaned up we enjoyed the market place crafts the various co-op groups had made. Our team purchased some of their wares.

After our lovely team dinner, we presented Carmen (our cook) with some family gifts.  The team divided and some when into Parramos for some shopping and the rest re-sorted and repacked.

From Guatemala best wishes to the Reals from Seagrave as they embark upon their new journey to Warkworth.

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