Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday April 14

A light breakfast this morning of cereal and fresh pineapple and mango from the market – mouth watering delicious!  After a little confusion, and reworking of the schedule we were again divided into 3 teams:

Teachers Workshop – Brian and Cathy
Cathy and Brian led a four hour education session to 19 teachers representing six schools. All the teachers and principals appreciated the strategies and activities that moved the group through inclusion, influence, and community. Thanks to the Centre Source TRIBES for donating the Spanish TRIBES books. The Guatemalan teachers were impressed to hear about Ontario's success with graduation rates and improved literacy scores in the past five years. The Ontario schools that have done exceptionally well not only have high student expectations, but focus on student and staff well-being. The workshop moved the teachers through instructional strategies that focused student engagement and student voice. Many of their current lessons focus on rote memory with teacher directed lessons. They learned about multiple intelligences of their students and metacognition strategies through the TRIBES' process. They loved their new learnings and could hardly wait to weave curriculum content into their newly learned strategies.  These teachers are highly valued and are making a difference in the lives of the Guatemalan children. The salary of these teachers begins at $150 per month to a maximum of $550 per month if they have 35 years experience. Each teacher received a bag of donated classroom supplies, a medical first aid kit for their school, the Spanish tribes book. To Brian and Cathy's surprise was to see the excitement when each participant received their very own personal hygiene kit: tooth paste, shampoo, tooth bush, comb, face cloth, hand lotion, soap, Q-Tips, and band aids.   We couldn’t have been successful without our Spanish translator, Alicia, who translated every couple of English sentences throughout the four hours. We also held a raffle for two donated school parachutes. Prior to the draw we demonstrated curriculum related games using the parachute so the teachers would know how to use this instructional tool. Overall, it was an extremely successful morning. After the workshop some of the teachers rushed to their second school for afternoon classes. In many schools to accommodate the children k-6 is taught from 8:00am to 12:30 and grade 7-10 is taught from 1:00 to 5:30 to allow the older kids to work in the fields from sunrise to noon, when the weather is cooler. It is a long day of teaching for teachers.  Grade 11-12 is considered college. Families have to pay beyond grade 7; therefore, the majority of children only have a grade six education. 

Build a Home – Juli, Doug, Tim, Kelly, Dianne, Lauren (also Gabby and Charlotte)
It took 2 trips with the truck to get the walls to our work location.  Half of the group stayed back to start the walls while the other group went to get the walls.  Unfortunately there was no electricity at the location therefore we had to wait for the second group to show up with the remaining walls and an extension cord so that we could steal power from a house 2 doors down.  We started with one wall and nailed it to the concrete base and then nailed it to the next wall and nailed the next wall to the cement base and continued that process till complete.  After that we drilled 3 holes in each of the joining studs and inserted bolts into the holes followed up with nuts.  This ensured that all the walls were sturdy and connected.  We then added roof crossmembers that formed a “t” in the center of the house.  This was then followed by adding the tin roof sheets and nailing them to the frame and the crossmembers.

Uniform Alterations – Suzanne and Diane
The morning for us was spent doing alterations on existing uniforms for the Center of Hope School.  The uniforms were beautifully made but just to big for the children.  We were doing these alterations at night after dinner but found that we were so tired and limited light that we were making as many mistakes and correct.  So over three hours we had completed them all and so glad that we did not have to finish them into the late hours as our time here is limited.

Thanks to Carmen we had a feast of tuna protein for lunch…fuel for the afternoon!

Knitting Workshop – Suzanne and Diane
After lunch it was off to the center of hope for the second and last knitting class.  We  had six in the first class but  eleven in the second class.  So it was the first time around for some and good review for others.  The ladies from the first class worked on putting a blanket together while I taught the new group how to cast on and the knit stitch.  people we had 395 knitted squares that made eight complete blanket kits and a smaller kit for a baby blanket. We drew names for these kits. It was an experience that I will never forget and would like to thank all those involved that helped to make this happen.
The group came together to learn the purl stitch and how to cast off.  We talked about how to combine the stitches to create different patterns.  The ladies at the end of the class were given a set of needles and a large bag full of yarn.  The smiles and gracias were many they were so appreciative of every little thing that we shared.  With help from so many

Build a Home – Cathy, Dianne, Doug, Brian, Tim
At 2pm we headed back out to complete the house without electricity. 
We started by adding the hinges for the 2 windows and the door. Upon completion of that activity we painted the top half of the house green and then the bottom half in blue.  We mounted trim around the door and windows, painted them blue and then were complete.  During this process something very unique happened.  The neighbor came into the working space with a 10ft ladder.  She took the ladder and leaned it up against the cinderblock wall.  There were two floating electricity wires and she went ahead and proceeded by stripping them and then joining the wires from her house.  She joined the wires with masking tape that we were using to draw a straight line between our green paint and blue paint. I guess you don’t need an electrician when working with 120V in Guatemala.  The house is now completed and ready for us to move in the furniture tomorrow.  This house is sponsored by Uxport Tools in Port Perry that will be dedicated to its new family tomorrow.

Stove #3 – Kelly, Lauren, Juli
The third family to receive a stove this week from our team is a lovely family in LaHermita down the same steep mountain trail as the family the other day.  We met Mom, and two boys (4 and 6) and a little girl (8 almost 9).  Daniel had the cutest laugh and loved the Canadian ball that we gave him – he played with it the whole time we were there!  The children had a bugs bunny poster hanging on their wall and oddly enough we had a stuffed Bugs Bunny with us in our backpack so the little girl was thrilled to have her own new stuffy!  Love the synchronicity and the smiles!  We were fortunate to NOT have to carry 200lbs of ash (ceniza) down the hill – the family had already helped carry all the supplies down the mountain and they were waiting for us to assemble it.  We were busy sifting sand, mixing cement, soaking bricks and assembling with Jose (a new mason).  Although we didn’t finish the stove, we passed the halfway mark and there will be little left to complete tomorrow.  After 3 missions, this was Juli’s first experience with the Build a Stove Program – what an incredible experience to be welcomed into the home and greeted with gratitude and absorbed into the family with such love and acceptance.  The children played and chatted with us like we were long lost relatives…really cool!

Carmen prepared Chicken, rice and local squash for dinner tonight…delicious!  We were late arriving back from the worksite and didn’t want Carmen to miss the last Chicken Bus of the night so we offered to do the dishes and clean up.  Although reluctant to leave with her “job” unfinished we assured her that we insisted and that we would look after everything for her. 

Another satisfying day where we are making wonderful connections and building meaningful relationships through our projects.  It is so rewarding to see the smiles and feel the gratitude from those whom we are serving.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Again a lot of stuff happening. Very interesting about how long the teachers are in school, it must be very difficult for them. Do they work with the children all week of just certain days..