New School Opening
Families are registering their children in our brand new school in Chicoy. Classes begin Monday for Kinder, Prepa, and Primaria (equiv. K,1,2). We hope to have 75 kids in the school and 50 in the afternoon program.
There has been incredible opposition from one man in the community - a liar, extortionist, and pastor of some sect church. Among some of his antics: he forged a petition against the school and sent it to the head of education of Baja Verapaz - he submitted a news item to the radio a couple months ago that read "Americans are trying to force children in Chicoy to go to their school and a mob is ready to lynch these gringos" - as a local town official, he helped himself to building supplies designated for education to (this is heresay) build an addition to his house. His latest actions are telling all the parents in the community that we are hustling them, we just want to register their kids at a very cheap rate (about $1.50) and then we are going to jack up tuition.
The truth: The existing school doesn't work. Children in 7th grade can't read. Our sponsorship program will cover the children's tuition, school supplies and a nutritious meal each school day. We are also offering an afternoon program for the older kids where we will tutor them and give them a meal and a time for spiritual growth.
(click here to see a larger version of this 360 degree photo)
It's been great seeing this project grow. When I arrived, the walls and roof of the school (far right) were done. Since then, floors have been put in, ground levelled, the bathrooms, kitchen and surrounding walls have gone up. I helped dig the foundation (3 metres deep in places) to the bathroom among other things.