Archive for November, 2008

High School graduation in San Mateo Ixtatan, Huehuetenango

This high school asked us to be the benefactor of their graduation and give the graduation speech, because we had just donated computers to their school. I wrote a speech which Rafael read, about a “Nueva Vista,” the name of our recreation park. One goes to our park, the speech explained, not only to play, but also to think about a new future (“new view”), a future of honesty without corruption; dedication to improving one’s self, one’s community, and one’s country; of taking care of one’s parents in their old age; a future with a good character. The speech was well received and referred to in following speecehes. Eulalia handed out diplomas, and then the big dance.
 
 

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We were given presents.
 
 

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Dressed up for graduation.
 
 

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Proud mother and son.

 
 

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Distributing Computers, October 2008

In early October, with only an hour’s notice, our container arrived at a warehouse in Chimaltenango, but Child Aid staff John Van Keppel and Kristen Anderson managed to have students ready to unload the container. In the container were 165 computer systems, 6 laptops, Internet hardware, keyboard, TV, lumber for the recreation park, and bags of children’s clothing, toys, pogo stick and a telescope for Casa Shalom orphanage. The computers and monitors were packed with many thousands of stuffed animals and used clothing. Kristen did an amazing job of organizing everything so each organization’s allotment was ready when they came to pick up. John called the process of organizing the process like “trying to herd cats.” We are greatful to Child Aid, and their staff both in the US and in Guatemala, for allowing us to use their warehouse and for so graciously and efficiently distributing the contents of our cointainer. We would not have been able to ship the container without knowing we had their warehouse and help with the distribution.
 
 
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Huehue truck

 
 

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Trip To Guatemala September 2008

On the first day Eulalia and I had a breakfast meeting with Juan Forester, a Rotarian, to discuss his plans to import our next container. Over the next three weeks we visited almost every organization that had requested computers, except for the three Peace Corps sites, because there were too isolated and for lack of time. We spent time in Ixtahucan planning future improvements to Nueva Vista Recreation Park. Here are some photos from the trip.
 
 
Eulalia and I meeting with Juan Forester, a Rotarian, who will help with the importation of  next container
 
 
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Rainy season causes landslides on the Pan American highway.
 
 

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Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Our Little Brothers) orphanage which got two computers, one for its library and one for tutoring. L-R Kristine Grosland, home office auditor, Kristen Anderson, project manager for Child Aid libray projects, and Lauren Dana who runs the orphanage library.
 
 
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Jessica and Josh Hanson at Casa Shalom orphanage.
 
 
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On the way to visit schools. Views like this all the way from Ixtahuacan to San Marcos, made the eigth hour trip worth while.
 
 

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Padre Guadalupe is building this computer lab in his parish, available free to students who show financial need. It will also have Internet with video and voice conferencing so familes can stay in touch with relatives in the States.
 
 
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We visited this co-educational boarding school in Colotenango which had requested computers. The school is only for Mam speaking students and specifically respects and encourages the Mayan culture. The students and teachers were inspirational, and gave us motivation to work harder with our project. At another school we visited on the coast the teachers were nowhere to be seen and
the students were running wild. Their application for computers is “pending.” This school was building a room for a computer school, but we found out later that corruption in is this part of the country is worse, so they maybe they got the funding from the governemnt to build the classroom but never plan to use it. Due diligence is so important for this project.
 
 

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This Mam boarding high school in Colotenango put on elaborate cultural presentation, followed by lunch, to impress upon us thier desire for computers.
 
 

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I was asked to get up and dance, and to my surprise enjoyed it. Their original allocation of 15 computers went to 20.

 
 

Laying out foundation for caretaker's house.
Laying where the caretaker’s house will go in the Nueva Vista Recreation park in Ixtahuacan.
 
 
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September 15th Independence Day in Ixtahuacan.
 
 

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Independence Day in Aldea Acal, Ixtahuacan, with Juana Jimenez, one of my early scholarship students, and now a teacher.
 
 

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Shiro Ninomiya brought his family from Japan to volunteer for a year, using his personal savings, to teach computer teachers, in connection with Partners in Solidarity, a project that sends computers to Guatemala. Our Field Coordinator Rafael Juarez (right) and Benjamin (center), who replaced Shiro when he returned to Japan. Benjamin Tzunun Tua’ is a well qualified computer technician and will make site visits to our projects for $23 per day plus expenses.
 
 

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At the end of the trip we went to a water park for some “R&R,” and it was great, clean and well run, almost to Disneyland standards.

 
 

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