Construction has begun on the high school in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala for teachers in memory of our deceased Field Coordinator Rafael Randal Juarez.
Computers for Guatemala has committed to raising $28,000 to purchase cement, rebar and concrete blocks. The local Santa Eulalian community has provided land, a tractor to level the land, skilled labor, sand and gravel, and it is raising money. Fathers of the students are doing all the manual labor. In the States, this would be at least a $1 million project, for just the structure with no finishings.
We require $2700 every two weeks to keep the supply of building materials flowing without interruption. A generous donation from the Noroton Presbyterian Church, and other donations, have covered the first four payments.
We need your generous gift to keep the project moving forward.
Watching the Director of the school unloading building materials from the truck, the students (boys and girls) with their mothers carrying heavy building materials from the truck to the warehouse, and fathers digging the foundation, one sees that this school is not a hand-out, but a true partnership between the community and CFG.
We are helping the Maya of this very poor community to achieve their dream of a better life for their children. Perhaps most poigantly, this will be a unique school, in the Mayan tradition of teaching the kids to serve the community, rather than just to get a job.
The community accomplished much on their own before receiving any money from us.
They acquired the land and borrowed a tractor, both from the mayor, laid out the foundation, brought electricity to the site, started to dig trenches for the foundation, and through fund raising even had enough rebar to construct a few columns.
A donation of any amount goes a long way in Guatemala. For a donation of $3,000 we would like to honor the donor by naming a classroom (there are 6 classrooms). There are other naming opportunities. There will also be an elegant plaque prominently displayed at the entrance to the building listing all donors at different levels of donation.
We are very fortunate that Jim Fanjoy, a Peace Corps Volunteer and architect, working in the area with his wife Emily, has designed a beautiful, two-story, split-level school with a center atrium and a strong Mayan motif. Jim Fanjoy coaxed his structural engineering friends at US Architects in Muncie Indiana US Architects to donate $1000 worth of engineering advice to make sure the school could withstand earthquakes which are common in Guatemala.
UNIQUELY, THERE WILL BE A HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM. In Guatemala, where handicapped kids do not attend school, this rural school may be the first to provide such a handicap-accessible bathroom, and it is hoped that handicapped children in the surrounding area will attend the school, become a greater part of the community, and inspire other communities to consider this possibility in their own schools.
The existing high school is now sharing space with another school, which is very old and potentially unsafe. At any time the Ministry of Education could ask them to leave; therefore we anticipate the school will occupy their new site even before construction is complete.
Unfortunately, the $28,000 which we have committed to raising will not be enough to complete such an ambitious project, even with all the efforts the school is making.
The Director of the school is going door-to-door to ask businesses and families in Santa Eulalia for donations. One family gave Q3000 (about $375) which would be equal to about 75 days of work for a day laborer, IF one is lucky enough to get work.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO FINISH THE SCHOOL
I encourage you to read our blog and the memorial written for Rafael RandalJuarez, for whom the school will be named. Also, read JimFanjoy’s blogs on the traditional Mayan Blessing of the land, and his two blogs on local building techniques: The Mayan Laser and Trenches and Tacos.
Please help this community build their school.
You will feel good about it!
Founder, Computers for Guatemala, Inc.
Founder, Computers for Guatemala, Inc.