Three weeks that I have joined the Long Way Home team, what a wonderful experience!
I am an intern from Belgium, I am going to stay in San Juan Comalapa for three months, and day after day I can see how the staff and the volunteers are motivated. In three weeks I saw the landscape changed, the building goes very fast... When I read previous reports, I can just recognized the progress made by the NGO.
I had seen how was the site before and I think that Long Way Home does a great job. Before my arrival, in early January, the NGO was pleased to open its first classroom that welcomes children of 4th and 5th grade. The building just goes on: the earthbag building, the art room, the retaining wall, the guard shack: all the site has great step forward.
I was pleasantly surprised by the methods of construction, the NGO has combined ecology and building in a surprising way. Tires, trash bottles and bags are very useful for the building's structure. Of course, it is a work of recycling, but it is also a way to preserve the environment. On Earth, we have a lot of waste, Long Way Home is able to use them effectively.
I think joined the LWH team is an rewarding adventure. And I am pleased to take part of this adventure. I want to thank all donors who, in some way, act in favor of this project. Thanks to you, 2011 was a wonderful year, and 2012 is ready to be also a great year.
It has been a great year for Long Way Home here at the Técnico Maya school construction site. Our organization was named Small Charity of the Year by StayClassy, host of the largest philanthropic awards event in the United States.
We have also made significant strides on the construction site. Most notably, we have built a dry composting latrine out of bamboo and trash bottles, installed a rainwater harvesting system on our patio, and completed our West bodega. Currently, we are concluding the finish work on the vocational classrooms and assembling a lower retaining wall for the primary school classrooms. The hard work of our Guatemalan construction crew and dedicated volunteers is apparent when you watch the 200 foot long man made ditch on the east side of our property being filled with 15 layers of tightly pounded tires. As we continue to progress with the building project, the need for sufficient funds persists. By the end of the year, we plan to finish the lower retaining wall, begin construction of the upper retaining wall, and prepare the foundation for the primary school classrooms. In the ensuing months, we will complete the upper retaining wall and build the primary classrooms. Thank you for your continued support. Your generosity is helping change the lives of rural Guatemalan children, one bottle of trash at a time.
First of all we want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who voted for us in the BBC World Challenge 2010. We placed THIRD!! The $10,000 cash reward has enabled us to continue various projects at the Technico Maya Vocational School at a fast pace.
Since the last report the school has seen a lot of progress. We've put a roof on the patio of the first set of vocational classrooms. This roof gives us additional covered workspace, particularly valuable during the rainy season that is about to start.
Furthermore, our first permanent latrine is almost completed (pictured at left). It's fantastic to finally have real toilets on the site instead of using a pit latrine. The walls are made of plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash housed in a supportive structure made of bamboo. This structure contains 1,500 pounds of garbage that would otherwise be burned or thrown into water ways! It is a dry-composting latrine, meaning there is no need for water for flushing, and the human waste is collected to provide water and fertilizer for the organic garden and tree nursery. The latrine has been constructed with the help of a variety of volunteers, among them a group from Florida International University and George Washington University. Thanks to all who participated!
At the beginning of April the Guatemalan crew, Gringo staff and three volunteers took a trip to San Marcos, Lake Atitlan for one week to help build a structure with Earthship Biotecture. This trip provided the Guatemalan workers an opportunity to see another part of their country...most of them do not have the means to travel and none of them had ever been to the Lake.
Working with Earthship Biotecture gave us the idea to use more glass bottles on top of walls, a fancy feature we instantly applied on the ongoing construction of the vocational classrooms' center tool shed (pictured below). This tool shed has also been built in the last month-and-a-half. However, the roof is still missing and we are busy fundraising for the US $1500 to complete the roof and bond beam...hopefully before the heavy rains start.
Thanks to everybody who has supported us and to all the volunteers and workers at the site. You make this project happen! Stay tuned for more updates.