May is always a busy time for Long Way Home crew and volunteers. The long rainy season is about to start and we do a lot of work to prepare the construction site for the deluge. This year we have been fortunate to be able to hire nine additional local Guatemalan workers to help us get ready. Recently I was shooting some footage for a campaign video and our students were telling the camera, "Nos encanta nuestra escuela" (We love our school). Our workers were also part of the shot and after the kiddos ran off, I got to catch our workers making the line their own (see short clip below). We hope to find funds to keep the extra workers on for another month...every day makes a difference when prepping for The Long Wet!
As Director of Operations for Long Way Home, I have a lot to be grateful for: friendly neighbors, highly capable staff, energized volunteers, generous donors, freedom, learning opprotunities, cultural exchange...the list goes on. By far the biggest perk of my job are the smiling faces of our Técnico Maya students. We now have 25 students from 2nd - 5th grade onsite Monday through Friday. I used to have to walk to the old school when I needed a recharge from the hug brigade; now I simply walk outside. From my office I can hear a wonderful addition to the sounds of power tools: children singing and reciting lessons. When my internet breaks down or I feel overwhelmed, the sounds of children's laughter is the perfect antidote. I want to give a heartfelt thanks to the donors and volunteers who have brought us this far. When I started with Long Way Home in March of 2010, the thought of having children in the classrooms was just a dream. With your help, it's become a reality!
As we near the mid-point of 2012, I'm excited to report that we are making great progress toward our goal of opening the entire school for the January 2014 school year. We've had setbacks, yes, but we've never lost focus. The current Técnico Maya students seem very happy in their new "digs" and we are so excited to build their capacity to serve even more children. In recent months we've added new staff and new board members who have increased our capacity and our drive. As I prepare mentally for the grey skies, I salute all those who brighten up my day and the future of this magical community.
PS - Stay tuned for our 2011 Annual Report. It will be available online shortly.
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