2010 was a very tough year for Guatemala as Tropical Storm Agatha devastated both of the communities in which we work. There was loss of crops, homes and very sadly lives. When the storm finally passed the extent of the damage really became clear and a long term plan was necessary to help people.
We started a fundraising campaign and the response from our supporters was overwhelming, with the funds we were able to provide emergency food supplies, fast growing crops and rebuild houses, streets and our schools. We could also provide raincoats to children to prevent drenching their clothes if they brave the journey to school in poor weather and emergency supplies so that next time a disaster like Agatha strikes our communities will be more prepared.
The Agatha campaign helped to bring some stability to the communities during this very hard time meaning that we were able to continue our work in the schools. As with every year there seem to be many more eager students in both schools as the projects are constantly expanding. Excellent results have been achieved as proof that the projects are working and these great kids are receiving the opportunity to earn an education and the benefits this will bring.
To round off the year we had joyous Christmas Celebrations with a surprise visit from Santa himself!
Two if our students Chezy and Wendy Marisol led the way in the mid-term exam results with a string of 90's, really great to see some of Guatemala's poorest children achieving some of the countries best grades! Average in the Calse Pacaya morning class went up 10% in language to 85%, with sciences rising 7% to 80%. Amazing results!
In the afternoon class we also saw massive improvements particularly by students Glendy Izabel and Yazmin, the whole class average rose into the 80%'s. The kids in great stead for the rest of the year and we look forward to seeing the progress.
The mid term results are in for clase Atitlan in community San Adrés Itzapa. One of the morning students Axel led the way with 100's in all subjects! Other children Iris, Yeimy and Erick were not far behind. The top half of the class averaged in the high 80's, this really shows that the support is working as these are some of the poorest children in Guatemala yet these are some of the best results!
On top of this class sizes have swelled to almost 30 in the morning so we have lots of work to do!
We played our annual football match with the dads in Santa Maria this week, with the Blues coming out on top, 3-2. The mums cooked a great Pepian for all afterwards, then we began stage 2 of our support in the Tropical storm Agatha recovery.
The families have lost 99% of their maize crops, which means that there will be no harvest for the everyday staple tortilla and worst, no income until the next harvest, which will be beans in January 2011.
Thanks to the Agatha Fundraising our first stage was completed by handing out a month's supply of maize. We have now started the medium-term plan, by handing out 15 pounds of frijol (beans) seeds to each family, to be sown in July and harvested in January 2011.
It had to be a different bean seed as conventional beans grow up the canes of the recently harvested maize crop, though with these destroyed, we had to use beans that can grow on the floor. If it is a good crop in 2011, this should yield a year's worth of frijoles.
Fantastic news from Guatemala, where one of our old students, who we put through school and teacher training college has got a job as director of a rural school. This is the first evidence of the fruits of our long-term program and we hope to see much more of this in the future. Many thanks
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