While the concept of attending school during one´s vacation period may seem somewhat repugnant to many students around the world, the opposite proved to be true in Ecuador. For six weeks in July and August, all the kids at Laracunga, Muenela and Hyayarapungo enjoyed themselves at summer school.
With the general theme of “Ecuador mi pais”, summer school emphasised a reinforcement of the student’s knowledge in math, language, and social science, as well as the inclusion of activities in music, art, and PE. For the high school children it was a fun packed two days of active English lessons!Further, these weeks proved to be productive for the Phoenix project in terms of community development, with the construction of 4 cuy houses. Cuy (the Kitchwa word for guinea pigs) are considered a culinary delicacy in Ecuador, with the sale of each fetching upwards of US$5. With each house potentially holding 60-100 cuy, these facilities provide the families with an independent means of economic sustainability that goes straight to supporting their high school education.Finally, the students partook in a special school day designed entirely around the legend of the phoenix. As a fun end to this day, an art competition was held with each student designing their own phoenix to be used as the new Phoenix Ecuador logo. Congratulations to Beatriz from Larcacunga for her winning design!
In the final week of term children from rural communities Huayrapungo and Muenala planned a school trip. All 30 children from Muenala, alongside parents and volunteers headed out for a day trip to Cielo Verde in the Intag region just outside of Otavalo. An early start and clearly excited children we all head out into banana and coffee country. A lovely day was had by all, swimming in the local rivers and hot springs, and being invited by the local community to share their fruit crops - the kids will be enjoying plenty of bananas and papayas for next few weeks. The Huayrapungo community decided it was time to head south to Mindo and enjoy the cascadas there. A feast of potatoes, broad beans, mejoco (from the potato family), corn tostadas, chili, and cuy (guinea pig) was enjoyed by all before heading down to visit the local waterfalls. The kids, mums and dads and volunteers all enjoyed splashing around and cooling off before clambering back, tired and exhausted, on the bus home.
What was your favourite book when you were little? Was it "The Cat in the Hat" or maybe "The Hungry Caterpillar"? Sadly, many children in Ecuador can't answer this question. The availability of books is something most of us take for granted. In Ecuador, books are very expensive and beyond the reach of many of the families in Larcacunga, Muenala and Huayrapungo. However, thanks to the kind donations of past and present to this project, we have been able to assist our children to purchase textbooks at a subsidised cost. Also, at Christmas time, the kids received gifts of story books and much needed gumboots. So, next time you're reading your favourite book, spare a thought for the kids in Ecuador that are able to experience the joy of reading thanks to donations!
GVI Ecuador project manager Tracey has come up with a great fundraising initiative for our sustainable community schemes.
The cows and guinea pig enclosures are expensive so to make this option available to more donors Tracey and her team have made artwork to value the different aspects of the cow and the value of a guinea pig and reached out to donors. By breaking a larger goal down it becomes more accessible and many of your have responded to this campaign with generous donations.
These plans are already working very well on the ground and we are very happy with the progress. News to follow soon.
All three schools in which we work got a new coat of paint inside and out, plus some well needed DIY ahead of the start of the new school year. Thanks and congratulations on a fantastic job go out all the volunteers and staff who worked long hours over a 2 week period to get the job finished.
The teachers and children, plus community members were delighted with the results – well done everyone!
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