Jun 9, 2017

Building a sustainable school model

Estefanie - Heroic 8th grader
Estefanie - Heroic 8th grader

We would love to introduce you to Estefanie, one of our inspiring 8th graders. She has been in school with us since the beginning, over 5 years! Now two of her four siblings also go to CETC (Centro Educativo Tecnico Chixot) and she hopes her youngest siblings will be able to join when they are old enough as well. At just 12 years old, she is a volunteer fire fighter and when she grows up she wants to be a doctor. Her favorite subject is English and she loves the new classroom that she is in this year. Last year, Estefanie was selected to star in a Belgium TV children's show, Goed Gezien, that teaches kids about development projects all over the world. Watch Estefanie in Goed Gezien!

Estefanie is one of our unique heroic students that is inspired by the school and the education she is getting. It is our hope that is she continues all the way through to high school graduation where she will be in a new generation of Hero leaders in her community. The CETC curriculum being built by our middle school teachers is creating the opportunities for each student to become a Hero! Learn more about the curriculum development here 

We would like to give you this opportunity to help financialy sustain one of our Heroes with a monthly gift and become a LWH Hero Builder! We have worked out a model that educates, employs teaching staff, and supplies each student with what they need for just $40 per student per month! This, along with a variety of other sources, is how our school model maintains one of it's most crucial pieces, to be financially sustainable.

Now that CETC is officially inaugurated into the community and construction of critical campus buildings are finished, it is time to truly focus on how the school itself can be financially sustainable. It would not be possible to have made it here without your support! Yet it is time to make sure this school thrives for years and empowers the community to take it on themselves. Our plan continues to evolve but our hero school will maintain itself as a center for education in many aspects from green building to permaculture to sustainability to NGO practices to health and more! Along with hosting workshops and educational courses, our construction team will continue building. There is still plenty more to be done at the school and now we are beginning to offer our services to the community and the world!

Our good friends at Natural Building Collective in South Africa have just finished holding their first month-long sustainable building course using natural materials and tires, in collaboration with us at Long Way Home! They are building a passive solar, earth sheltered building out of tires, cob, compressed earth bricks, ecobricks and glass bottles at the Delft Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre. We look forward to hosting the next sustainable building academy here in Comalapa in the next year! 

We are also extremely proud to be the WINNER of the Energy Globe Awards Guatemala 2017!! We were awarded best project in Guatemala for our use of sustainable design techniques, 400+ tons of garbage in construction and innovation in helping the community of Comalapa.

Un montón de agradecimiento por ustedes y su apoyo! As always we are extremely grateful for your support and thank you for your interest in our work. We enjoy the opportunity to share our stories with you, the people that make them possible!

Thank you, Gracias y Matiox ~

Earthbag Classrooms finishes painted
Earthbag Classrooms finishes painted
Our team finishing the roof of the admin building
Our team finishing the roof of the admin building
Marta and Roselia - 2/3 of our female team
Marta and Roselia - 2/3 of our female team
Mar 14, 2017

Grand Opening of Tecnico Chixot!

Tecnico Chixot Inauguration Ceremony
Tecnico Chixot Inauguration Ceremony

Saturday, February 11, 2017 we celebrated the Grand Opening of our campus Centro Educativo Tecnico Chixot in San Juan Comalapa! After 8+ years of building the school with over 400 tons of trash, we open this year with 130 students from Preschool-9th grade. This was a beautiful reunion of our local community, previous staff, volunteers and those who have supported us for years from a far! We joined together to help put the finishing touches on our earthbag classrooms, shared meals, stories and dancing. While we are not quite done with the construction of the full campus, we will be ready to run a full campus in the next school year. As things go down here, we will always be building around Comalapa! 

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, dedication of the buildings and science experiment demonstrations by our middle school students. We are thankful for everyone that came and shared this momentous occasion with us!!!

We would like to recognize all of our supporters that have been with us, whether it has been since the beginning or only starting to get to know us now, it would be impossible without you! We look forward to your continued support and hope that everyone will stay with us and support in whatever capacity.

This February we also said goodbye to our Volunteer Coordinator, Ariel. Ariel was a great part of the team and spent the last few months of her time here not only with our volunteers, but also training our new Volunteer Coordinator, Roberto. Roberto Peren has been working with us for the last 5 years as a construction worker, and has now taken on this new role. An amazing artist (son of famous painter, Oscar Peren) and integral part of the team, Roberto brings such positive energy and has really dove into his new role. He grew up being hospitable to foreigners in the environment of his father's art gallery and Comalapa. His knowledge about the history of San Juan Comalapa has been a great addition to our Volunteer program. Roberto lives with his wife, Candi, and 5 year old son, Daren, along with their many adopted street dogs. He spent about 8 months last year running the construction crew building the house of previous staff member, Alex Terrill's home on the other side of Comalapa.

Our first local staff member to join our administrative team, Roberto has taken on the challenges of learning all of our processes, and also really getting a crash course on the English language. We are so excited to bring him on and cannot wait for all of our new volunteers to meet him!

It is an exciting time for Long Way Home and our Hero School Centro Educativo Tecnico Chixot! Thank you for sticking with us all these years and we look forward to bringing you more stories and showing you the success of your continued support.

With Gratitude, Gracias y Matiox,

Middle School Students Science Demos
Middle School Students Science Demos
Roberto Peren and his family
Roberto Peren and his family
Roberto in front of tire house for Alex, Comalapa
Roberto in front of tire house for Alex, Comalapa

Links:

Dec 14, 2016

Designing solutions and building community

Admin Building - first level with window frames
Admin Building - first level with window frames

My name is Sean MacNab and I’ve spent the last 3 months as an intern and volunteer working with the whole crew here at Long Way Home. I’m currently a senior at Wentworth Institute of Technology where I study Industrial Design (also known as Product Design). I came to Comalapa through the suggestion of a professor and the support of countless friends and family that helped me to fundraise my volunteer dues. With an interest in green-building, recycling and sustainable development, being here has been an amazing experience for me, not just through volunteering and watching the progress of the school, but also through being a part of the friendships and community supported by the entire project.

My work here started with helping with the tire-wall base of the cafeteria and science lab, just some of the almost 15,000 tires that have been utilized throughout the campus. The building itself is one of the final constructions on campus that during my time here has progressed from little more than a hole in the ground to the base of a huge structure, with the window forms now being added.

Another building in progress is the library/computer lab, which I was able to help with the electrical wiring, and since then crew and volunteers have been working nonstop with the wall finishing. The large domed roof is filled with glass bottles which is both beautiful and lets in soft natural light. Recently solar panels were installed on the roof to help supply power to the campus.

The library also sits on top of the schools second cistern, which collects rainwater from the roofs that we then direct to a purification system, which is then bottled and placed around the campus. A daily process which I’ve been responsible for during my time here. Due to the lack of access to clean water in town, the purified water is important to insure the almost 120 students, as well as teachers, workers and volunteers, all can enjoy clean water throughout the day.

The onsite housing on campus is nearing completion as the crew installs the kitchen and windows. Like all of the other buildings on campus, the buildings are more than just shelters but filled with beautiful craftsmanship and artistry. The handmade windows and cob-based animal sculptures of the new housing and across the campus speaks to the skill of the workers here and how much they care.

I’m leaving Comalapa and heading back to Massachusetts, excited to be with my family and friends in time for Christmas. Still, leaving is bittersweet as I’ve also had to say goodbye to the Peren family who I’ve lived with for the last three months and all the great friends I’ve met, including local Comalapans, LWH staff and volunteers. Certainly one of the things I’ll miss most about being here is the community, which I was warmly welcomed into and which wouldn’t be possible without the support and hard work of the donors, staff and volunteers. 

Library/Computer lab with electricity and finishes
Library/Computer lab with electricity and finishes
Sean and his adopted family, The Peren's
Sean and his adopted family, The Peren's
Sean setting up his invention to recycle cans
Sean setting up his invention to recycle cans
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.