Long Way Home, Inc.

Long Way Home is a non-profit organization that uses sustainable design and materials to construct self-sufficient schools that promote education, employment and environmental stewardship.
May 4, 2011

Roofs, Bathrooms and 3rd Place in the BBC World Challenge!

center tool shed
center tool shed

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 Dry-Composting Latrinepermanent 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). center tool shed 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.


 

 

Dry-Composting Latrine
Dry-Composting Latrine
Oct 4, 2010

A Huge Honor

I'm overjoyed to report that the voting has finally opened for the BBC World Challenge!!!  As Long Way Home supporters, I hope you will all consider not only taking a minute to vote for Long Way Home (A class apart), but consider spreading the word to your own networks.  Voting is simple, you just click "Vote Now," enter your name and email address and submit.

The $20,000 cash reward and the spread in Newsweek magazine represent a huge opportunity for us here at Long Way Home.  The money will pay for the construction costs for four of our eight primary classrooms.  This represents a better educational environment for 80 children annually.  We also hope to arrange night classes for adults in these same classrooms.  And the publicity will help to ensure we can raise funds for the rest of the project.

I'm beginning my seventh month working for this organization and everyday I become more convinced that my decision to stay was the correct one.  Never have I been a part of such a dedicated, enthusiastic and talented group of people, both the Guatemalans and the Gringos.  The warmth of this community and the overwhelming support for the school project touches me daily.  If I ever get discouraged by little set backs, all I have to do is seek out some of the children like those pictured above and I feel energized all over again.  I'll want to thank you in advance for considering supporting this project.  It is a worthy one and we won't end with Comalapa.  This model can be replicated any place there is dirt, trash and poverty...with your help we can make that happen.

A clip of the full segment one Long Way Home is currently available and the full program should be available after it airs.  We have been told it will air the weekend of October 9th.  Please use this link to determine when it will air in your time zone.  Click on the drop down to select your time zone and then scroll down to change the date to October 9th or 10th.  As far as I am able to determine, we will be shown in each of the four "World Challenge" time slots.

Thanks again, or, as my Kaqchikel neighbors say, "Matiox!"

Links:

Jul 9, 2010

The Wet is Upon Us but Not Slowing Us Down

Volunteer Coordinator with Local Students
Volunteer Coordinator with Local Students

I assume by now that everyone has heard about the myriad of disasters that affected Guatemala in early June. Between Pacaya, Tropical Storm Agatha and the sinkhole in Guatemala City, there has been plenty of excitement. The shutting down of the airport caused some logistical challenges for both volunteers and staff trying to come into or leave the country.

Despite the hurdles from Mother Nature, Long Way Home is enthusiastic about the progress being made at the Tecnico Maya Vocational School. Walls are up for the second set of vocational workshops. Local laborers and volunteers are working long hours hauling and mixing dirt in preparation for the next phase of construction.

We have also been making exciting progress at our prototype structure, the earthbag kitchen. It is here that we test out building methods that will be implemented at the vocational school. A final coat of finish is going on the exterior walls and we are experimenting with the tints available in Comalapa. The workers are enjoying working with the ratios of mix to find the perfect color combination. Our neighbor, Davit, who will eventually move into this home, is enthusiastic about having a lovely place to live with his family. When we build the primary classrooms, these color formulas will be used to brighten up classrooms and recreational spaces.

As we enter the second half of 2010, LWH is embarking upon a campaign to raise $40,000. These funds will be used to complete the four vocational workshops and begin construction of the eight primary classrooms. We are currently employing 10 Guatemalan construction workers and would like to increase that number to 18. We are committed to supporting the local economy through employment opportunities, patronage of Comalapan vendors and productive use of waste. Increasing our manpower will also allow the construction to move more swiftly and ensure that the children of our community have better educational facilities as soon as possible.

I encourage you to watch our latest video (link below) to see previous donations in action. Please also visit our recently updated photo gallery (link below) if you want to see more of our community and our work. Thanks for your support. Together we are building a better future for this Mayan community.

Links:


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