Jun 4, 2019

Casa Isabel Repaired

Casa Isabel
Casa Isabel

Thanks to your generous donations we have completed the repairs on our program center Casa Isabel located in El Espinal, Oaxaca.  100% of the funds needed were donated and matched through GlobalGiving.
You gave us over $5000 and GlobalGiving matched that amount in January.

The funds were used in part to repair and paint Casa Isabel.  Most of the walls on the first floor were damaged.  The stuccoing was removed, the cracks repaired, and then new stuccoing was applied.  We were worried that after we removed the stuccoing from some of the pillars we would find structural damage, but we did not. 

All the bathrooms needed repairs. On the second floor the structure that held our sinks fell and needed to be replaced, the walls and tiles in the first-floor bathroom had cracked and were also repaired and tile replaced.  We completely remodeled the bathroom in the laundry house, it was not damaged but was very old and needed new tiles, walls, and fixtures.  Now we are back to four nice bathrooms.  We also discovered that the old septic tank walls had been damaged in the quakes, and after two rainy seasons, we had a big hole in our back yard.  The workers uncovered the tank, that at been unused for over 20 years, opened a hole in the top and dumped all the rubble from the stucco removal, which filled the tank quite well and reduced our costs in hauling away the rubble. 

We have used about six thousand of the funds to repair Casa Isabel, the remainder of the funds will go to remove rubble and repair the property walls at our program center in Juchitan.  Next week we are meeting with the owner of the property next door to see about the next step in our repairs.  

We would like to thank all the donors who made the repairs possible. Without you, our building in El Espinal would still be unusable.

New Stucco
New Stucco
May 30, 2019

The End of Another School Year

Aided
Aided

After nearly eight months with no rain, the rain is forecasted every day next week.  This is normal in our region, we have very distinct rainy and dry seasons.  Our seasons divide into rainy, windy and hot, instead of warm and cold.  We are grateful for the rain. All of our student´s families rely on a good rainy season for their crops and food for their livestock. 

When the rains come it is nearly the end of the school year.  The students are heading into their final month of school.  After three years with Centro de Compartimiento (CDC), Aided will graduate from high school.  Her father is a farmer and her mother is a housewife. Aided (pronounced A-ee-ded) is the following the footsteps of her cousin Maylit who completed her college degree while in our residential program CDC. Aided wants to study an engineering degree in renewable resources.  Unlike in the US where students know months ahead of time which school they will attend.  Aided will have her entrance exam at the end of June and not know if she has been accepted until later in July.  

 A university opened a branch in Union Hidalgo about 20 minutes from Juchitan. The program is new and was set up to prepare local young people to take over the work at the wind farms that are being built in the region.  Right now we have many workers from other parts of Mexico and abroad. We are not yet sure if all this development is a boon or a bane for our communities here. We hope that in the future with more local people involved the companies will create healthier relationships with the local communities.  

Thanks to the support of donors like you, Aided was able to complete high school and is now looking at a different future.  We asked her how many of the students from her middle school class in her village had completed high school and were going on to college.  She said only about 20% had finished high school and she was the only one with dreams of college.  Three of her classmates are married and already have children.  Aided loves her home village and wants to stay in the region, but she wants a different future where she and her family are not struggling day to day to make ends meet.  For farmers, the biggest issue is the rain too much or too little and the crop fails, last year her father invested in a new tomatoes farm but lost the crop due to draught.   

Aided's new area of study depends on the weather as well, the sun and the wind.  So far we have been lacking neither in the region.  Thank you for walking with our students as they dream new dreams, for themselves and their families. 

Wind Farms Near Juchitan
Wind Farms Near Juchitan

Attachments:
Mar 6, 2019

Repairs Have Begun

Celebrating the Holidays Together
Celebrating the Holidays Together

I am so happy to report that we have begun repairs at our Casa Isabel program center in El Espinal Oaxaca.  It may not look like it on the project, but we reached our goal of $10,000 USD.  Between this project and the Casa Isabel Microproject #34316, we raised over 5500.00 dollars which were generously matched by the GlobalGiving Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund.   This past January the matching funds were disbursed and we were able to start repairs. 

All good news on the repair front, once the stucco was taken off the main supports that had minor cracks, the masons found no structural damage, so in the end, it was only the walls and bathroom.  So the plan was set in motion, to repair and re-stucco the walls, fix up the damage in the four bathrooms, replace fixtures in the bathrooms that were damaged from disuse, put the water tank back on the roof with extra protection from the wind, reseal the roof,  and paint the entire house.  With a team for four workers, the work has been going quickly and we expect to be finished this month. 

The happiest members of the Casa Isabel crew are our dogs (no students live here yet), who hang out with the workers while they have their breakfast.  Work starts early, the workers arrive before 7 am, they take a break at 9 for breakfast and then continue to work until 3 pm.  To save money we hired the team of workers, but have been purchasing the materials ourselves.  It is a lot more work, and a bit of last minute running around when the workers find that one copper pipe or valve needs replacing.  Now we are all experts in building material jargon and where to get the best price.  Contracting only labor and making all the purchases ourselves saved us about 2,000 USD, which will be used for the repairs at our Casa Angles property in Juchitan.  

Unfortunately, we have not been able to get any movement on the wall at the Casa Isabel property.  The owner states that he is unable to repair the walls at this time, so we have to decide if we want to tear down the wall and put up our own, or just leave the fence we have for now.  We have enough money, so we can make the decisions after we finish in El Espinal.  

Winter is winding down, and spring will arrive soon, for us, it is the hottest time of year, and no one is very happy about April and May in the Isthmus, well maybe the iguanas.  The work should be done before the heat sets in.  We are excited about getting the house back in order.   This week we will celebrate International Women's Day hosting a play called, Dancing Alone Every Night, a dark comedy about women in modern society and domestic violence.  Juchitan has a newly formed theater company and Centro de Compartimiento has been working with the leaders of the company to see how we can work together with our young women.  Drama is a great outlet for many emotional issues.  

.  It has been a difficult year and a half but knowing we have the support of so many wonderful people keeps us going. The aftershocks have not stopped, The reports from the government put us at over 28,000 aftershocks, but they are less and less strong, and most often we don't even feel them.  Thank you so much for your gifts that have made these repairs possible.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have regarding our programs.  

Damage at the El Espinal Student House
Damage at the El Espinal Student House
New stucco, no more cracked walls
New stucco, no more cracked walls
Front Entrance to Casa Isabel
Front Entrance to Casa Isabel
Aftershocks from March 4th and 5th, 2019
Aftershocks from March 4th and 5th, 2019
 
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