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Feb 21, 2019

Seacacar is on the Map!

The tiny town of Seacacar has just put itself on the map! Only a few years ago, most Guatemalans had never even heard of this indigenous village, where seventy Q’eqchi’-speaking families still live-with no electricity or running water. Though its citizens became alarmed at the rate of deforestation in their forest home, neighboring communities continued cutting down trees to plant crops, and animals disappeared. Nevertheless, Seacacar parents continued working in the fields, aware that the young people needed opportunity and jobs. The town leaders knew that education was the way forward, but without any books or materials, that path seemed completely out of reach.

Now, after years of planning and back-breaking physical work, Seacacar’s future is changing dramatically. Residents young and old have planted trees, created nature trails, built a lodge, and learned to cook for tourists. The upshot: Reserva Natural Cañón Seacacar was recently declared a nature preserve.  It attracts eco-tourists as well as scientists. Educational Director Joaquín Emanuel Carrera Requeña reports that “the essence of this marvelous project is education.” And because of your generosity, GlobalGivers, all middle-school pupils at the Instituto Básico Comunitario Ak’ Tenamit learn from high-quality Guatemalan textbooks.   

Citizens have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments. Seacacar’s schools, with access to books and materials, are attracting youth from a dozen neighboring villages. According to Mr. Carrera the textbooks are helping to create “an atmosphere of better communication between the teacher and student.” The school board recently voted to double the number of students for next year. Enthusiasm is high; hope has returned.

Yesterday we received nineteen thank-you letters from Seacacar middle-school teens. All the letters are titled Mi Historia. The students write of illiterate parents who had no opportunity to study. They remember how, as young children, they gathered wood, worked in cornfields, and washed clothes by hand. They learned basic reading and writing skills in one-room schools with no books or materials. It wasn’t until third grade that teachers began to speak in Spanish. But in every one of their stories, a family member encouraged them to continue their studies in spite of all obstacles. Today those teens want to be doctors, teachers, and hotel managers. They want an education so they can help their families. They are so humble and very grateful. We thank you all.  

Oct 22, 2018

Redefining Education at Kajib' No'j

When the Austrian Guatemalan Institute founded Instituto Privado Mixto Kajib’ No’j almost twenty-five years ago, Mayan youth aspired to study for only two years.  In Momostenango today Kajib’ No’j offers ten years of classes, from pre-school through ninth grade.  However, textbooks and educational materials are expensive and scarce. 


Thank you, GlobalGiving supporters.  Students and faculty alike now enjoy Biblioteca Kajib’ No’j, a library that didn’t exist just over a year ago.  Beautiful bookshelves hold a variety of literature written by some of the world’s great authors, delighting middle school students.  Their younger siblings put puzzles together, play games and read charmingly-illustrated stories.  The availability of high-quality Guatemalan textbooks facilitates both teaching and learning. 


Much has changed in only fifteen months.  According to teachers, these resources are redefining the quality of education at Kajib’ No’j.  We recently received a long list of their comments.  “Writing is improving; imagination is developing; students are motivated to read a variety of books; they are evaluating culture; students’ vocabularies are growing; they’re becoming more pensive.”  Alicia, school secretary, thanks you all.  “The books and materials have been of much benefit to both students and teachers.”


Still, there is much to be done.  At From Books to Brilliance, we plan to continue our partnership with the Kajib’ No’j Private Institute for many years to come.     Visit us at to learn about the ongoing progress that your support enables!  We thank you for your trust in us and this literacy mission.

Gracias!  from all of us at Kajib' No'j
Gracias! from all of us at Kajib' No'j
Aug 13, 2018

Biblioteca Paz y be Continued

Five months ago citizens of Paz y Vida gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of Biblioteca Paz y Vida.  Representatives from the Frankfurt Granada Association, the German Embassy and Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women (AMNLAE) spoke in celebration of this tiny village library, and the future it would hold.  After all, it was their ingenuity and resources that constructed the building.  It was your begheartedness and From Books to Brilliance’s energy that supplied it with books.

Unfortunately, in July we traveled to Guatemala only.  Due to four months of political unrest our plans to visit Nicaragua are on hold.  We will return to grow Paz y Vida’s Library with your generous donations as soon as travel warnings are lifted and our small team of volunteers can travel safely.  Nonetheless, this rural library continues to operate daily.  For them the chaos of the big cities is distant. 

Please note that lives of citizens young and old continue to improve dramatically.  Just a few years ago all were homeless.  Today in houses with running, potable water, standard flooring and electricity, they live “dignified” lives.  Children no longer gather wood and fetch water every morning.  They attend school and go to Peace and Life Library to do homework, read and play games with friends.  Their future surely looks different from their past.

And so our plans in Paz y Vida are delayed.  From Books to Brilliance’s Board of Directors has decided to remove this project from GlobalGiving…for now.  We thank you for your understanding, and pray that Nicaragua will return quickly to the peaceful country we love so much.

Grand Opening with German Ambassador Ute Konig
Grand Opening with German Ambassador Ute Konig
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