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Nov 8, 2018

We are finishing our school year

Dear friends,

We are delighted to share with you our delight and satisfaction that we’ve completed another successful year of studies. The academic year came to an end on the 26th October, and our students have shown to us their great intelligence and how much they have learned over the year. As well as learning about colours, numbers and developing their writing skills, they are considerably more sociable. It’s incredible to see the advances that they have made during the year, as well as the knowledge that they have acquired. We are extremely happy with our children and above all, immensely proud of every single one of them.

We are also very proud to have worked and supported the communities which are in very rural and remote locations of our homeland of Guatemala, where the conditions are challenging, with trees, mountains as well considerable amounts of rain and mud.  It is in this difficult environment where our children live, and it is they who have the most need to learn and develop skills which will allow them to develop academically.

We are very grateful of everyone who supports our work, as your support shows that we are not alone in our mission to achieve our objective of providing high-quality education to our children in the regions with the most need. Many thanks as always for all of your valuable support!

We look forward to being in touch again soon and we wish you all the very best!

Oct 18, 2018

Hope and positivity for the future

At 9 o’clock, our enthusiastic kids came in great numbers to the Center; first of all, they were playing foosball, while volunteers were arranging the classrooms. For that morning, our volunteers would like to increase awareness amongst children, regarding their own identity, their personality and choices in their life. That activity was divided into several categories. And there were lessons to be learned in each question.

After talking about the date, the weather and the program, the team started with personal questions involving their name, the age, their address and where they come from. Normally, each kid was supposed to answer in his own words and in full sentences. It’s a way to know where they are from, and also learn from other, local areas’ names, ethnical groups and so on.

It happened that, some of them didn’t really know where they come from and in those cases; we proposed to see the marabouts to have the right answers.

After introducing themselves and telling their address and origin, we asked them about their favorite sport and animal. It was a common way to keep them concentrated and they always found funny to talk about sports or animals.

After that distraction, it was time to begin a meaningful conversation with them, concerning Children’s Rights in Africa…..

We talked about certain rights and we promised to have each week a session to discuss about their rights.

Nevertheless, it was heartbreaking to explain to those underprivileged children, what was a child? What were his rights? Considering that, almost none of the basic rights has been respected in a daily life. The only explanation we had in order to reassure them was that, the private associations and other local organizations were putting pressure on the government to establish mechanisms for promoting the rights of a child.

We also asked them to stay at the centre to get educated and in the future, they could, in their turn, take positive actions to promote Human Rights in the Continent.

The volunteers thought that was important to let children express themselves, because, it will help them to dare to speak openly, to communicate, to be recognized by other and to make friends in the group. And another important thing was the fact that, some kids would find that way to fight against shyness and have the possibility to become familiar with the two foreign languages (French and English).

To finish our wonderful class, the last question was about where they would like to travel around the word? And we got surprising answers from children.

We noticed that, they could be illiterate but they are well informed regarding countries ‘names.

What was their secret?......Soccer game on TV, we were so impressed to see that, thanks to soccer games, kids learnt a lot regarding geography. They quoted lots of countries; they wanted to visit, expecting to meet Ronaldo or Lionel Messi…..LOL.

And for that last lesson, our role was to show them in a map the Country’s location. By the way, we took our time to talk about travelling and what they will need to travel. We taught them the role of a passport and we showed them how to make one through a simple drawing…..

Our talibés are so smart, we are proud of them.

Oct 11, 2018

A visit in "Santo Domingo Xenacoj"

These are the children of Miss Gloria
These are the children of Miss Gloria

On Wednesday, September 12th, I was able to visit the Pequeños Pero Listos school in Santo Domingo Xenacoj, Guatemala, with the program’s director, Sara Bacajol. We arrived in time for the students’ gathering to learn about the day in the Mayan calender, 2 B’atz. Their teacher, Miss Gloria, excitedly explained the meaning of the different candles, colors, and grains being used in the special ceremony. She expressed how the gathering is meant to represent a start of a new time, and also to remember their past, whether direct grandparents or long-away ancestry. General background states that B’atz in Mayan astrology is meant to represent life, and is based on the Mayan god of creation, B’atz. The children’s energetic excitement and willingness to learn was clear, as they all answered each question in unison as Miss Gloria continued her presentation and encouraged their participation.

 

Afterwards, the children put on a show of some beautiful dances in their own traditional outfits from home. Their skirts and vests were bright and colorful, as their shoes tapped away and their hair bounced with detailed ribbons woven through.  We watched and cheered as they danced in pairs and group circles to upbeat marimba music, giggling and smiling for our photos. Everyone took turns and cheered on their classmates, happily helping their teacher with the music and applauses after each skit. We were even able to hear some solo singers and clever riddles for the class as a mini talent show ensued.

 

Next we were able to enjoy an amazing home-cooked dish prepared by some of the mothers. “Pulique de pollo,” a Mayan meal, is a delicious meat and vegetable stew served with fresh tortillas and tamales. The students all pulled their chairs up to the awaiting tables and happily listened as the mothers explained what the pulique was made of and why it takes skill and patience to cook. It was worth the wait; we all thanked the mothers for the wonderful meal and the students for sharing their unique day with us. After our warm meal and hot drinks, we had to say goodbye to the children. I was so thankful to be invited to their special day in school, and I hope to bring you more stories of these visits in the near future.

(Written by Arisa Gereda)

Presenting a traditional dance
Presenting a traditional dance
 
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