Celebrate with us as we end the school year with new preschools in the Mulkuku Region.
Parents came together to build the schools with funds from this project. They inaugurated their schools and now are ending the school year in better conditions than when it started last February. In this rural area of Nicaragua, they never closed the schools for COVID. Some families decided not to send their children, for a few months, but now they have a building and they are back, feeling secure. The schools are now readying to end the school year and the children are happy because they have a newly built school. This work has strengthened the communities knowing that they could build these school buildings together with your support. Next year their children will have a building instead of having to be in kitchens or under trees or other types of places that were not conducive to learning.
We want to thank you for all your support. We have now met our goal and the children in these mountainous communities have their preschools. This will be our last report and we want to thank you for partnering with us and the parents of this rural area to build preschools for the children there who are often forgotten because they live in a remote area of Nicaragua.
A call from the mountains some 7 hours by truck and horseback from Mulukukú was heard in early May. There is a dilapidated primary school In the community of Holy Family 15 preschoolers met in the back of a multi-graded one-room primary school where 72 primary students with one teacher have been studying. Now the third of September a new and larger primary classroom and a smaller preschool were completed and inaugurated by parents, teachers, and representatives from neighboring schools, churches, the city council of Mulukukú, and friends. In three months, fathers and community residents with a master builder had hauled materials from trucks to the site and built the schools.
But that is not all. The parents had spent the previous two months with machetes, shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows constructing 5 kilometers of dirt roadway by hand so that the trucks could bring the construction materials, sand, rock, and blocks closer to the school leaving them on about 20 minutes to haul everything by hand and by horses to the school location. It was indeed a reason to celebrate. A kitchen was set up in the now-abandoned old school and a royal lunch served to all who attended.
We want to thank you for all your support of this program. We have now met our goal and the children in these mountainous communities have their preschools. This will be our last report and we want to thank you for partnering with the parents of this rural area to build preschools.
Good news in the midst of the pandemic and the powerful start of the rainy season now underway: four of the five preschools planned through this project have now been completed. “WOW We did it, all together,” exclaimed one coordinator.
Mulukukú now has 4 new rural preschools, with children running in and out of their new environment not quite believing that this is going to be their new schools. One of the schools is a double preschool because the enrollment doubled during the construction phase and the parents made allowance for this surge. Each school has a different amount of students enrolled between 15 and 30. Now the parents of the fifth school have started their preschool with the walls going up rapidly.
It is mid school year with the heavy rain starting up so everyone is anxious. Teachers are anxiously waiting to try out new Montessori materials that had started to arrive before the virus hit Nicaragua. One of the invisible effects of the corona Virus pandemic is that United States Mail to many third world countries has been interrupted. We have a commitment from a Montessori school in the USA that is closing to receive their materials but when they went to the post office they were denied. “There is no mail service to Nicaragua.” There are at least 50 countries that the US postal service is not serving at this time because of the pandemic. We have no international flights coming in so we cannot get airmail. So the promised material is waiting until there is mail service between the United States and Nicaragua, which we believe will happen.
It seems that the communities in the rural areas of Múlukuku have so far been spared the infection of Covid-19 and the people are not being advised to take any precautions. Since these schools are part of the ministry of education they have remained open in the midst of this virus. We know that this is a time when many families are suffering around the world from the effects of Covid 19 and we pray that you be protected from all sickness and economic loses. We give thanks to God and to each one of you who in the middle of such difficulties have made a dream come true for teachers and children of the mountains to have preschools. Thank you. A special prayer for children that we are sharing during the Corona Pandemic: “Oh God be good to me the sea is so big and my boat is so small.”
In order to build a school in Mulkúku villages in Nicaragua it takes a community. In this mountainous rural area a community of parents, a community of supporters, of teachers and community leaders, a community of builders, and also a community of donors are working together. Thank you for being a part of this community. These schools are truly community schools and to have a preschool in a rural area is such a blessing. When the people come together to build it, to support it, they really begin to own these schools and thus take care of them. These are their chiodren's schools. There is such a big celebration when a school is completed. Really a preschool is the first step for these children and their parents want it to be a step in the right direction. Can you imagine the joy in the whole family when they know that their young child is beginning with preschool? Many of these parents didn’t have this opportunity. So the celebrations are a very big part of their building schools.
Sister Sandy writes “With grateful hearts we thank the generous donors who have responded to our request for help to support parents of 5 preschools. Now we are finishing the second of the five schools. In December parents and children inaugurated the preschool Cristobal Colon. On the first full week of February the parents and community of this preschool, Estrella del Norte in Kepí, will begin a new year in a new school. Windows and doors are being installed and bright rose colored paint will reflect the bright smiles and joy of parents and children who proudly celebrate their children’s preschool. “
Sister Sandy continues her work helping organize the new schools and has been able to get permission from the ministry of education to continue her training of preschool teachers in Montessori values and methods. She has a master’s in Montessori preschools and now is being able to use it in an area where preschools didn’t exist plus now there are preschools where they didn’exist before.
Rain and mud equals dengue fever and colds during the winter on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua for preschool classes which are held in inadequate quarters. However winter as well as the school year are coming to a close. The children in the communities of Mulukukú rejoice when they can finally come back to school once the fevers are over. Now they are enjoying their friends, chasing after squirrels, and chanting “The food, the food”, as mothers bring in beans and rice and tortillas for lunch. In Nicaragua the school year is February to the end of November so the children and teachers have a lot of catching up to do in class more than chasing squirrels, since many missed one or two weeks with their health problems.
The end of October parents, teachers, builders and school directors inaugurated the first of 4 preschools we have all be hoping for since early last year in the community of Santa Rita about 25 kilometers northeast of the town of Mulukukú. It was a great big party and all the communities celebrated. Now we are hoping and planning for the new school year which opens in February 2020 and for the other 5 preschools, with dreams of avoiding so many health problems when they are attending classes in inadequate classrooms.
But classrooms are not the only thing that will be new. The teachers are being trained this year and there are 21 preschool teachers who have been studying with Sister Sandra the Montessori philosophy, methodology and materials for preschoolers. We are planning a new series of workshops of hand-made materials based on Montessori principles. Preschools in rural Nicaragua have no equipment or materials except what the teachers bring from their own homes. So with the help of this project we hope to be able to buy some supplies and we believe we will make some great Montessori materials. We are grateful for those who have donated for the 5 preschools which we are desperately trying to build before the next school year. During the school break would be a good time to build because the climate is dryer and the parents have more time. They are excited about the possibilities of having the new schools and are encouraging their children to attend classes now promising them that next year it will be better. Even though it is hard work to build the schools they are itching to build the schools for their children. These are schools built by the parents on land donated by them for the preschools, they are very proud that it will be their work that will give these children the possibility to study in adequate classrooms.
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