The Under 18 construction crew!
GVI Quepos’ 2015 Under 18s volunteering group spent two weeks building, fixing, and updating infrastructure at tiny Roncador Primary School near Quepos, contributing immensely to GVI’s commitment to improve school infrastructure which began with the funding for construction of a school cafeteria in 2014.
Here is what the under 18s achieved. It was a busy 2 weeks!
- finished the cafeteria
- created a playground area for the kindergarten
- painted the kindergarten classroom
- dug a drainage ditch to prevent flooding
- painted the school’s outer wall
- rebuilt a dilapidated house into a functioning learning
The GVI team was directed, organized and taught by the talented and patient local foreman, Olman, and his cheerful and skilled sidekicks, Carlos and Francisco. Under their expert direction, the team managed to accomplish an astounding amount of work and improve the learning environment for the wonderful students of Roncador.
The team was able to clear out an entire over-grown and weed-ridden back section. They removed a blister-creating concrete fence, shovelled and hoed the ground to remove rocks and roots, and moved endless wheelbarrow loads of dirt to level-out and re-floor the area to make it a safe and child-friendly area for playing. The swing set was dug out, tearing out the concrete bases that went almost a meter into the ground, and relocated to the new kindergarten playground. We washed and painted the classroom walls inside and out giving the classroom a fresh and clean new look for the young learners.
The outside of the new cafeteria was sealed and painted. What sometimes seemed like endless days were spent shovelling dirt, filling wheelbarrows with rocks and soil, and moving what seemed like mountains away from the play areas. The team cleared out, cleaned and re-organized the bat-filled bodega, used to store classroom and maintenance materials. The job came with built in obligatory breaks when the bats decided to stretch their wings and survey the work.
The school’s boundary fence was water-blasted, scrubbed, cleaned, and painted, which, although somewhat repetitive, had the added bonus of splashing volunteers with water, a welcomed consequence after hours in the sun. Many hours were spent under the hot sun digging drains and trying to avoid biting ants so that the playground and garden areas of the school would not flood when it rained. The flag pole was also sanded, painted and re-fixed into the ground.
The English classes that GVI runs are held in a small run-down, termite-ridden house that leaked in the rain. Part of the goals for the Under 18s was to fix up the house. After the roof and some of the internal walls were removed by Olman the full extent of the termite damage was realized and most of the internal structure had to be replaced with steel framework. The corrugated iron roof was scrubbed and sanded with wire brushes and painted with zinc to keep the roof rust-free and sturdy.
The front section of the classroom was cleared and a big drain was dug to help prevent flooding. The concrete walls of the house were weak in parts, so the weak cement was chipped away and patched up. The walls were re-plastered and given a fresh coat of paint. We even included a mural of a GVI tree with all of our handprints as leaves.
The improvements have made the school a safer, cleaner and better learning environment. The children now have a safe place to play and a re-vamped classroom, the school grounds are clean and the drainage that was dug means that children will be able to play even after it has rained. The English classroom is well on its way to becoming a safe and positive learning environment.
Thank you for your generous donations, which have funded all of this work in Roncador. We look forward to bringing you news on how the children are enjoying their new and improved school.
GVI Costa Rica
Before and after
Repainting the roof sheets
The GVI hand tree