Help kids fight climate change with green building

by Long Way Home, Inc.
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Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Girls Having Weaving Lessons at Their New School
Girls Having Weaving Lessons at Their New School

May is always a busy time for Long Way Home crew and volunteers.  The long rainy season is about to start and we do a lot of work to prepare the construction site for the deluge.  This year we have been fortunate to be able to hire nine additional local Guatemalan workers to help us get ready.  Recently I was shooting some footage for a campaign video and our students were telling the camera, "Nos encanta nuestra escuela" (We love our school).  Our workers were also part of the shot and after the kiddos ran off, I got to catch our workers making the line their own (see short clip below).  We hope to find funds to keep the extra workers on for another month...every day makes a difference when prepping for The Long Wet!

As Director of Operations for Long Way Home, I have a lot to be grateful for: friendly neighbors, highly capable staff, energized volunteers, generous donors, freedom, learning opprotunities, cultural exchange...the list goes on.  By far the biggest perk of my job are the smiling faces of our Técnico Maya students.  We now have 25 students from 2nd - 5th grade onsite Monday through Friday.  I used to have to walk to the old school when I needed a recharge from the hug brigade; now I simply walk outside.  From my office I can hear a wonderful addition to the sounds of power tools: children singing and reciting lessons.  When my internet breaks down or I feel overwhelmed, the sounds of children's laughter is the perfect antidote.  I want to give a heartfelt thanks to the donors and volunteers who have brought us this far.  When I started with Long Way Home in March of 2010, the thought of having children in the classrooms was just a dream.  With your help, it's become a reality!

As we near the mid-point of 2012, I'm excited to report that we are making great progress toward our goal of opening the entire school for the January 2014 school year.  We've had setbacks, yes, but we've never lost focus.  The current Técnico Maya students seem very happy in their new "digs" and we are so excited to build their capacity to serve even more children.  In recent months we've added new staff and new board members who have increased our capacity and our drive.  As I prepare mentally for the grey skies, I salute all those who brighten up my day and the future of this magical community. 

Cheers,
~Genevieve

PS - Stay tuned for our 2011 Annual Report.  It will be available online shortly.

Regular LWH Staff
Regular LWH Staff

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Three weeks that I have joined the Long Way Home team, what a wonderful experience!

I am an intern from Belgium, I am going to stay in San Juan Comalapa for three months, and day after day I can see how the staff and the volunteers are motivated. In three weeks I saw the landscape changed, the building goes very fast... When I read previous reports, I can just recognized the progress made by the NGO.

I had seen how was the site before and I think that Long Way Home does a great job. Before my arrival, in early January, the NGO was pleased to open its first classroom that welcomes children of 4th and 5th grade. The building just goes on: the earthbag building, the art room, the retaining wall, the guard shack: all the site has great step forward.

I was pleasantly surprised by the methods of construction, the NGO has combined ecology and building in a surprising way. Tires, trash bottles and bags are very useful for the building's structure. Of course, it is a work of recycling, but it is also a way to preserve the environment. On Earth, we have a lot of waste, Long Way Home is able to use them effectively.

I think joined the LWH team is an rewarding adventure. And I am pleased to take part of this adventure. I want to thank all donors who, in some way, act in favor of this project. Thanks to you, 2011 was a wonderful year, and 2012 is ready to be also a great year.

 

 

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It has been a great year for Long Way Home here at the Técnico Maya school construction site.

Our organization was named Small Charity of the Year by StayClassy, host of the largest philanthropic awards event in the United States.

We have also made significant strides on the construction site. Most notably, we have built a dry composting latrine out of bamboo and trash bottles, installed a rainwater harvesting system on our patio, and completed our West bodega.

Currently, we are concluding the finish work on the vocational classrooms and assembling a lower retaining wall for the primary school classrooms. The hard work of our Guatemalan construction crew and dedicated volunteers is apparent when you watch the 200 foot long man made ditch on the east side of our property being filled with 15 layers of tightly pounded tires.

As we continue to progress with the building project, the need for sufficient funds persists. By the end of the year, we plan to finish the lower retaining wall, begin construction of the upper retaining wall, and prepare the foundation for the primary school classrooms.

In the ensuing months, we will complete the upper retaining wall and build the primary classrooms.

Thank you for your continued support. Your generosity is helping change the lives of rural Guatemalan children, one bottle of trash at a time.

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In February, six GlobalGiving donors traveled to Guatemala for a week of exploration, cultural submersion, and welcomed visits to four GlobalGiving projects.

One of these projects was a school built by Long Way Home. The interesting detail about this visit was that the school was made out of recycled materials. Prior to our visit, it was hard to envision what a “school made from recycled materials” might look like – but our curiosity was quickly addressed once we arrived at the project “Build a school from recycled materials for Maya,” in the small town of San Juan Comalapa. We first toured the “tire garden,” where tires collected from throughout the area were stored. These tires are subsequently stacked, packed with earth, and covered with an adobe-like coating; they are the primary construction materials being used to build a school that will ultimately serve children and vocational students in this largely indigenous community. Plastic bottles stuffed with trash, and feedbags packed with dirt are also used in construction, and glass bottles have been incorporated into the design of the buildings, adding color and light. We met industrious young volunteers from the US and Europe who were doing everything from tending the garden to digging and building a massive retaining wall – built of, what else, tires!

Parque Chimiya, which adjoins the area where the school is being built, includes an organic garden, soccer fields, and other recreational facilities that bustle with social and educational activity – we met many local schoolchildren and their teachers who were enjoying the park during our visit.

This project was certainly one of the most creative and innovative uses of recycled materials our group had ever experienced – addressing not just the need for improved educational facilities, but the omnipresent problem of garbage and trash as well.

To check out more photos and news from Long Way Home visit their project page: www.globalgiving.org/2402

And just if you’re curious about the rest of the trip and where they were headed after Long Way Home:

“Almost every day in Guatemala brought us to projects which are doing important work for the people of Guatemala. This is a country devastated by decades of war, which suffers all of the consequences of crushing poverty, especially in the rural areas. Although I often felt disheartened to learn of the high rates of child malnutrition and low rates of education, projects like WINGS, which promotes family planning through education and improving women's health; the vocational school being built from recycled tires and plastic bottles by Long Way Home; and the community-run lending libraries facilitated by the Riecken Foundation, were terrifically uplifting. We repeatedly met enthusiastic people committed to doing good for the poor of Guatemala in culturally sensitive ways, which was the perfect antidote to the feeling of sadness or hopelessness that comes from hearing bleak statistics and seeing people living with so little.”

To check out the other visited projects go to:

Pueblo a Pueblo – www.globalgiving.org/3666 The Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation – www.globalgiving.org/3339 WINGS – www.globalgiving.org/2394

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Dear Long Way Home donors,

The school site has made much progress since I last visited in November 2008.

Today, February 26, 2010 we made significant progress because we hired a backhoe to move dirt around.

From January 2009 until today ALL work on the Tecnico Maya School has been done by hand, without any machinery.

But today, that all changed when we hired a backhoe to speed up the building process. Please see how much dirt has been excavated. This will save us three months of digging.

The crew is very happy about this because they have grown in their skills beyond digging. When I visited the site today they told me that they are thrilled to be learning new green building techniques. They do not want to go back to digging. Onward with tire packing and more challenging work!!!

And our architect, Ericka Temple is happy also. She wrote in her blog today:

"Excavation, excavation, excavation! The first ever LWH bulldozer was hard at work Thursday moving dirt and cutting into the slope so that our building crew can focus on BUILDING A SCHOOL. It was a happy day. Hand excavation has an appropriate time and place, as does calling in machinery – we were thrilled to be able to choose the right tool for the job at hand. The area for the next vocational workshops is now cleared and ready for foundation, and a small platform at the upper level was cleared out to produce enough dirt to continue with the retaining wall. Eventually the entire upper terrace will be excavated at this same level to create the platform for the primary school classrooms."

Please visit our website at www.longwayhomeinc.org for more updates. Thank you to all, Elizabeth Rose, President, Board of Directors, Long Way Home

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Organization Information

Long Way Home, Inc.

Location: Culpepper, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lwhome_org
Project Leader:
Matt Paneitz
Executive Director
Culpepper, VA United States
$76,551 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,257 donations
$23,449 to go
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