| Jun 20, 2016
Change in the Wind
One of our Kindergartners Enjoying Breakfast
Greetings and well wishes from San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala. My name is Taylor Bardecki and I am currently an intern at Long Way Home (LWH). I arrived in Guatemala at the beginning of May, and only have three weeks left until my time is up. I am a student at Florida State University, and was lucky enough to be accepted into an international program that assists students in finding internships across the world, which is how I found myself at Long Way Home. I really wanted to gain an understanding of how non-profits work and affect their community, and throughout my time here I definitely have.
As an intern I have the opportunity to see multiple facets of the organization. I work both outside with the local employees doing construction work and inside with the staff members working on development work. In the beginning of my internship we had to tackle the instillation of a new leach field. The leach field is an alternative waste disposal method that is being used instead of a compost disposal. The field will help the bathrooms on the upper level of the school filter out waste and provide nutrients to the land. It took a lot of digging, patience, and hard work but now the bathrooms are fully functional.
The construction team has been working on other parts of the project that include a new entry way to the school that will be wheel-chair accessible, new onsite volunteer housing, and a computer lab and library. The work site is constantly bustling with activity as the construction tasks are completed and students are running around all morning. With all the work being completed, Long Way Home has used over 400 tons of trash that would of been polluting the local environment and infrastructure. Everyone has been extremely welcoming to the new interns and volunteers and are always happy to help us out with any difficulties or problems that we might have.
Additionally, I have been working closely with the Director of Development, Genevieve, on jump-starting our summer campaign, preparing grant applications, and organizing the smoothie (licuado, in Spanish) program. Our summer campaign celebrates how far we have come as an organization and how close we are to finishing the project here in Comalapa. If we meet our goal, Long Way Home will be able to have all of our critical campus buildings completed by the upcoming school year. The goal for this campaign is 25,000 USD, and already one month into our campaign we are 40% to our goal! What is really exciting is once we reach our goal, every dollar will be matched by a generous donor! We invite all of those from Global Giving to take part with us on this journey and help us cross the finish line. Please include the word "HomeStretch" in your comment box as you make a donation and we can get your generous gift MATCHED.
To help us with the campaign, Genevieve and I have been working to complete grants to give us that extra little boost. We look forward to seeing the results of these grants and the success that they will bring.
Lastly, the licuados or smoothie program has been going well since its inception, though as time has passed we have come up with different ways to make it more efficient. The licuado committee has been crucial in making the program function. The committee (comprised of our students' mothers) have recently decided to downsize the workforce and now two members a week prepare all 130 smoothies each day. They are now running the program with very little support from the foreign staff and it's wonderful to watch them take the lead and ensure success!
All in all, with more rains and winds, the bustling town of Comalapa has never looked any greener. With the help of the workers and staff of Long Way Home, the town is looking clean and fresh. Just in time for the town's feria next week!
As I continue to work and learn with Long Way Home, I have come to have a greater understanding of how necessary support is to have this project continue and flourish. Thank you, for with all your help the organization is able to use self sustainable design and materials to construct self-sufficient schools that promote education, employment, and environmental stewardship. If you have any questions feel free to ask! If you wish to keep up with our projects, feel free to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Taylor Working on the Leach Field
Glass Bottle Skylights in the New Computer Lab
New Volunteer House Coming Together