We are having to downsize the United Brothers School of Muñoz in order to keep it from having to close in the middle of the year. Our reliable monthly income falls short of our most basic monthly expenses and since the United Brothers School of Muñoz was the last service project that we took responsibility over after another school and a program for boys on the streets, it is the one that we have always had to consider cutting. We have tried so hard to avoid doing this, but have been backed up on teacher payments for years. This year, in an attempt to pay teachers on time, we got backed up on paying rent to the point that we have decided to switch to a smaller building. We will also have to cut two teachers. We had three teachers in the morning and two in the afternoon, then a volunteer adult literacy teacher in the evenings. We have cut one teacher in the morning, leaving two, and one in the afternoon, leaving one. We have received donated food items from two different sources and have been serving school meals consistently three times a week. One frustration here is that we asked for mothers to volunteer to make meals. Three mothers would each take a day and make meals that day for one month. Then when the month changed, three more would take a day. We have had very poor participation with this and often times it is the night watchman/maintenance man who is making the meals, outside of his job description. We continue to play community bingo whenever donations are availble as prizes. Community members really love this and we have found it a good way to distribute donations in a manner attached to an activity so that it doesn't create a lot of commotion, pushing, and shoving. A recent winter volunteer group recently spent a week of their two weeks in Muñoz where they led a self-defense class, mainly focused on preparing girls for potential dangerous situations, but boys were involved some days as well. They also cleaned up the school yard and created a garden bed as well as a human compost toilet to serve as an example of an inexpensive and environmentally friendly solution to the lack of toilets in the batey. In the garden bed, we led students to plant moringa, a super plant that apparently is so nutritionally rich, it can replace meat in someone's diet. Once these trees grow, we plan on incorporating the leaves in the school meals. We will see what happens from here with the school. Thank you for your support.
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