New Cooperativa School May 14, 2013 No Comments
I have loved the Cooperativa Spanish School since my 1st visit in 2007. What really makes the school great are the directors and the teachers and their wonderful social projects, but part of the attraction has been the gorgeous garden setting overlooking the lake.
With rising lease costs and lack of control, the directors of the Cooperativa School – our advisors in San Pedro – decided to invest in a centrally located property and build a new school facility from scratch with 2 styles of study cabañas dotting lawn and garden areas (which will grow more beautiful with time) and a handsome new office structure. At 1st I was sad about the move but am charmed by the new location and the choices they are making. When I visited in March they were just a week away from the move and I’ve posted some photos I took when I was there; you can see the full set here.
I am excited for the Cooperativa staff for this accomplishment and especially for the changes it could mean for the Beca Project.
In the past, having a base for Beca activities like letter writing, tutoring, study groups, English classes, photography workshops, parent meetings, and scheduled use of the laptops (donated to the Beca students last summer) has seemed like a fantasy. Now an opportunity has surfaced that sounds like the perfect solution. The school directors approached me during my March visit about the construction of a shared activity room on the roof of the office, for the activities I mention above as well as dozens more yet to be envisioned. They have shown unending devotion to the Beca Project (without renumeration) and report that sometimes their Spanish students ask to volunteer with the Beca students; having an available space at the Cooperativa School would be perfect.
They have also agreed to the construction of a small apartment. Visiting sponsors and volunteers could use the apartment as well as families who are temporarily homeless while the Cooperativa housing project builds them a new home. When it’s vacant, the school could rent it out to interested Spanish students.
I am very excited because these shared spaces will be a win-win, cost-effective way for all of us to have the space we need to continue our outreach. We are working together on the designs.
The photo below shows the school office during their grand opening celebration – the people on the roof are standing where our new shared spaces will be located and the last photo shows the lovely view.
Mike and I will be donating to get this project off the ground. If any of you are interested, donations specifically for the activity room will be gratefully received!
Beca folks around town April 10, 2013 No Comments
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really, truly love being in San Pedro La Laguna. It feels good to be there and to know so many people. It’s great to run into the Beca kids and their families around town; here are some photos of those moments and you can see a larger set of photos by clicking here.
There are lots of additional photos – pushing 800! – including images of my host family, market scenes, Semana Santa (Easter week) celebrations and more in the 14 sets in my Guatemala 2013 collection; check them out if you’re interested!
We took some of the kids shopping with money from their sponsors. I’ve included a few photos in the post below and the rest are here in case you’d like to take a look.
In order to touch base with all the parents, Mynor and I got the word out that I would be hanging out in the beautiful park near the Catholic church in the evenings. Nearly every family stopped by to say hello, some of them more than once. I’ve chosen a few photos to post below and you can click here if you’d like to see more.
Another activity I couldn’t squeeze in this trip that I’ve enjoyed the last 3 years is providing a big celebration meal for the Beca students and their families. In lieu of that, Mynor suggested I take the kids out for pizza which turned out to be a new joy.
We hosted 4 lunches for bunches of Beca kids grouped (with a few exceptions to accommodate schedules) by the year they started in the project: 2010, ’11, ’12, and ’13. The groups got larger but quieter as the week progressed. It was wonderful to catch up with each of the kids and talk about families, school, and future goals.
I’ve posted a few photos from each group below and you can click here to see a larger set in my flickr collection.
Greetings from Oregon! I just returned after 2 lovely weeks in Guatemala. Usually I visit in July and stay longer. With other family plans in place for July 2013, I grabbed a few extra days either side of spring vacation and celebrated all things Beca along with Semana Santa – Easter week – in San Pedro La Laguna.
I usually visit every family but with more than 40 students, that was not possible this trip. Mynor and I set our sights on visiting the families of each of the 13 new students and I’ve included some of my favorite photos below. You can access the whole, gigantic set on flickr by clicking here.
The Navichoc Pacay house is complete! February 18, 2013 No Comments
I’m so happy and proud to announce in this blog that the Navichoc Pacay family has moved into their brand new home! Here’s the photo we received in 2009 when older daughter Andrea became our very 1st Beca student.
The Cooperativa School directors started their Kamoon home building project in 2009 and this is the 2nd home they’ve completed. A former student of the school made this video about the project which makes it very clear why this deserving family needed a new home.
I’ve posted a few photos to show the process below. To view a set of 20 photos on my flickr page, click HERE; there’s a place to click and view a slideshow of the photos.
A new deserving family has been selected for home #3 – Petrona and kids – and fundraising is already about 80% complete, in large part due to the generous donations of Beca sponsors. Donations gratefully received!
In this video you can learn more about San Pedro, see the family and the condition of their current home, and listen to the local Maya language, Tz’utujil. You can click in the image below to watch it here or go to the Youtube page for a larger version.
I’m looking forward to visiting in March 2013 to (among other things!) see the Navichoc Pacay family’s new home and to meet Petrona and her family. Happy trails!
New Beca students for 2013! November 29, 2012 1 Comment
I am delighted to announce we have 13 new Beca students eager to continue their education in 2013 thanks to generous donations to the Beca Project. I’ve posted a photo of each of them below and you can view the complete set HERE on my flickr photo site. That brings our total to 44 students with renewable scholarships!
Basica Graduation, 2012 November 4, 2012 1 Comment
I just received a wonderful set of photos from the 2012 graduation ceremony at the Escuela Luisa y Benjamin Paul that our Beca students attend for their middle school years. 7 of our original Beca students graduated from the equivalent of 9th grade this year. They’ll each pick a career field and choose a Diversificada school – like a combination of high school and college – for the next 3 years. One student, Miguel, was unable to attend graduation but here are some of my favorite photos of the others. Three of the Cooperativa’s directors – Mynor, Griselda, and Luis – are pictured in the final photo with the students.
2012 Beca Celebration October 1, 2012 No Comments
The annual Beca celebration was extraordinary once again. More than 200 celebrants including more than 30 families, a dozen teachers, 2 traditional dances, 2 cultural plays, gigantic pots of pepián, and hundreds of photos = powerful memories. I’ve included some of my favorite photos below and you can access a complete set of 40 HERE on my flickr page. Enjoy!