Saturday, March 7, 2015

first week completed

Today was our fourth day at el Centro Educativo del Socorro Perpetua (education centre of perpetual succour). I have spent a lot of time with Clara Luz, a 60 year old nun who founded the school 15 years ago. She depends on donations from various organizations to make improvements to the school. It has been interesting driving around with her to pick up supplies.The first thing she asked me was how old I am. This seems to be a common question and people are not shy about sharing this information. This has allowed me to talk to her about what we are doing, about the children attending the school, and about her present life that began as a noviciate at age 14 in El Salvador. That would mean that she was witness to much of the war and disruption during the years of guerilla wars in both countries. Those years have taken a toll on the social and economic structures in Guatemala.
Although there is now a supposed democratically elected president, there remain huge inequalities in the country, with education and health at the bottom of the heap and the army much higher up when it comes to government subsidies.

Our resident magician

We have completed one classroom with windows installed.  There are two others left. Cutting and glueing the plexiglass is a slow process. Thankfully we have a volunteer here who knows how to do it and has taken the time to figure out how to use the means available to do the job. The last piece of the project that will stop at the end of April when CASIRA finishes the season for this year, is the washroom. Next week we will be going to purchase what is needed to do that. I may learn how to do some plumbing, given that next week we will be four women and one man to get the job started.

I am getting used to communal living. The kitchen is staffed by a Guatemalan cook supported by Casira volunteers who do the prep work, etc. We each have responsabilities, including dishes nightly, gardening, washing sheets and towels, caring for the garden and more. This week I am on nightly kitchen floor duty so by 8:30 everyone must leave the area while we wash up. Lots of laughs as we go about these chores together.
Today we visited Guatamala City. I remember so much of this from our time here in 1974. The old colonial area in the center of the city is similar to many cities that were originally part of Spain's empire. But the more modern government buildings are built along more modern lines, with beautiful Mayan influenced art on most of them. As always, I love seeing and hearing the noises and colourful sights of these places.

Clara Luz and our group at Pinula

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jennifer. Glad to hear your news. Sounds like you are getting lots of opportunities to speak Spanish. Keep sharing you're stories.