I send to all a very friendly hello from my new home, El Triunfo, Gualan, Guatemala where I have been living since June 3rd, 2008, after retiring from my work at FAU.
The first three months of retirement have been a lot or work – no kidding!
Day Care Center:
During June, the 115 friends from the Presbyterian group of Westfield, New Jersey came to El Triunfo to work with families building kitchens, latrine housing, and other additional parts of the house for twelve families. They also built a beautiful building which will become a Day Care center for the little ones. Most of the building is done. The fence and floors will be in place within two or three weeks. There are already eleven children on the list waiting to be served. The Municipality of Gualan has committed a worker to coordinate the services at the center.
The Day Care will also serve as a library for the school children. The Presbyterian friends brought many beautiful books in Spanish and the teachers and community leaders decided to place them at a central place rather than at a specific classroom.
The school children from the sixth grade will be doing volunteer work at the center as part of their required community service hours. The library records will be part of their responsibilities.
Two computers will be placed at the Day Care center. We have three educational programs on CD and we hope to be able to purchase more. This is a great opportunity, not only for the school children to utilize the programs, but also for them to tutor the smaller children. Your cooperation toward the purchasing of these educational programs is appreciated.
We are most grateful to the Presbyterian group of Westfield, New Jersey for their generosity and kindness. The children and families of El Triunfo remember the many hours they spent sharing art work, games, solidarity.
The water project:
Mr. Felix Solaun and Mr. Bruce Griffith, friends of the Guatemalan Project are committed to assist the people of El Triunfo in their quest to satisfy their need for water. El Triunfo has expanded from the original 129 families to 293 families. The new families live on what is now called El Triunfo II, on the skirt of El Triunfo.
The topographic study of El Triunfo II has already taken place. The Municipality of Gualan is doing the final engineering assessment that will determine the specifications for the changes in motor power, pipe diameters, etc. It is expected that this study will be available within a month.
On August 21, 2008, Felix, Bruce, and Havana-Felix’s daughter- and her friend Lauren visited El Triunfo. We truly enjoyed their company and hope that they will return.
Felix and Bruce and their friends from Atlanta, GA will sponsor the cost of this water system expansion. We are most grateful to them.
The Milpa project:
This year, the harvest of the corn has been stupendous. Thanks to the help given by Felix Solaun and Bruce Griffith and their friends in Atlanta, GA, thirty two families in El Triunfo were able to obtain loans to purchase fertilizer for their corn fields. That, plus the plentiful rains produced wonderful harvest.
Many more families needed loans for their milpas; that is why, Felix and Bruce are working with their friends to fundraise enough money to provide all families in El Triunfo with a minimum loan for the cultivation of a half a block of land. Each family will need a minimum of $150 to purchase seeds, fertilizer, pesticides.
At the end of September, 2008, we will have a list and pictures of all the families in need of milpa loans. We hope that you will be able to assist a family or two so that they can ensure their food and livelihood for next year. Our loans are sustainable; therefore, we expect minimum need for the continuation of this project after 2009.
The Westminster project:
The Westminster High School in Atlanta, GA, under the leadership of Deacon Michael Barbaro and Sam Kirby engaged students in collecting $3,000 to help the children of El Triunfo who needed basic things such as a bed, a hammock, a chair, a table. The teachers at the Scott Adams Elementary School in El Triunfo selected 90 students most in need of these items. The students were asked to give 30 hours of community work and to help the furniture and hammock makers in making their selected item.
During the month of August, the children of El Triunfo delivered their community hours and learn the basic of carpentry and weaving. During the Guatemala’s Independence Day festivities of September 15, each selected child will receive their prize. We will be placing all pictures of the children with their beds, chairs, tables, and hammocks on the web. Each child will send a letter of thanks to their friends in Westminster school in Atlanta,GA.
We appreciate the generosity and sense of community of the children of the Westminster High School and invite them to come to visit El Triunfo and share in our joy.
It is with much sadness that I report to all the friends of the Guatemalan Project that we will no longer be able to feed the children who attend school. Unfortunately, our donors have not sent their donations for this program.
As you know, we were able to prepare a lunch for as little as $0.25 per lunch per day. The cost of living has upped this figure to $0.30 a day.
Unless there is a donation made before January, 2009, the incoming children will not receive lunches.
The cost of providing lunches for 350 children is around $100 a day or $500 per week or $20,000 for a ten month school year. We hope to find a generous donor for this worthy program. We truly saw a big difference in the health of the children during the past three years of the lunch program. Children seem more alert, they attend school, and they are much more participative in all areas of school and community work. We would love to continue this grown.
After three months of retirement, I need a vacation. I love my retirement work, but, I still have not caught up with all the paperwork I need to do.
I am having my house built in my farm and I hope to have it done by December. I am enjoying every minute of my work and my life in El Triunfo. I miss my friends and my music – I did not bring my CDs.
I will be traveling back to the USA in January and I will stay in Boynton for one month. I hope to see many of you.
Note: Your monetary contributions are most welcome.
Write your check to: GUATEMALAN PROJECT
On the back of the check, please write: FOR DEPOSIT ONLY IN ACCOUNT 1525063
Send your check to:
6613 Greg Way
Lake Worth, FL 33467
Please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform me of your donation.
Cecilia Campoverde, Director