Volunteers Gary and Jan Jantzen (also a board member) are in Guatemala researching project requests and here is Jan’s report, along with a heart-warming follow-up note from our partner charity.
Tzanjomel is located on Lake Atitlan on the second boat stop past Santa Cruz. After getting off the boat, we took a pickup truck through another village and then onto the roughest road we have been on in Guatemala. Now that is saying a lot! The road was just covered with large rocks which made driving VERY difficult.
Here is a photo of some mothers who came to ask for a school for their children. Check out the house in the background. It is hard to relate to not having enough to eat or feed your kids, not having a school to send your kids to. These ladies signed a request for a school with their thumb print because they can't read nor write.
The wood poles in this photo are the start of a healthy family center. The school would go on the right-hand side. It would be 2 classrooms plus a kitchen. There is room for a school garden. The land is lush and covered in coffee plants. One classroom would be for a preschool. Most of the mother’s do not speak Spanish and cannot read nor write. Preschool would be needed for the kids to learn Spanish as well as preschool skills. The second classroom would be for 1 grade or 1-2nd grade. There is a school down by the Lake but it is too difficult for the small child to go up and down the hill on the awful rock road.
Amigos de Santa Cruz built a small shed and a machine that grinds corn for this village about 3 years ago. The villagers keep the machine and shed in excellent condition and value it. When we talked to them about maintaining the school they pointed out the excellent care they give the shed and the grinder.
The village has water from a spring. It also has vented stoves and water filters that Amigos was able to get donated. It does not have electricity.
There are 2 woman (one is trained as a social worker) that are working with the women. They will be developing programs on nutrition, gardening, and health. They also want to use the school in the afternoon for beading classes or other vocational training for the women. They are open to teaching literacy classes for adults in the evenings or weekends. So, the school would have multiple uses.
Gary and I think this would be a great project for Miracles.
NOTE: AFTER OUR BOARD VOTED TO APPROVE THIS PROJECT, WE RECEIVED THIS NOTE FROM AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ:
Today Jan called me with the wonderful news that Miracles has approved the funding of a school for the community of Tzanjomel. These people have never known such generosity and heart and their gratitude is beyond words. In their history, they have been forgotten people. You are changing their lives with your decision to help them build a school and in showing them that miracles can happen when faith is strong and people reach out to each other and work together.
On behalf of Amigos de Santa Cruz and all the people of Tzanjomel –who would be telling you themselves if they could –Thank you all. We are excited to begin the planning and building process which will not only provide a school in the end but will also provide the people of Tzanjomel with an experience that will empower them and their children for generations to come. This is how we change the world…one little village at a time.