Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cooperative for Education Enrichment Tour

Last week, Mary and I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala as a part of the Enrichment Tour for Cooperative for Education.  We were members of a volunteer delegation of fifteen women and their teenage daughters. The trip was the perfect blend of service and vacation... we worked the mornings at Pachali Elementary school in Sacatepequetz, not far from the city of Antigua. In the afternoon we did fun touristy things... visited the sights, shopped the markets and even had a chance to zip a zipline if you were feeling up to it.
(I was not)
I did however, get to participate in a very fun Guatemalan cooking class and also a salsa class.
(the hippy dance kind of salsa- not the stuff you eat with chips)
It was a lot like summer camp for grown ups, (minus the lanyard) and we all loved it.
However the best part of this grown up camp was doing something good for a small pocket of kids who absolutely deserve to have something good done for them. 
Mary and I got to work with a wonderful class of spunky second graders.
We helped give the classroom a "mini makeover" with new shelves and paint.
While it would have been more efficient and less challenging to paint without the kids involved, our fearless leaders thought the kids would take ownership of the projects more if they participated in their renovation. So while it seemed counterproductive to give 10 kids loaded paintbrushes at once... we did it anyway. And somehow it all worked out and the kids were indeed very proud of their painting skills.
The kids were very eager and industrious in their work, but every now and then we took a break to blow bubbles... just because it seemed like a good idea.
 And then our fun loving work team happily painted the walls of their second grade classroom.
 With plenty of time leftover for some rockin' party games in the courtyard.
Here is the second grade class upon completion.
The kids had a little open house and we all admired their freshly painted walls and new materials.
Each classroom also received a brand new map of Guatemala which everyone thought was terrific.
I can't imagine what my life would be like had we not adopted Jamie and Henry.

One of the side benefits from having a couple of Guatemalan born boys is that because of them, ten years ago we were introduced to the people of Cooperative for Education and have since been fortunate enough to call them friends.

The school kids in the Co-Ed programs are extremely limited in their resources but abundant in their eagerness to learn. Rebecca, Johanna and their husbands, Joe and Jeff are committed to serving a population of kids who may not be near, but will always be dear and important to us.

They are doing great things in Guatemala with understanding and grace. 
Please check them out.

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