Thursday, August 24, 2017

PHOTO/ESSAY OF OUR HISTORY at the NAJQUITOB VILLAGE & the SCHOOL KITCHEN PROJECT -- GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY NEWSLETTERS IN ENGLISH & SPANISH

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UPDATING September  2017
Promotional activity ended on August 31st when the Foundation completed 50 years of working among the Mayans in Guatemala.  We presently are working on the last project in Sta. Cruz Verapaz--
Building a KITCHEN for the ACAMAL SCHOOL. 

It will be completed around the end of September and inauguarated  at which time a final photo/essay will be posted here, an email notice sent, and a final printed Newsletter will be published and sent to all 2017 donors.
Our support for the Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc School.....

.......will continue until years end when a final post will appear here, 
along with the 2017 Annual Financial Report.

WE EXPRESS PROFOUND GRATITUDE TO ALL OF YOU WHO SO GENEROUSLY HELPED ACHIEVE THIS  WONDERFUL GOAL OF SERVING THE MAYAN PEOPLE OF GUATEMALA FOR HALF A CENTURY.
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This website will be maintained indefinitely and even added to periodically with new  Historical documents & photographic reports  coming from an ongoing effort to research the details of this long and interesting history.
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SPECIAL EMAIL "GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY" NEWSLETTER with message from Johnny & Lenore Ashby, & Report on NAJQUITOB SCHOOL PROJECT
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Boletin en ESPAÑOL-- "EL ANIVERSARIO de ORO," 
Con mensaje especial de Johnny & Lenore Ashby y Reportaje del PROYECTO NAJQUITOB

OUR HISTORY WITH THE NAJQUITOB VILLAGE & SCHOOL
THE KITCHEN PROJECT for the  SCHOOL HAS  BEEN INAUGURATED
By Cordell M Andersen, Executive Director

Let's begin our GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY, which is today, August 19th, when in the afternoon of that Saturday in 1967 --THE ANDERSEN FAMILY PRIVATE PEACE CORP, crossed the border into Guatemala to begin what TODAY, is 50 years of continuous and dogged effort to help the Mayan peoples of Guatemala--but let's begin orienting everyone with Google Earth we see below showing UTAH on the north, and GUATEMALA, 3,000 miles to the south--actually just 1,200 miles from McAllen, Texas.
GUATEMALA, 
The "Land of Eternal Spring," the "Land of the Mayas"
 is half the size of Utah, or about the size of Ohio.

Above showing the entire country of Guatemala, plus El Salvador to the south, I've inserted labels for primary areas of our activity:  COBAN , in the Department of ALTA VERAPAZ, actually in the very center--or the heart--of the country; PATZICIA & the CHULUC VILLAGE, plus many areas in the Central Highlands where we have had projects, like Patzun, the Saquiya Village & Las Mercedes, Chuinimachica, and many more;  then the ANCIENT CITY OF IZAPA, just over the border into Mexico;  and GUATEMALA CITY.......out of which I had to work for a few years during the height of the Guerrilla War.....and even a little south in El Salvador, where we had a project on the shores of Lake Coatepeque helping a whole bunch of little half naked poor children all get an education--some right up to the university level.

We now zoom in on the heart of ALTA VERAPAZ where we lived for almost all of the 35 years of continuous residency in the country.
 Primary areas being:  VALPARAISO, SANTA CRUZ VERAPAZ & villages, like, Najquitob, Chiquiguital, Pambach, Acamal and all the 33 villages in all of which we have had projects;  then key areas such as, Chulac, Senahu, Tanchi, & more but which are a bit out of this view.  San Juan Chamelco is included as that is where we began, after the first adventure with Cine Chapinlandia, and  had our first agro-business, the first commercial poultry farm in northern Guatemala, "Granja la Cabana."  Note:  One could say that my "agro-business" activities, such as the poultry farm, then the Valparaiso Plantation, the Victorias Dairy, and last of all the Farm of the Holy Man, shouldn't even be mentioned regarding the non-profit Guatemalan Foundation, but it was these agro-businesses that supported me and family for 50+ years and made possible me being a life-long non-paid volunteer director of the Foundation.
 San Cristobal Verapaz is included as is located  there the lake where Dave and me would fish often in the first years, and where a world record black bass tried to grab my lure (27 lbs.), and it was in San Cristobal where I became very involved with the Indian Folklore Festival and acquaintance with special Indian queens:  Marta Elena Hun, Carolina Moran and Norma Laj.
The CHIXOY-SIDON RIVER is labeled as it was mentioned as a prominent geographical feature in the recent archaeological work with Garth Norman--he and I starting the work in 1966 with the night photos of the Tree of Life Stone in Izapa, with work re-initiated recently.

We now zoom in on the key CROSSROAD for the archeaological history of Guatemala, and for our life in Guatemala in PARADISE VALLEY--VALPARAISO, first the plantation & school, and now the community we established in 1981-82
Labeled is the NAJQUITOB VILLAGE which is the main theme of this historical post.  One can see it's geographical location up the mountain from Valparaiso.  Visible today is a road connecting Valparaiso to the village, but which for the first years was just a slippery trail, until we cooperated with the villagers and the municipality building a road up through our property and on to the village.  It was first just for 4 x 4 drive vehicles, eventually improved, and you will see in the photo/essay  Federico's 1983 Toyota pickup that made many trips up that road.  Even now, there is BUS SERVICE into the village areas, using microbus vehicles.

Now zoom in more on the Najquitob Village as it is today showing the 
government school in the very center of the picture.

NOW, FOR THE HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE OF TODAY, WE'LL INSERT BELOW THE
 SUCCESS STORY photo/essay -
- after which we'll show the history of the KITCHEN PROJECT...the 2nd to last project of the Foundation in Santa Cruz Verapaz
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HIKE UP THE MOUNTAIN
In 1968 Cordell was advised of many sick and dieing children in the Najquitob Village, 2 miles up a slippery trail into the mountains south of Valparaiso (Paradise Valley).  In a census he had taken at Valparaiso he learned that 4 or 5 little boys from Valparaiso sporadically attended the government school in the village.  So when a parent with a very sick child came and begged him to make the hike, off he went.



He got there too late to save the child.  As happened so often in those first years the parents would first try their local remedies, then resort to the local "shaman" or medicine man, and when all was failing they would come to Cordell.  Sometimes it worked, but too many times it was too late.

On that first hike he visited the government school and took a few photographs that somehow over the years have escaped being ruined by the fungi that usually ruins quickly things like slides. Note:  They are medium format, 2-1/4" square slides in glass mounts sealed with time and can't even be undone and had to be professionally scanned at Allens Photo.  We see below the government school.

There were two teachers, and about 15 students--no girls.  The  school was constructed exactly like their homes:  Mud walls, and dirt floor.  No windows. The male teacher was Zoel Gomez who later was employed as the first paid teacher at the Valparaiso school.


The project to help the Najquitob Village was on--and quite a challenge, while at the same time it was a daily struggle to try and solve the life and death problems down in the valley--Paradise Valley.  

In the first 2 years many more hikes were made up the slippery trail to Najquitob to treat the sick.  Another was to pursue and capture the members of a "family mafia" that was able to influence some of the children taken in at the Central House and were stealing.  Two adults went to jail.  The 3 children were given to Cordell by the Justice of the Peace and remained under a sort of  "house arrest" in the Central House as part of the "family" that one visitor called "THE MOB!"  

Several other trips up the mountain were made in armed pursuit of Ladino cattle rustlers that were finally captured and sent to jail.

Eventually, about when the Foundation was organized in December 1969, Valparaiso and the people of Najquitob dedicated themselves to the task of building a 4 x 4 road.  With that done work began on building a school--first two classrooms, and then another.  By 1980 another one was added on, along with a 3 hole outhouse.



By then there were 80 enrolled with about 50 children attending, including quite a few girls. The years rolled on with continual cooperation helping the village evolve.  By 2004 there was need of a much larger facility and so we all went to work helping.  By then they had a much improved potable water system, and INDE, the government agency had installed electricity to the village.  The road the Foundation and the Plantation helped build had been improved and even a very small used school bus from the U.S. made the trip to the village twice a day.



 The next step was to replace the 25 year old 3 hole outhouse with flush toilets and a septic system--the first in the village.  At the same time we cooperated with the village to build them a new kitchen that was needed desperately for the exploding population that is around 400 to begin 2011.



Below is an incredible scene--3 of the 10 teachers having lunch in the kitchen. Two of them, plus one of the male teachers are from Najquitob, graduates of the school you have seen evolving.  They went on to become certified teachers and are back serving their own people.  Go back and compare this with the beginning. If you aren't amazed and excited about helping more, we of the Foundation have failed at painting this wonderful picture.




WOW!  Is about all we can say, especially if you remember the beginning.



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IN SUMMARY: 

THE JULY-AUGUST 2017 KITCHEN PROJECT
Due to constraints of time the following pictures will mostly be shown with no caption information, as each of you can imagine what is the story line without my interference.  Above is seen the small kitchen we built for them in 2011, along with the flush toilet/sanitary facilities--first & probably still the only such in  the village.  

But explosive growth soon had them expanding outside to prepare the daily nutritional supplement--and now the project to help them a little more.




Federico supervising constantly the work.






















MANY SUCH TRIPS MADE BY FEDERICO WITH HIS OLD TOYOTA 
(but with a new diesel motor he himself financed),
 & HE STILL HAS NOT REQUESTED ANY TRANSPORTATION HELP FROM THE FOUNDATION!









Above the Mayor of Santa Cruz Verapaz speaking to the group at the inauguration




Aura Andersen, my adopted daughter, represented me at the celebration.

Federico Veliz Pacay, our volunteer Regional Director, speaking at the celebration.  It was here at Najquitob, when the first phase of our help was inaugurated--their first school with a cement floor--when I first met Federico, who then was a teacher in the remote Pambach Village School. That began a 42+ years of working together on such projects, he doing so always as a non-paid volunteer out of love of his country and people!  WOW!

The ribbon cutting ceremony.












Always with the traditional DIPLOMAS recognizing and thanking the Foundation, and Federico for helping the village.


Federico's home is like a museum full of such diplomas and awards for his life-time of service to his people and country.

So, we bid an affectionate farewell...better "hasta luego" to the people of NAJQUITOB.
I say "hasta luego" as ending the Foundation is sort of like when my full-time LDS mission ended in 1958.  I could not forget, nor stop being involved in important ways with these people--and so, on my own, I will continue as I can--by reducing my daily intake of Mt. Dew some I easily come up with $30/month, and if there are those among you, like me, keep in touch and send a little help that I will add to mine and persist in helping those of 
"my--our-- people"
 in need for as long as I'm alive!
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NEXT UP:  The Acamal Kitchen Project....
..... that is underway as seen below, and will be reported on here when finished & then in September there will be a last Newsletter printed and sent to those who are contributors this year.  We will continue to support the Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc School until December, then end with a report on the website for 2017.


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PLEASE HELP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN UNTIL AUGUST 31st.  THANKS!
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