Saturday, July 7, 2012

SUMMARY of Julie Memorial Project and NEW NEWSLETTER


on Friday, July 13th with Professor Federico Veliz representing the Foundation
and Aura Andersen representing the Andersen Family.  Details with photographs
and a new YouTube Video forthcoming.

NEW NEWSLETTER:  VOICE Update #5-July 2012

Julie Memorial Project finished--Inauguration scheduled--Project Reports 

SUMMARY and UPDATE - June 30, 2012 

On February 22, 2012 the Guatemalan Foundation's "first volunteer," Julie Andersen Versteeg, suddenly passed on.  At 10 years old in 1969 she plied the muddy trails of a remote area of Guatemala helping her father do his best to save dozens and dozens of sick and dying Mayan-Poqomchi Indians.  She  then volunteered to begin teaching 6 little  barefoot children whose fathers had been convinced that education was their only hope.
That small beginning by today has grown to a school with over 400 students on the elementary level in the mornings, and  80 teenagers on the junior high level in the afternoons--unheard of in rural Guatemala.  When Julie's life suddenly ended she was still working as a "volunteer," a trustee of the Foundation whose organization she helped inspire.
On Julie's passing donations were accepted from family, friends and admirers to construct in her honor at the school a new classroom as well as a remodeling of the school kitchen.

Below I will insert a few photographs to summarize  the 42 year history using small images, ending with the enlarged UPDATED photographs that are all new.  To see the entire updated history as shown in previous posts click on ENTIRE HISTORY at the end of the updating or Summary.  The inauguration will soon be held and with its photographs a YouTube video will be produced.
Valparaiso, Guatemala - 
The evolution of education from 1968 to 1980.  Julie is seen  in the upper right teaching the first children.

The Valparaiso Community and School - 1981-82

The original school inaugurated in 1982 with Army protection from guerrilla attack


Another building and 3 more classrooms by 2000

2010 - Valparaiso Junior High School

Growing need for another expansion 

"The Julie Memorial Classroom" goes up  between the original building and the kitchen.

The wood treated for termites.  Ready for the windows and door

On to remodeling the kitchen.

The walls will be raised, the wood stove and pila rebuilt.



The School's Director smiles a hearty thanks to the Foundation and its donors that made so much possible over so many years.

This is the tail end of the project--a shed for storing firewood for the school kitchen.

 This is the lower portion of the several acre parcel of land that was donated to the municipal government for the school in 1981.  Some unforgettable historical moments are tied to this section  of what was the Valparaiso Plantation.  

 Retired "Teacher-of-the Year,"  Federico Veliz, the Foundation's volunteer Regional Director relaxes for a moment after overseeing another of the Foundation's many aid projects in the Santa Cruz Verapaz area of Guatemala.  He has been our partner in aiding his people for more than 40 years!  Overwhelming to say the least.  Thanks, Federico.

 This is the way Valparaiso was in 1968 when this story was born. 

 This is one of the 39 family dwellings in every one of which sick and dying Maya Poqomchi Indians were found.  40% of their children had died already.

 A partnership was formed with the 240 resident Indians.  Richard, on the left, and David, on the right, with barefoot Ruben in the middle, walk arm and arm down a Valparaiso road--AS BROTHERS.

Julie, being the eldest, but also due to a special interest in caring for the sick, she became her father's nurse's aid.  She started and ended as a nurse.

 At the same time she was the first to begin teaching the children.  Wow, what a seed she planted!

 In the beginning no father accepted sending a daughter to study with Julie, saying, "Mr. Andersen, a girl is only good for making tortillas, and they can learn that at home!"  
As you have seen in the photo teaching the children Julie finally got her first girl student.  Now there are often more girls than boys.

When it was possible to rent 16 mm. movies in Guatemala City we began showing every year a  movie that showed how incredible a woman could be.  it was "INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS," which became Julie's favorite movie of all time.

NOTE:  Give me a few days and I'll have the long version done, in case you are interested. In the meantime you can see the previous long version, clicking below:

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