Tuesday, August 26, 2014



Click below to see the recommended YouTube video:  

For the Valparaiso School Projects report in English scroll down to the end of the Patzicia report......

In recent newsletters it was mentioned that we had in reserve enough funds to cover the support of the two schools for this year.  A recent review of money in reserve, and the expenses to complete the school year, revealed that we are actually $4,000 short,  SO PLEASE HELP ALL YOU CAN.  
 Remember we need someone, or some organization to commit  to funding  the two schools from 2015 on.  Otherwise this will be the last year for the Patzicia School that we have supported since 1982.
September 9, 2014 
PATZICIA SCHOOL REPORT....scroll down for details
This montage of the Foundation's Patzicia School begins at the top with photographs from the Annual Fair Program showing the two cultures:  The "Ladino"  on the left, and then the Maya-Caqchiquel.  Scroll down to see enlarged the photographs from the montage, plus others to give a little more detail.

 We begin with the Annual Fair Program with the mayor's message, and the Maya/Caqchiquel Queen...This is by far the dominant ethnic group in Patzicia and throughout the Central Highlands.

Then comes the two "Ladina"  representatives in the Fair's Royalty.

Here we are viewing Patzicia's Indian Folklore Festival on July 12th in which the new Queen was chosen.  She will participate in the National Indian Folklore Festival at the end of July held each year in Coban, Alta Verapaz.....a  picture of which I'll insert next.

This is the group of around 100 candidates who participated this year in the National Folklore Festival with the outgoing queen in the middle with her crown.  They call the queen "The Daughter of the King," or "La Hija del Rey.... Rabin Ahau" 
Each language and geographic area of the county has its own unique traditional clothing as you see above.  Some have called this event:
 "the most colorful Indian event in the hemisphere." 

The Guatemalan Foundation used to be one of the sponsors of the National event, but then recognized about 20 years ago that we were needed more as the sponsor of Santa Cruz Verapace's Festival and have continued to do that each year.

We begin the school report when distributing educational supplies among the students.

At the same time new shoes were given to the most needy students.  About half of the students are from very poor families and given a full scholarship to study at the school, including providing them with the clothes they need to feel comfortable with their companions.

In preparation for celebration of Guatemala's birthday,  on September 15th,  the school's  Independence Day Queen was chosen.  Above we see the School's  Queen entering  with her gentleman.

The new Independence Day Queen speaks to the students and parents attending the activity.

Simple refreshments are served to all.  Expenditures for these kinds of social activities are covered  exclusively by donations from the children and parents.

During the last month or so all the computers in the Dr. C. Jess Groesbeck were Lab were cleaned and updated,  also as a donation from area technicians we see below. 

At the beginning of this school year the Patzicia School donated two of their 
computers:  One to  the Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc Village School, and another to  our Regional Director from Alta Verapaz, retired professor Federico Veliz.

We are grateful for the work done by these youthful technicians in making our Computer Lab the best in the area.

The Patzicia School's staff, and students, led by our Regional Director, Professor Humberto Xicay, are also involved in doing charitable work among needy neighbors, such as the  aged couple we see below provided often with nutritional supplements, needed medicines, and encouraging visits.
 96 year old Don Francisco resting in their bedroom which is on one  side of their dirt floored home, opposite the kitchen.

His wife, in the corner that is the kitchen,  accepting gratefully a donation of nourishing food from Humberto.  She will put it away in the other part of the kitchen/dinning/living area of their simple one room home. 

93 year old Anna is grateful for the generosity of the School's staff and students who contribute to making their life a little better.

..one generous donor has donated most of the support to make possible the school continuing for the last 15 years.  The people themselves are contributing all they can--from 20-23%, but for 2015 on we need another generous donor or institution to come forward  to help keep the school going.  


August 25, 2014 UPDATE  (scroll down)
Note:  Click below  To see the previous post with:   
  The History of Education in Paradise Valley

INTRODUCTION:  The official inauguration of the 2014 Foundation projects at the school will be held on Guatemala's Independence Day, September 15th.  A few days after that we will make a final summary of the whole project and post it here. In the meantime, let's see what has been done since the last post. 
CORRECTION & UPDATE:  The inauguration of the 2014 Projects will be held at the end of the school year, in conjunction with Graduation & Closing ceremonies--about mid-October.

We begin with a half dozen photographs to review very briefly the history of education in the Valparaiso--or Paradise Valley area of Santa Cruz Verapaz, in the north-central area of Guatemala where all Foundation projects began in 1969..

We see above the cover of a 45 page publication that was done on request from the people of the rural Valparaiso community a few years ago.

Education of the children began when 10 year old Julie Andersen started a tiny class teaching six little barefoot Maya/Poqomchi Indian children Spanish and how to read and write.

The effort grew and multiplied through the last 27 years of the 30 year Guerrilla War, and to the present going through many phases of construction and development with the hoard of elementary school children we see above and below studying in the morning.

And "breathtakingly"  something that just doesn't exist in rural Guatemala...a 
now with the 97 teenage students we see below.

They come from 7 different village areas that surround the school including from the Chiquiguital Village mentioned at the end of this post.

All of this wonderful development has been supervised by the Guatemalan Foundation's volunteer Regional Director, retired teacher, Federico Veliz, we see in the photograph above supervising one of  the projects mentioned in this report, and many previous ones.

In 2012, with the passing of who we call the 
"First volunteer...and Teacher,"   Julie Andersen,
 Federico supervised the project to construct the "Julie Memorial Classroom,"   we see above, and at the same time the re-construction of the school kitchen used for the daily nutrition program, seen below. 

The 2014 projects

Already reported on was, first, a storeroom for the kitchen and nutrition program we see above, that included a foundation and wall  enclosing the upper level of the school  that continues from the storeroom  around to the end of the building where the kitchen is as seen below.

From that point, a stairway was constructed down to the lower level where a large 5 classroom building is found along the river, where also is the play area and soccer field shown in previous posts. 

To hopefully prevent the children from climbing up on the wall and falling, we installed a metal protective structure on top of the wall as we see in the photos below.

To control the large quantities of rain water that drain off the roof of the upper level school  a gutter was constructed down to the lower level.

 With those construction projects finished volunteers from the Valparaiso began cleaning up, and doing a bit of landscaping.  Among the volunteers we recognize one familiar face, that of Miguel Tul, .with whom we had a long history at Valparaiso.

Miguel Tul went through many fascinating phases at Valparaiso, from student in the vocational program.to living for a time at the Central House, and to being an employee, eventually being put in charge of "animal health" for the Las Victorias Dairy we established on the Valparasio Plantation in 1972. He became the only resident from Valparaiso who learned how to check cows for pregnancy and do artificial insemination, and so we dubbed him "Dr. Tul." 
 Eventually he sold some of the property I had given him and his family when we established the Valparaiso Community--sold to the LDS Church, along with 4 others residents, on which property the Church built a large chapel  complex that overlooks the community.

 Sanitary facilities were constructed to replace the original ones built in 1982, and it was decided that washing facilities would be built in strategic locations so all could wash their hands, and wash their dishes from the nutrition program. The first is seen  above to the left, and enlarged below.

Another was constructed between the two sanitary facilities, the construction of which we see in the next couple of photographs.

Miguel and companions are seen digging a ditch for the drainage from the washing facilities.

 The third washing facility was built at the end of the larger sanitary facility that has flush toilets. None of it is exactly like the wonderful restrooms at the American Fork Public Library, where I spend a lot of time lately,   but....let's say, a lot better than nothing and better than any rural Indians have in their homes.  
When we began at the Valparaiso Plantation in 1968, none of the 39 thatch homes had an outhouse.  Their homes sites were "incubators for disease and death!"  40% of the 240 resident Indian's children had died already, and we found more sick and dying in every home, and went to work.

 The last phase of the projects at the school was to provide the storeroom with a shelf unit, to get them started being able to store the food for the nutritional program.

Handsome Junior High students show their gratitude with wonderful smiles.

For those of us who lived this history, it is literally BREATH TAKING to see what has developed over the nearly half a century since it all started, and we thank profoundly each of you who helped make it all possible.....

.....and again I have to say it is "BREATH TAKING"  to see the work done by our Director, Federico Veliz, who has worked with us as a volunteer for 42 years!

He deserves our total support & generosity.

3 classrooms added on to the government school  in the remote....
This is a very isolated area located 2 hours on foot from the nearest road high in the mountains south of the Valparaiso area.  
I got to know this area back in 1974 when for the 2nd time we had cattle rustled.  It had to stop, so with what we could call an armed "posse" we penetrated the mountains  on foot following the trail that went all the way to the Salama area, recently highlighted by Dr. Rand Paul who went on a medical mission there treating many poor Guatemalans with eye problems--shown on KSL TV news last night (Aug. 24, 2014).
By the late afternoon,  after having zig-zagged all over the mountains following leads, we arrived at the Chiquiguital Village and slept that night in the simple government school.  To catch the rustlers and recover our animals we eventually had to give a "tip" to a policeman and drive to Salama and hiked  3 hours hours towards Chiquiguital and Valparaiso, eventually recovering our animals and putting the rustlers in jail.

In 1982 the guerrillas burned down that school we had slept in at Chiquiguital, and for many years the children there had no opportunity for education.  In 2003 parents from the village lost their patience, and put a sugar cane thatch roof on the walls of the school that had remained, and haphazard classes began for the children.  By 2005 the number of students were out of control and the villagers pleas, with the help of a government teacher, were paid attention to the government Development Council built 2 classrooms.  

Now, 9 years later they need 3 new classrooms and  sanitary facilities, which is our next project already underway  that will cost approximately $5,000.  

The Foundation has provided a portion of that already and construction materials have been ordered and will be delivered to the end of the road at Pancalax on August 29th.  Federico has the villagers organized to begin hauling on their backs said materials so that the construction can begin.  Adventurous progress reports will follow soon.

Please help all you can, as often as possible.

I'll end this post with a photograph of the mountains we are talking about.