Tuesday, November 25, 2014


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NEWSLETTER #8 November 2014  + Cover letter 
"You've Kept Up the Good Fight"  and Transitions some called "failures"  
& Newsletter: "Future of Patzicia, New Representarive for Patzicia, &
Chiquiguital & Valparaiso Projects"
Note:  Except for the Cover Letter, many more details & photos are in the photo/essay below.

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By Cordell M. Andersen 
"All things temporal, sooner or later, come to an end." 

Such is the case with what we have called  recently,The Patzicia School. Officially it has been the Andersen School for  about 30 years. Originally in 1976 it was the John Paul II School, and many from Patzicia have continued to call it that until today, which doesn't bother me as it was never my idea to put the Andersen name on the school..

After a darn good run of 32 years financed by the Guatemalan Foundation (previously The Foundation for Indian Development) it will now close.  For all of those 32 years the Director has been our good friend and brother, Professor Humberto Xicay.  Thousands have studied at the school, many hundreds going on to become successful in many fields of endeavor for which we are proud, and grateful for having played a part in their success.

We express our deepest  appreciation to many who have continually donated over all these years, but especially to three who carried the bulk of the load:  To get our sponsorship started, it was  my father, Dr. Ariel Andersen and his wife and my mother, Ines.  Following them were the Pingree brothers, Toby bringing on board his brother,  Dr. George Pingree,  whose generosity never wavered.  For nearly the last  two decades the load has been carried by my second cousin,  Joe Jensen, whose  gifts have been partially matched by his employer Pfizer Inc through the Pfizer Foundation.


Our work in the Patzicia area will continue under the guidance of a young man, Mario de la Cruz, who  for the last 14 years has been a key influence at the Patzicia School--for a number of years as a volunteer, and in recent years as the School Secretary. Mario,  as a  partner/volunteer with the Foundation we have aided him in getting his higher education achieving his Teaching Degree, and soon he will earn a further degree in Law.  We see him below with the patriarch of the Chuluc Village, Don Maximo, who was the Village leader back in 1986-87 when the Foundation built a school there in honor of my parents who were  organizers in 1969  of what is today the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION.
"Make it the best small rural school in Guatemala!"
For 2015 Mario will be one of the teachers at the School.  The Foundation will pay his wage as we have done at the school for many years.  We will work closely with him in helping the school become a "MODEL RURAL SCHOOL,"  as we have done at the Valparaiso/Rio Frio School in Alta Verapaz.  In addition to working hard to make sure the children of this needy village receive the kind of education that will make possible continuing  their education on graduation from 6th grade,  we will help those interested and qualified to do so as it will require travel daily to and from Patzicia.


It started with the people from Chiquiguital Village requesting help from the Foundation through our representative, Professor Federico Veliz (Pacay).  He presented a plan to the Foundation and with the villagers, unanimously willing to work hard doing their part, the project was set in motion.
  Federico hauled in his 1987 Toyota 4x4 pickup the materials to the end of the road, and teams from the village hauled on their backs the construction materials to their village--a 2 hour hike over mountain trails as you see above.

The Foundation, through Federico, employed the necessary skilled labor to build an addition to the school, doubling the number of classrooms, rebuilding the sanitary facility, and helping to rebuild homes of 4 very needy families...two of them widows, which will be reported on later.

The construction was finished in record time, and the date of the inauguration set for October 15th.

The hard working women of the village got up early on the 15th to begin preparing a special luncheon for the visiting authorities and all the villagers.  We see them below to the left.
The humble people of Chiquiguital are a very religious people and began the celebration with a mass in the Catholic Chapel, accompanied by music from the National instrument, the marimba.

Next the visiting Catholic Priest blessed the new construction, while the villagers moved the marimba and other instruments outside to the porch  of the new building in preparation for the program.

Village leaders and visiting authorities spoke to the group and then a series of presentations were made to Federico, representing the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION, to express gratitude to him, the Foundation and all its donors who made possible this project.....to bless the growing group of school students. 
 Education for a time was stagnated in Chiquiguital due to the original school  being burned down by the insurgency in the 30 year long Guerrilla War which ended in 1996.

One of the presentations expressing gratitude was made by a young lady, a student in the school, and a letter of appreciation was signed by the village and municipal leaders and was given to Federico for the Foundation.

A plaque was unveiled on the wall of the new school building expressing gratitude to Foundation leaders..

Then all visiting authorities, school personel and village leaders sat down for a traditional lunch.  The women and children also had their fill of  SACIC....a thick corn gruel, heavily spiced, with turkey meat, and corn tamales.

 IN Santa Cruz Verapaz, Alta Verapaz.

The history of education in Paradise Valley began in 1968 with the showing of educational movies in an old warehouse on the Valparasio Plantation;  Next an adult literacy and Spanish class for the employees after work each week day was held in a feed storage room;  Then Julie Andersen between 10-11 years old began a little class with 6 barefoot Indian children that eventually evolved into a  formal private school authorized by the government;  It grew to 110 students in 0-6 grades, and in 1980 with the help of the Foundation for Indian Development, participated in the Departmental Parade in Coban and won First Place from Guatemala's President Lucas.  By then adult literacy classes were going forward for the women.

But, in 1981 the Guerrilla War invaded Alta Verapaz and made it unsafe for the Andersen family and the Foundation's educational projects to continue.  A several acre property was donated to the government by the Andersen Family for the construction of a school that would be run by the government with protection from the Army.  The Foundation donated the building materials, the good people of Valparaiso and Rio Frio donated labor and a new government school was born, and inaugurated  in 1982 with  Israeli uniformed and armed Guatemalan Army soldiers guarding the perimeter against attack.

Over the years the school grew and the Foundation helped the people construct more classrooms, and then it continued to grow and more classrooms were constructed on the lower level along the river.

Over the 32 year history of the school (to 2014), more projects and improvements were made with help from the Foundation and its donors.  Like the Julie Memorial Classroom, built in 2012 in her honor as the "First volunteer," and "First teacher" in Paradise Valley.  The school kitchen was rebuilt at that time.

Each year the Foundation has distributed school supplies to all the children at Valparaiso, and to as many as 6,000 rural students in the village schools of Santa Cruz Verapaz.

Then several years ago, spearheaded by our Regional Director, retired professor Federico Veliz (Pacay), a Junior High School was organized and set up to function using the same school facilities, but in the afternoons.  It has grown to 97 students this year, students coming from the 7 villages that surround the school, one even from the far off Chiquiguital Village featured above.

But with all the growth and use by elementary students in the morning, and junior high school youth in the afternoons, there was crying need for improvements--for example with the worn out, and inadequate sanitary facilities we see above, built in 1982.  It was so bad that most students rather would seek seclusion in the thick underbrush along the river for their needs.

Federico studied the needs with the Improvement Committee and teaching staff and began helping the community organize to make needed improvements, getting as much help from government agencies as possible, like for new sanitary facilities

We started with a needed secure storeroom for the kitchen and school needs, then a retaining wall creating a first level courtyard, next a long stairway down to the lower level classrooms, and new sanitary facilities.  Next a drainage system to control the torrential rains coming off the upper level buildings.  Last of all washing facilities all around the restrooms.  Inauguration of all these projects was set to coincide with graduation and the end of the school year on October 30th. The progress of all these constructions can be seen in previous posts.

The children, and many parents gathered on October 30th.  Graduates from Kindergarten, and from Sixth Grade were all given diplomas.  Then it was time for the inauguration of the GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION'S projects, with our Regional Director, Professor Federico Veliz, and representing me, my daughter, Aura Marina Andersen, seen below.

To the left Federico is speaking to the gathering.  In the blue jacket is, Alfredo Isem Quej, Director of the Valparaiso/Rio Frio School.  Next to him is one of the  teachers.  To the right, Julio Poou Chen, from the Chiquiguital Village School Board, presents Aura a nice engraved plate expressing gratitude to the me and the Foundation for having helped in the projects in his village.

It was then time to visits the projects, first  storage room, cutting  the ribbon and using the key to open the door, the key then presented to the Director of the School, afterwhich they inspected the nice secure room that now will soon be filled up with supplies of the nutrition program, and other needs of the school.  To the left below we see the nice wall, with its iron safety structure to keep the children from climbing and falling.  Then we see it from down  below, and observe Federico, the teachers and visiting authorities coming down the stairway.

Down on the first level we observe the new restrooms, and washing sinks, as well as the drainage gutter coming down from the first level.

Foundation representatives, teaching staff and visiting authorities were then invited  into one of the classrooms and served a traditional luncheon..."SACIC with turkey and corn tamales."

A plaque was installed on the wall thanking Foundation representatives for having helped  in these projects during the 2014 school year.

Our representatives couldn't leave the school without getting for me a picture of the caretaker's two sons....the youngest having been saddled down with a name of he who they  call his "God father."  

Federico and Aura then visited the home we built earlier this year for the three orphan children who we see working at cleaning up a problem recently caused by torrential rains.

Then a visit was made to one of our old Valparaiso friends--CHAVELA, who for many years lived with us at the Central House with her two daughters, Marta and Elvira.  She lives off of profits from sales  from her tiny store in the front of her home. Towering over her is David, Chepina's son, who I raised for his first 30 days, and then Chepina survived and took over, and it looks like he is becoming a GIANT!.


We will first finish the year with two Christmas projects 

1.   For the neediest of the needy in Santa Cruz Verapaz giving each a Christmas gift...something of great usefullness  for them.  These will be the blind, the deaf, the crippled, the widows, and the elderly who are alone.

2.  To begin a NEW ERA IN THE CHULUC VILLAGE at the Ariel & Ines Andersen School, we will cooperate with the parents and villagers in celebrating Christmas with a party complete with simple gifts for each child, and a luncheon for all.

We will  then begin accumulating funds for our first 2015 Projects

1.    The School Supplies Project for the rural schools in Santa Cruz Verapaz, and for the Chuluc School... we.will kick off the New Year and the beginning of school with this project, and make sure all the children have the school supplies they need to immediately begin the learning process.

2.  At the same time, begin with Mario de la Cruz, our new challenge at the Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc Village School....paying his monthly wage, and step by step improve the school to make it the best small rural school in the country.

3.  Then in Santa Cruz Verapaz, in accordance with funds available, begin attending to the most worthy and urgent projects in the villages with emphasis on helping the schools improve and be the best they can be.


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