Sunday, June 19, 2016

Event #11: CELEBRATION OF GRATITUDE at The Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc Village School


EVENT #11:  Photo/essay

On Thursday, May 26th, my adopted daughter, Aura, got us tickets for the bus trip to Guatemala City and off we went on the 4 hour trip, but as is so frequent in modern times, she was wrapped up in her own world wih her smart phone  permitting me to get a little sleep!

But, in the middle of the trip as reported previously, when the bus stopped near the Rancho at a nice restaurant.......
..............the amazing coincidental encounter--after 29 years of silence, with old friend & Indian Queen, Marta Elena Hun, renewing  contact through her sister, Lupita--reported in Event #2.......Lupita is pictured below with Marta Elena actually 31 years ago in 1985.

Then continuing on to Guatemala City, the bus taking us to the outskirts--as none of the extra-urban buses are permitted in the city anymore in a measure to help solve the traffic problem....and the difference is notable.  
From there we had to take a taxi across the city to meet Mario and his wife Elena.  Mario de la Cruz is our volunteer Regional Director, who we are helping get through his final year of Law School..
Mario had borrowed a car from a relative to be able to meet all of our commitments.  After finding each other we drove up into the Central Highlands, now on a divided 4 lane highway, and stopped first at a new Mall in Chimaltenango, the capital city of the Department (like a county) of the same name, Patzicia being a part of it. 

So, believe it or not, we are now in Chimaltenango! With PAYLESS SHOES, DOMINOS PIZZA, and of course, McDONALDS......

.......where we headed for some burgers and fries. 

We then proceeded on to Patzicia, 20 minutes to the northwest..... with some special views of Patzicia, which as almost everywhere, has grown a lot and spread all over.  

This view of the city has the Catholic Church in the city center, seems illuminated....

....and we zoom in to see a little detail.  

 Driving into town I clicked a few shots of the local color & culture...

 ......many of the stores have the shelves of goods for sale protected from robberies. So they are NOT "self-serve" stores where you just go around and grab what you want.  

Colorful modern versions of some of the  typical clothing are available too.  Remember it is said that "GUATEMALA IS WHERE COLOR WAS INVENTED!" 

Our first stop for the night is at the home where Mario, Elena and their two children are now living........... 

 ...........a home that belongs to Ellena's brother who lives in the U.S.  

So we were provided with excellent accommodations, this being my room, equipped with cable TV......

....and this is Aura's also with TV.  The bathroom was equipped with hot water, and some fixtures that were more modern than anything I have seen--of course in recent years I haven't been out much! 

The next morning we were invited for breakfast, and had to hurry some as we were expected at the Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc Village School.

 So off we went driving through Patzicia towards the west on the Patzun road.  Visible all over were stores that cater to farmers selling fertilizer........

........and all kinds of things we'll see being used to produce vegetables sold in Guatemala City, and exported to the U.S.  


PEAS--above and below  


CARROTS washed & prepared for market 

CELERY  with a drip irrigation system  


LETTUCE again using the drip system of irrigation 

Five miles outside of Patzicia we come to the school..........

...........the students are waiting for us ready to begin the program. 

It begins with several dances performed by the students.  

I was  then introduced and invited to speak and reviewed some the history of how the school came to be..........

.........that simply was when my parents had passed on, my father in 1983 and mother in 1986, the idea was born of doing a project in Guatemala in their names--as they had been in 1969 the founders of the Foundation, and until their passing were the main contributors. 

 I went on explaining that their friends surprised us by donating $20,000 for the project and it was decided to use it to build a needed school in Chuluc.  So by 1987 the school was finished and inaugurated.  

I continued telling them that since then the  Foundation has helped them in many ways, like when almost all of the children got sick with dysentery--caused by using contaminated water, we treated 34 of them with antibiotics.  

That led to us helping them dig a 55 meter deep  well and developing a potable water system, and also building at that time the kitchen, and the sanitary facilities with flush toilets.........

.........and helping the village with their electricity installation, then the cementing of the patio, and all those years paying one of the teacher's wage, and more.

One of the teachers then presented me with a specially made typical vase, and ........ I was going to sit down, she said, "No, not yet.  There is more."  

She then uncovered a basket-full of vegetables which is a traditional gift they always give--even one time including a live rooster! 

Don Maximo, who in 1986-87 was the village leader who worked with us in building the school, but in recent years became a cripple.  So earlier this year the Foundation got for him an electric cart you see him in having made it from his home on his own. 
 He was asked to speak too, and expressed deep appreciation for the Foundation and its donors for all the help given so generously over now 30 years for his village, and, for having helped enhance his life with "this marvelous electric cart!"   He then humbly asked, "How long am I going to be able to use it?"  I assured him it was his as long as it was useful for him.  

We all had warm feelings of love for this humble man who has dedicated himself unselfishly to his people for many, many years, and thankful that we were blessed with finding him, and his village where it has been possible to realize the dream of effectively helping a worthy and needy people,. 

 And, especially grateful having seen that they themselves generously help their own people--creating a multiplying effect that we pray they will be able to teach all the children who study at the school.  

The festivities were over, except for the traditional  lunch the women had been preparing in the kitchen...........

..............along with the daily nutritional supplement given daily to all the children. The mothers taking turns helping in the preparation........

........this one as often is the case, with her baby on her back. 

The Director of the school then showed us the WATER PURIFICATION ROOM........
.......... explaining that with so many outhouses and animal corrals in the area, they had learned that the water in their well was in danger of contamination, and so had investigated the possibility of purifying their water..........

..........and found a Church group from California who were looking for a needy project, and won their support in installing a very good system you see here.............

.......the end result is pure water coming out of their taps.......


We then went in the office to say goodbye and noticed that the picture of my parents hanging on their wall had I promised to get to them a new picture--like the insert you see above.  
  And, today, FATHERS DAY, June 19th, I honored my father & mother, by transferring funds to Mario, and to Aura, in Alta Verapaz, so they can print this picture--I sent via email, and have it framed and hung in the appropriate places:  Here at Chuluc, also at the Valparaiso School, and another in the Valparaiso Community Hall, along with an explanation that without them little or nothing would have been accomplished here in Guatemala over these 50 years.

 it was good to also see in the office the computer & printer we had acquired for them as a donation from Humberto, the previous  Director of the Private School we operated in Patzicia for 32 years.

So, we said our goodbyes to the children, and of course had a series of photo shoots as you see above and below. 

Last of all an emotional "HASTA LUEGO," to our old friend & brother Don Maximo.
EVENT #12:  Photo/essay

No comments:

Post a Comment