Assistance for Mayan Schools

Paso Por Paso, Orillia, ON, Canada

Improvements for Mayan Village School in Tierra Linda Guatemala

Posted by pasoporpaso on March 12, 2009

Improvements for Mayan Village School in Tierra Linda Guatemala

The Tierra Linda village school committee with the help of PASO POR PASO funds has accomplished much over the past three years (2006, 2007, 20080): new classrooms, new doors and windows, improved lighting and wiring, new kitchen, new ceramic tile flooring, new roof on the original building, new perimeter walls.

New Toilets and Septic System

In 2009 PASO is providing still more assistance. The most urgent project is the upgrading of toilets and septic system before the raining season commences in May. The existing facilities were so badly degraded as to be a public health hazard. Renovations began immediately. PASO’s investment will be nearly $10,000 to do the upgrade.

New doors are being installed to create secure storage areas beneath staircases. There are more improvements to wiring and electrical lighting in classrooms. Board members Fayne Bullen and Catherine Bullen devoted hours to gathering the estimates and prioritizing the repairs.

Since there is no budgeted maintenance allowance for Tierra Linda School, PASO agreed to purchase sixty badly needed school desks to replace broken ones and to increase the supply required by expanding enrollment.

Filling the Supplies Gap

Guatemalan government funding to schools was seriously delayed this year because of policy changes. Those delays set back school opening by a month, and even then no funds had arrived by early February to provide books and school supplies.

Orillia’s St. Paul’s United Church congregation responded to a last minute appeal. $700 was collected the Sunday before a group from the church embarked to visit Panajachel. PASO made these funds available through the local Mayan Families charity in Panajachel to fill the gap and supply Tierra Linda teachers and pupils with paper, pencils, photocopying.

This story illustrates the PASO POR PASO (step by step) process of helping inaccessible Mayan villagers.

Future School Needs

A priority will be the reinforcement a foundation wall and security fence on the south side of the playground court. Spring rains will affect the neighbouring property and threaten to further undermine the edge of the court.

Soon the school will need one or two more classrooms to accommodate increased attendance in the Tierra Linda School.

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Paso Por Paso Funds Tierra Linda School Improvements

Posted by pasoporpaso on March 12, 2009

Volunteers at work on new classrooms

Tierra Linda village is experiencing big changes. Local leader say their poor village has been mostly forgotten by Guatemalan authorities. PASO POR PASO’S arrival two years ago is opening new possibilities for children, women and families.

This year Orillia Ontario’s PASO is undertaking more major improvements to the village school. Last year (2007) PASO provided doors and windows to complete two classrooms before rainy season. In April village volunteers, helped by PASO funds, added two more new classrooms to the aging and over-crowded school. This spring ( 2008 ) work is nearly complete on cleaning and paving the play area, tiling classroom floors and finishing the much needed kitchen.

When PASO directors visited the school in February 2008, they decided with school leaders that the 35 year old roof must be replaced. Work is currently under way.

Tierra Linda clings the mountain ridge a thousand feet above Panjachel and a rough forty minute ride from Lake Atitlan on a road that peters out topping the ridge. Here nearly 2000 villagers subsist on corn and vegetables cultivated by hand labour on a shelf of mountain terraces and garden plots. The village is still quite isolated, the foot path down the mountain too perilous and arduous for most, pick up rides infrequent. Nevertheless opportunities are opening.

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