Monthly Blogger Update - March 2012

Hola La Esperanza friends,

It’s that time of month again – your Blogger update from the volunteers! We’re so glad to share with you what we’ve been working on again this month, and have a lot to say. We are getting ready to head off all over Central America with Semana Santa coming, and will have vacations from March 30th to April 10th. Hopefully we’ll return well-rested (tan!) and ready for more work in the schools!

This month, we welcomed two groups who gave quite a hand in the schools. We had a new group from Builders Beyond Borders (B3) in the USA, who also helped us out in February, working on the new technical high school in San Ignacio. Although we have officially opened and have over 50 students currently enrolled in the school, the building was not yet quite complete. The B3 group finished off the construction of 3 final classrooms, one of which was an extra large room for technical courses which will help the students  for future careers. We also welcomed back carpentry students from Montreal, Canada for the fourth year in a row. This collaboration has been a wonderful exchange – providing desk repairs for the underfunded local schools and practical work experience for the students who come down to help. Win-win! A big thanks to both of our groups for their hard work and we hope to see you back soon!

In other news, we’ve continued our work in 4 primary schools – Nueva Esperanza, El Escudo, Jose de la Cruz Mena, and Pablo Antonio Cuadra. As always, we work promoting education and an interest in learning for our young students. However, sometimes life here has other ideas. We constantly battle with poor attendance: an issue that plagues the Nicaraguan education system. This month, we faced a bit of a challenge in Pablo Antonio Cuadra, as the teachers went on strike for three schooldays to protest the firing of the School Director. This put several of our volunteers out of work while the teachers and Ministry of Education figured out a solution.

However, we took the time to reflect on how this type of thing affects the environment and learning of the children, and what our role is in all of this. Normally, we have to worry about the kids not coming to school, not the teachers. There was no news, only rumors, as to when school would resume. The kids came every morning to see if maybe they would have classes that day. This abrupt interruption is detrimental to the kids and education as a whole, and emphasizes the need for better communication.  However, here it was the kids who suffered. While Nicaragua is making progress, these interruptions are unfortunately still a reality. We must work hard to improve and maintain good communication, and most of all, make sure the students are getting the best education possible, which is why we’re here after all!

In other news, we also had a generous donation from 2 volunteers who left us this month, Graham and Joan, from Canada. They took part in our Families for Families program, making a donation to rebuild the home of a local family in need in the San Ignacio community. We use this program to reward good attendance.  When we have a donor every student with perfect monthly attendance gets put into a raffle, and a name is drawn at random as the winner for the home repairs. Thanks to their donation, Franklin from Nueva Esperanza primary school won improvements for his family! The family of 6 (2 parents and 4 children) were living in a one-room home, with walls made from black plastic trash bags and old scraps of tin. Volunteers pitched in to construct a new house with wooden walls and put up a new roof from subsidized Government metal, which can hold up against the hot Nica sun and horrible rainy season. Many thanks to our volunteers, and of course Graham and Joan, for all of their work and support!

Just can’t get enough of La Esperanza Granada news? As always, you can get more detailed information at our website www.la-esperanza-granada.org and by giving us a Like on Facebook here! If you’re interested in donating, volunteering, or would like more information on LEG projects, please e-mail us at la_esperanza_granda@yahoo.com and we’ll absolutely get back to you!

Peace,
Colleen K, on behalf of the The LEG Volunteer Team

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