One of my roles as the Communications & Promotions Volunteer for La Esperanza is to visit the work sites and take photos of what might be going on. Today was special in that there were so many different projects happening in the Nueva Esperanza community.
First stop was to visit volunteers Bridget & Stefan (from Germany) and Peter (from the United Kingdom) who were building a new house for a family. Every year, the students that have met their academic goals and have successfully kept up their attendance, get entered into a lottery to receive home repairs or a new home for their family. The Sevilla Mercado family was one of the winners this summer. This family of four includes mother, father and two daughters. One of the girls is in 5th grade at Nueva Esperanza and the other is enrolled in special education courses at Vicente Paul School. When we visited, the family and their friends were helping the volunteers by laying concrete blocks and rolling wheelbarrows full of materials over to the house. The mother of the family was beaming as she watched her new home come to life before her eyes.
Then I headed back to the school for my main mission of the morning - to size the students for uniforms with my fellow volunteers and the ayudantes. This was definitely a good test of my knowledge of numbers in Spanish. Thirteen numbers per student were called out to me for transcription - 7 measurements for each set of pants and 6 for each shirt. The kind tailor, Luis, that I was working with was very patient with my Spanish and made sure to double check that all my "sesentas" were 60s and my "setentas" were 70s in my notebook. When we were done with all the measuring, Luis took the list of sizes with him where he will personally sew each uniform to fit the new high school student. These new uniforms are just one part of what a scholarship covers when a student is sponsored by a generous donor. We do have a dozen more students who still need to be sponsored this year in order to go on to high school. If that might be something you could consider doing, please contact La Esperanza if you'd like more information on the scholarship program.
When we finished sizing, I got a few minutes to chat with students visiting from Westfield State University in the United States. This is the school´s sixth trip out to Granada to serve with La Esperanza. Currently they are working on a project to build a new classroom at the Nueva Esperanza primary school. This is not work for the lighthearted – they were diligently digging holes, carrying large buckets of water, and painting beams in the hot sun. It will be excellent when the project is finished to have more spaces for the children to learn in.
In addition to all the special projects going on, the hard-working volunteers were busy conducting summer school classes at the school. The volunteers and ayudantes who had put together their lessons prior to the classes this morning, were carrying them out. One project of particular interest to the students this morning was the science lesson on volcanoes. The children created volcanoes that really erupted with the help of a secret ingredient (psst…it was vinegar)!
Tomorrow I will be leading a tour (which we offer every week for those interested!) and I know I´ll be proud to take visitors to our school where so much good is being accomplished.
-Blog submission by Jenny Tatum, La Esperanza Communications and Promotions volunteer from the United States - September 2015 to March 2016