Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Break!

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that blog updates on this particular page may decrease this month... but don't you worry. We've got four awesome groups coming from universities in the States to spend a week with us in Chaquijyá:

Vanderbilt - March 2-9
UGA & UNC - March 10-17
UAB - March 17-24

The great thing is, you're going to hear about their experiences straight from them! If you notice at the top of the blog, there are tabs with each university's name on it. We will have a couple of them post almost every day of their stay here, so be sure to check back daily for updates on their projects, culture shock, and exciting adventures.

To give you a brief introduction to what's going down this month:

Vanderbilt will be helping us re-launch a community garden in Cooperativa, working alongside a local organization named CEIBA. They will spend two days in the garden and two days giving nutrition charlas in each of our primary schools.

UGA and UNC will be doing Bottle School related work. Unfortunately, since the bottle school is yet unfinished, they will no longer be painting the new addition as planned. Instead, Esteban is putting them to work on painting other classrooms of the school. Each of the groups will spend two days painting. On the other two days, they will be doing recycled art projects with the kids! We will be making toothbrush/toothpaste holders out of recycled plastic bottles...

Which leads us to UAB! UAB will be providing students with fluoride, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Along with providing these materials, they will also be leading dental workshops.  However, we will be doing this in FOUR of the neighborhoods of Chaquijyá! We are super excited to be expanding our reach to Yaxon and Xibalby for this project. We just met with the director of Yaxon Primaria today (his name is Juan), and he was extremely nice and well-organized. I'm glad that we will able to work with him and his students.

As you can see, we are putting these college kids to work! I'm so excited for all of the projects we are doing with each of these groups. It's even more encouraging to see how they all somewhat relate to each other. Recently, Jess posted about Escuelas Saludables, which is a certification we are trying to help Cooperativa and Central Primarias to achieve. All of these projects ultimately help us in attaining this certification at both schools. As Jess mentioned, the community garden will help students (and the community) learn more about leading a nutritious lifestyle. The recycled art programs (albeit, temporarily) aid with trash disposal. Furthermore, the toothbrush holders will be perfect for the toothbrushes and toothpaste the students receive the following week... which is also a requirement for Escuelas Saludables. Each student must have these items at school and use them each day after snack.

Not only do our college Spring Breakers have the opportunity to volunteer their time on cool short-term projects, but all of them contribute to one of the larger programmatic goals of our organization: the Escuelas Saludables certification. I'd like to say that Ja & I planned it this way on purpose... but I think sometimes things just happen work out for the best. :)

So, here's to Spring Break! We thank you in advance for all the help you're giving us, and we look forward to making some great memories together. See you soon!


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