|The finished jungle gym!|
A public health student myself, I am stoked to work with these girls, and witness the results of their research. My name is Ginny Savage, and I am so lucky to be working as the Summer Intern Supervisor for the next month with Alli Eis. I first came to know Manna while working as a PD with the Guatemala site in 2010-2011, and I have to say, it is very surreal to be back in Sololá. On the one hand, many things remain exactly as I remember: the “twins” Maria Luisa buses still run to Pana frequently, Byron still instructs PE classes with clipboard and matching tracksuit at the ready, and Christian (aka “Lester”) is still the volunteer favorite. However, on the other hand, many things have changed throughout the past three years: Yessica is in second grade, Central has its own Básico, and the Sololá market is now located at the top of a impressively steep hill.
In the past three years, Chaqijyá has certainly grown. Thanks to the joint efforts of community leaders, Manna volunteers, and other partner organizations, the Central neighborhood now has its own middle school, built from soda bottles and trash nonetheless. The aldea still operates a trash collection system, Cooperativa has a community garden, and teachers report more children actively speak English and practice healthy living. Such growth and development are the very reasons for why Manna operates in Chaquijyá. They are the factors that motivate 8 interns to dedicate their summer teaching English and health, and I hope that our efforts throughout the upcoming weeks will continue to bolster this growth. Regular English and Health programs will commence this Wednesday, and both interns and Visage students will post daily updates concerning the classes’ progress, field trips, Guatemala living, etc.