|The school with the decorations.|
The bottle school in Guacachipol is officially done. Thank you to all of you that helped out. Thank you to those you donated money, your time and support during the process. It was a really exciting day to be able to go to the community and not really have any work to do. I was there to have fun and celebrate they can here in Guatemala!
|An inside view. All used with recycled bottles.|
|Chatting with the NGO Hug It Forward and a community member|
As we pulled up in the car with my program manager and the country director of Peace Corps, we saw the new school, freshly painted with the whole community putting on finishing touches, chopping up some chicken, or just checking out the school. I think there may have even been people from other communities there as well, maybe to see the school, to see the construction, or maybe/probably to join in the celebration.
There was a small ceremony where each respective part involved in the project had an opportunity to talk about the school, their roles, and how fun it was, but everyone touched on the theme of relief of the project being done. I was asked to address the gathering of people and tried to keep it short. I made a point of how important it was that everyone worked together, that collaboration and teamwork not only provides projects that benefit children and the future, but, ultimately a stronger sense of community. This sense of community provides so much more in the long run; more collaboration leads to more teamwork and hopefully projects and future successes, and let the school be a testament to their work and collaboration. Also, it was a great opportunity to bring everyone together that was involved in the project. There was the municipality, Peace Corps, the NGO, ‘Hug It Forward’, the community and for the first time, we were all together, finally putting faces to the voices on the other end of the phone and seeing the benefit of all the hard work the we all did.
I am grateful at the opportunity, the faith that the municipality, Peace Corps the NGO and especially the community instilled in me during the process. There was many times where I did not know the answer. I was upfront with the community and other parties from the get go. I had an idea to collaborate with a community to build a school out of recycled bottles. Note that I said, ‘an idea.’ I did not know how to do any of it at the beginning stages. So how was it possible to build this school? This was the importance and the main point of the project. Despite not knowing the exact details, by placing a good team around you of people that do know something about a possible way, anything is possible. It’s all about team work, coming together and collaborating, celebrating the successes and failures, together.
|Outside view. Note:look at the previous blog post to see it before the cement covering.|
In the end, the construction used over 6,500 eco-bricks. Each of those bricks weigh around 1lb each. So about 3.25 TONS of what used to be unusable garbage became a main part in the construction of the school for the community. Cool. By using the technology incorporating the eco-bricks and community help, we reduced costs by about 55% of what a normal two room school would cost if it was privately contracted out to be built.
|Cutting the ribbon with the mayor, a representative from the NGO and the president of the parent association.|
It was a great learning experience. So much of one, we broke ground yesterday on another school due for completion in the upcoming months as well! More to come!
|School children dancing.|
Much love, and always, many thanks for all the support!
|With the team!|