We wanted to take a moment to update you on some of our current projects, thanks to all the effort from our donors and volunteers!
In Thailand, we have been working on a dental project that focuses on preventative care for children whose parents do not have the means or education to take care of their kids’ dental needs. We have strong support from Ireland where our wonderful former volunteers and a local Irish school are fund raising. We now have a 6 year commitment by one Irish school to help with this project. If any of you have contacts with local dentists, we need dental hygiene supplies and simple educational materials as well as monetary support for the children. We are also continuing to work with environmentalists on water and fowl ecology. The lake/wetland nearby us is a major wintering area for Siberian flocks of rare birds and the local folks are just beginning to understand and take on their relationship of care for the health of the lake. We are continuing to develop a partnership with World Wildlife Federation – a great group of folks. Last year they took us on an EARLY morning boat ride to see an amazing number of birds. Educational materials for kids studying ecology/birds, lake health are all needs and appreciated! Come with Mundo to watch the migratory patterns in Dec through Feb – even more fun! Our uniform drive, supplying school uniforms to low income students, was another success this year. We plan to continue with the project, bring many smiles to young faces
We are fortunate to have two young women volunteering and interning with us, starting this September, who are super excited to help out on these and other projects. (Welcome aboard!) They are Gap year high school grads from a local Portland High School. They will start out in one of the rural schools, doing a homestay and help to teach English through other subject areas like ecology, animal rights and health, later moving on to internships.
In Guatemala, we again helped with a US-based high school trip to Chajul. It was a great experience as always. Amazing kids! While we were there we learned that the little school, CEMIK, that we have been supporting and volunteering in over the last several years had lost its funding. It takes about $3000 to run the school for a year (pays for three teacher salaries and a free meal for about 60 kids each day). We were fortunate to raise the $3000 through our wonderful donors, but we are looking for a permanent solution. CEMIK offers free education to Mayan children whose parents can’t afford to send them to the public school for $25.00 a year. Children learn literacy skills in Ixil and Spanish by learning about Maya history, care of the land, community responsibility and human rights. ANY ideas about a sustaining grant or individual sponsorship for the school is well appreciated!
We also were able to work with a church in California that has selected a local parish we have known as their sister parish. This sounds like an ongoing support opportunity that will help to build the new parish church and support their adult literacy program which was in jeopardy of not being able to continue after 20 years. They are very excited!
In the Chajul area, we met with Michael Ewens of the Ripple Effect in Chel. He has done an amazing job putting in potable water supplies in and around Chel. In addition he hopes to help put an end to the huge problem of malnutrition through growing organic foods and seeds that community members can learn to grow in their own home gardens. We hope we can put some volunteer hours in and help him out in the fight for a better life in the Aldeas of Chajul. An amazing opportunity to work with some of the most humble Mayans I have met.
We are hopeful to help out at a boarding high school in Xix where adolescents from the surrounding alders can come to learn a trade and complete their secondary school training.
So, there are many ways to help out. Fundraising for specific or general projects, connecting with grant opportunities, contacting dentists and ecologists are just a few examples. We hope to see more volunteers in both Guatemala and Thailand. Young, old and in-between to come!