Envisage International is spending one week in Guatemala building an elementary school in the community of Patzalam Choacaman through School the World. We’ve partnered with IvyWise and Flywire for a combined total of 21 volunteers. Read on to hear our story unfold as a school is built.
Day 4: Each morning on the drive to the school everyone is productive in their own way: applying sunscreen, snacking on fruit, or organizing their work bag for the day. However, the most productive of the bunch during those 30 minutes has been Ramez. Every day Ramez jumps into the passenger seat of the van with a pen and paper and learns as many Spanish words as possible as he speaks with our driver, Otto. Now in the fourth day he’s able to carry full conversations with the children and other members of the community.
As we arrive at the school on day four the Spanish lesson for Ramez stops and we all head down the hill to the school site. The children of Patzalam, Choacaman have perfected the skill of giving a warm welcome- that morning each female volunteer was met with a hand-made flower headband constructed from paper and paint. We took it as an opportunity to speak and take pictures with the children before our work projects were assigned and started working away.
Bright blue paint joined the already pale-yellow walls and as we painted we were divided into groups to tour a home within the community. Each group had a unique experience during the visits, but the consensus was that it was a humbling experience.
During one tour we started in the kitchen where we helped make tortillas and place them on the wood burning stove. Some had more luck than others as we threw the dough from one hand to the other, mixing just enough water in to keep it from sticking to our hands, and hoping to get it thin enough without tearing. The thinner the tortilla, the better the cook.
We then moved to the bedroom which housed clothes, shoes, daily necessities and multiple beds made of wood and blankets. A wooden ladder propped up against a small crawl space in the ceiling lead us to the attic where corn covered the floor to dry. Outside the bedroom a small hall lead us to a room that housed what appeared to be a large fireplace with a wooden bench and metal bucket inside. The host family explained it was a bathing and birthing room. Behind the house was a covered open-air room where they washed dishes and did other daily tasks. Horses, cows and chickens completed the breathtaking view of the mountainous countryside that was their back yard. Each of the volunteers had an eye-opening experience seeing what daily home life was like in Patzalam Choacaman.
The rest of the day was filled with soccer at recess, followed by mixing more concrete and painting the school both inside and out. We raced against the clock to get as much done as possible before waving adios to the children as we drove away down the gravel road. Day four was complete and we looked forward to returning for day five.
Make sure you keep updated as we work to complete the school. Visit our blog daily or find us on social media via #EICSchoolTheWorld2018 and #EnviFlyWiseSTW.