Friday, March 18, 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Thursday March 17, 2016

Day 5: last day on site

Today was the last day on site and despite knowing that it was the last day with the children, we maintained our positive attitudes. Teresa graciously offered us a tour of the community and we were permitted to experience various environments and levels of poverty. Everyone had developed a solemn mood because even though we saw smiling faces, our eyes would still look behind that and see the effects that impoverishment had on the families. 

During the walk, we learned about eco stoves and how the old open fire stoves were causing not only health problems but environmental problems as well. For the past few years Teresa has been trying to replace these detrimental old stoves with the eco-friendly new ones. We got to learn the stories of the people we visited and Mrs.Mangat (as well as the rest of us) made a connection with a grandma that was living alone. Meeting her definitely inspired us even more to continue doing what we are doing. 

When we got back from the walk, our group was instructed to aid with the concrete roof. Despite the fact that not everyone could help with the roof, they all still found a way to contribute by practising Math with kids. After we ate lunch, the entire group got to interact with the kids, play games, read, complete puzzles and speak with Teresa about social problems prevalent in the country. We noticed once again while playing the games that some of the kids were extremely bright and sharp minded. Afterwards, we led them through some planned activities such as "Musical Chairs", "Four Corners" and "What time is it Mr.Wolf?". 

We thoroughly enjoyed the time with the children and exchanged thank you cards with them. We got some in return and said our goodbyes, hoping to return to the centre. 

Before going back to the hotel, Teresa kindly offered to take us into her home. It was incredibly beautiful and she had very welcoming dogs and a parrot. We walked around and talked with Teresa about Guatemala, Antigua and many other things. We said goodbye to Teresa and headed over to the hotel. 

After showering and changing, we headed over to Fernando's for dinner. We had a great dinner and Fernando and his wife joined us for a delicious desert before giving us a tour of his chocolate and coffee factory. We got to try a kakao bean and a chocolate covered kakao bean. We learned a lot about the quality of chocolate and coffee and Fernando was extremely well versed in the trade. It was all in all very informative and interesting. After saying goodbye and thanking Fernando, we left for the hotel aiming to retire early due to the Pacaya Volcano hike the next morning.  

Panorama Ridge Student
DWC Volunteer
Guatemala March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Wednesday March 16, 2016

Day 4: Finishing the murals and working on the kitchen roof

Volunteering at the centre today truly gave us a sense of accomplishment. We finished the library mural and felt so proud that we were able to leave such a significant message with this community.
Stencil for the mural.

Jeev working on a mural stencil.

Gurs cutting out stencil for the mural.
Mrs. Mangat using the stencil

Close up of Mrs. Mangat painting the inspirational words

Angela painting the libray wall.
Finished work!

In terms of the construction project we were setting metal rods which will serve as a forum for the cement to be poured on. We are super excited to continue with the construction and hope that we will complete the roof of this kitchen by the end of this trip.

Lastly we feel that one of the most favourite parts of this journey has been spending time with the kids. We feel it will be hard to say good bye tomorrow and hope that we will have another awesome day with them tomorrow.
DWC team leader Jen, with one of the local youngsters.
We even found a MacDonalds!

Panorama Ridge Student
DWC Volunteer
Guatemala March 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Tuesday March 15, 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Day 2: wall murals and roof preparation

Today was our second day at the construction site and it is being prepared for a concrete roof that will be installed later this week. In addition to our project our group designed a wall mural. It is a tree design which is on the library wall of the learning centre. We hope that our mural highlights the importance of reading and sends a meaningful message to the children. At 2 when the kids arrived we got the opportunity to play and lead them through some games such as Simon Say and Duck Duck Goose. After that we left the centre to grab a delicious dinner and then spent a couple hours exploring the town.

Jen Baillie
DWC Team Leader
Guatemala March 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guatemala, San Miguel Duenas, Monday March 14, 2016

First Day on the job!

Things went well today for our first day on the site.  The group was really excited to help out where they could with building the new kitchen.  Today was a lot of carrying wood, removing nails and then putting together beams.  In the afternoon we spent time interacting with the kids which was really great.
Group getting orientation in the morning.

Bringing the wood to the work site.

Laying out the beams.

Panorama Ridge team inside the kitchen.

We began our day with a delicious breakfast from the cafĂ© next door called Fernando’s. After some delightful coffee, crepes, omelets and toast we set out to the open windows learning center. We had the opportunity to meet with Teresa (Open Windows Founder) and our entire group was humbled by the meaningful strides she has made in this community. We learned that our assigned project was a kitchen for this learning center and our entire group was highly motivated to contribute in this way.
This center has a portable stove which they have been using as a substitute for a kitchen and our group is excited to help with this project, because it enhances such an integral part of this community. We learned that the cook in this center is a struggling woman, striving to earn enough money to support her family. The founder Teresa is supporting her until she is able to find a job. 
Angela and Mr. Smith working with beams.

Team photo

Jeet, Chalani and Mandeep pulling nails.

More nail work by Gursewak, Jeet and Jeevanjot

Whole team working on salvaged beams.

In terms of the construction we were instructed to organize pieces of wood to a certain length that would serve as the roof for this kitchen. As we were acquiring this wood and collecting the materials needed we were amazed by the resourcefulness of this community. We noticed that the founder of this organization has kept scraps of wood that are reusable. When we visited the yard to pick up these pieces we saw that she also farms chicken and has a community garden. She has incorporated a computer room, activity room and a hands-on library in this learning center and strives to make this community center inclusive.
In the afternoon our group was using snap chat filters which were very popular among the kids in the center. They loved taking pictures with us and we had lots of fun making paper airplanes with them. 
Lastly we went for dinner and had an awesome time shopping as we walked our way back to the hotel. The restaurant had a chocolate museum and we saw a display on how chocolate is made. We had an amazing time exploring the shops and were fascinated by the rich taste of chocolate and coffee.

Jeevanjot Sethi 
Panorama Ridge Student
DWC Volunteer
Guatemala March 2016