Saturday, March 31, 2018

Where education has the flavor of Vanilla

The first thought I had once in Nueva Mercedes was that I have never seen such a place full of life and connection with nature. The village is literally immersed in the forest covering the hills surrounding the valley, and here the daily habits of 70 families are kept in time.

In this context Li Ch’utam is working with the youth bridging the amazingness of the colors and flavors of the Polochic Valley with the external opportunities deriving from the education, helping them to invest in their future.

Almost finished!

The realization of the IT & Knowledge Centre best represents this goal, and it is finally ready after 10 months and a very struggling but satisfying March. Since the last update, indeed, electricity has been completely cut off for three weeks compromising the construction works, and the finishing material delayed more than a week. Notwithstanding, everything is now going on the right direction and the 7th of April the inauguration will take place. The founders, the board members, the local volunteers and the families of Nueva Mercedes together with the most important donors will be reunited to start at best.

We already started to work at the centre!

The occasion of the inauguration created the good condition to reinforce the collaboration between Li Ch’utam, the community, the people part of the projects and the local authorities. All the village of Nueva Mercedes, together with the students part of the scholarship program, indeed, are willing to do their part! The women will cook the traditional chicken soup and every family offered to contribute how they can with chicken, rice, chocolate or tortillas. I am very happy about the engagement of the people with the Centre, the projects and us.

                  To sum up these first months, the work with the youth and adults of the communities gradually started. In preparing the activities with the youth, we kept the connection with those of our predecessors therefore we developed and increased the scholarship program, organized extracurricular activities as games, sport, gardening and art with the kids and provided support to the local school. On this last activity, we are focusing more on teaching English since otherwise the students will not have any opportunity to learn it. We planned in addition a series of meeting and workshops with the kids and adolescents.

           Nevertheless, also the involvements of the adults restarted and we have already been able to organise a first meeting with the families part of the scholarship program to discuss with them the importance for their kids to go to school and study. The director of a local school, who has an extraordinary attachment for these communities where he has grown up, held the debate. He strongly believes in education and he wants to support our activities to “leave something for the future of the youth here” as he said. We are planning to develop regular meetings with the parents and adults of the area to face multiple themes.  

Bread-making workshop with women 

Next to it we are setting up as in 2017 the activities with the women. They are willing to learn and discover therefore we restarted a previous workshop on bread and cookies making. The reaction is very positive and the results impressive! We are trying to use the traditional tools for cooking they have at home so that can keep try and cook on their own. 

We took this period to get into the context and know better the people we are working with; I am amazed how wonderful and collaborative they can be. Though flexibility is the keyword to be able to work here and every day there are new issues to overcome, the incredible landscapes and the people with whom I am sharing this adventure make it unique. I am really happy and I am looking forward to fully start with the Centre and all the activities.

We will update you soon on how things are going here!

The vanilla plantation right next to the centre

Extracurricular activity - Art in english with the kids of Nueva Mercedes

Cooking without electricity =)