Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day Four: Maya Center

Leaders of the Day: Eli and Caroline

After awakening to a wonderful breakfast of eggs and fruit, we packed our bags and headed over to the school for our second day working with them. Continuing our two major projects, creating a kitchen and organizing the library, we displayed positive attitudes and great work ethics. The kitchen was originally dirty and worn down, creating an opportunity to improve the building. After re-painting the doors and making new shelves, we made a moulding for the walls to ensure cleanliness of the room and protection from scorpions and tarantulas. With additional help from our guides Erin and Juan, we are very close to completing the interior of the kitchen. The library was originally dirty and unorganized but with the efforts and coordination of almost half of our group, the library has been transformed into a resourceful area for school kids.

We returned for lunch, and then headed back to wrap up a few loose ends with our projects. We had a great time playing with the young kids after they were dismissed for the day, and all came back smiling. We then got on the bus for a half hour bus ride to Dangriga, the nearest large town and home to the closest hospital. We went to a large market, which was surprisingly similar to American supermarkets such as Shaws and Star Market. There we bought supplies for the school kitchen we were building, such as cups, plates, and pots & pans. We had a bit of extra time, so some of us used our money to buy things like soda and candy bars to remind us of home.

We drove throughout Dangriga a bit more and noticed what a contrast there was to the community that we were staying at. In Dangriga, there are large billboards, rows of large shops, and houses that would be luxurious even in the United States. We picked up a stove that Liberato, the principal of the school, had been saving for for almost a year. This stove will be a huge help in making meals for the school children.

After returning to our cabins in the Maya Center, we had dinner with the influential leaders of the Mayan community, Fredrica, Julio and Liberato. There were many lessons about styles of leadership that were learned from talking to these fascinating people. Each one impacts the community in their own special way. Fredrica has an economic and cultural impact on the community by opening stores run by the local women's Co-Op with hand-made Mayan objects for sale made by women from the village. Julio also has an economic and cultural impact on the community by creating a museum of Mayan culture. Liberato is unique, while he impacts the educational system as the principal of the school we are helping. Each of these figures are crucial to the progress and conservation of the Mayan community and were very inspiring to hear from.

Although we toiled through a hot day in the sun, it was rewarding and we look forward to making even more of a difference tomorrow. We miss you a lot!

Eli & Caroline