The Preschool Project:
I wasn’t involved with the earlier stages of the preschool development story so I am sharing the history of the preschool from info gathered via Kathy, Jim, Bruce and Michelle. I decided to devote an entire post to the story because I did get to be present for the ceremony and see the surprised/excited/happy faces of the children and teacher when they saw the finished preschool.
It is a beautiful example of people near and far working together to provide a safe and comfortable environment for preschoolers to learn in Coyolate.
It all started with the parents in the community. The parents, in a group sort of like a PTA, expressed the need for a preschool.
For the past three years, 25 students with one devoted teacher studied in a wooden shack with a dirt floor and only 17 desks (the other 8 students sat on plywood supported by two tree stumps).
The parents recognized the need. They had done what they could for the preschoolers, but desired a better building and environment. Gerber & Michelle shared the request with some different groups and Bruce (from Coastal Christian) excitedly took on the challenge of advocating back in the States on behalf of Coyolate. Bruce sent out 200 letters and raised over $7000 for building material and the contractor. When everyone gives a little, a lot can be accomplished!
The community donated the land, the parents donated their time to construction, material was purchased and a contractor was hired with the money from those 200 letters that Bruce sent. Another church donated desks and a youth group donated supplies. This truly was a community effort and that community stretched across time zones, cultures, ages and languages.
Deborah, our artist, sketched out and designed the mural and other volunteers painted with her (a total of 20 hours) to create a bright and beautiful room for the preschoolers.
So very different from their wooden shack with dirt floors. On the day of the ceremony, the parents decorated the school with balloons and streamers and volunteers set up all the new desks. During the ceremony, the preschoolers performed a traditional Mayan dance (so so so so cute!).
I am so grateful to have been able to see the outcome of a year’s worth of work and a wonderful team effort!