CONGRATULATIONS to all the Challengers on our first six Charity Challenges of 2011, biking from Guatemala to Honduras, the inaugural Nicaragua Volcano Challenge, Brazil's Chapada Diamantina Challenge , Guatemala's first Caribbean Kayak Challenge, Perú´s Cerani Pass and Ecuador's Volcano Challenge. Nicaragua's second volcano Challenge is set for 3rd-6th November and the third Guatemala Volcano Challenge dates are set for 27th November -2nd December.

Click on the following for our most recent official project reports for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stoves, kids and pigs in Nicaragua

The first week up in La Cruz has been very eventful and has gone well. In amongst the mud, getting to grips with the local dialect, the inability to get hold of any chimneys and the roaming pigs, we have begun to make inroads.

Especially in getting to know Elena, the community leader, her children and her extended family, which will be important for the project to grow.

For the first two volunteers, Gabriel and Connie, spending time in the community has been an eye-opener and very different from our other projects due to the conditions.

Next week we will have the help of Carla and, future project manager Steve, and we hope to be able to have finished all three of the first stoves and to have made further progress in assessing the kids scholastic abilities.
Connie, who has just finished our first stove, says: “Helping to build the first stove in Nicaragua was quite an experience...

...there was something about a beautiful brick stove standing in the middle of a house built of tree branches and dirt that made me so happy. Seeing how happy the family was throughout the week was well worth all the back pain from the first day!”

Gabriel, who has pioneered our teaching program, says, "the school is very small (a shack would possibly be the right term to describe it) and holds 22 pupils, roughly a third of which attend the preschool (whose classes also take place in said shack). There are more children in the community who don’t attend school…yet!"

Each class holds kids of very varied ages and equally varied levels, and age and level are quite incongruous; the ages in 1st grade (the largest grade) range from six to fourteen years, and quite a few still don't know the numbers between 1 and 10.

Then of course there are the not entirely uncommon visits from the outside, ranging from mothers coming in to check up on their kids and the occasional chicken or pig (yes, pig).

"I can with complete certainty tell you that they are thoroughly great kids. They're fun, playful, talkative and almost surprisingly eager to learn. This last quality was proved to me when on Wednesday, when the teacher cancelled school, six kids showed up with their mothers and asked if I could give classes anyway. What I found out immediately was that, whilst the gaps in their education are evident and substantial, they do catch on surprisingly quickly, and they fortunately lack the shyness to ask questions, so the classes proceeded quite smoothly, and very encouragingly".



How does GVI Phoenix make a difference?

The following film was made in Guatemala, though the message is the same across all GVI Phoenix projects