Monday, June 9, 2008

June Newsletter

May was a very busy month for us here at Proyecto Laguna. The rainy season has definitely started and each day it pours down rain, shutting down everything in Nicaragua until it stops. The roads out to Anne Frank and La Nicaroa are turning into rutted muddy lanes and soon it will be difficult to get to these two schools until the rains stop. It also was a month full of celebrations, fundraisers, and new projects.

A lot happened this month; we started construction at the Anne Frank School, had a movie night, held a garage sale, started working with a local furniture maker, and participated in Mother’s Day and Children’s Day celebrations.

Mother’s Day is the second largest holiday in Nicaragua (the first is Easter) and the festivities were wonderful. Unfortunately, due to a very intense tropical storm on Mother’s day, festivities were delayed a few days, but there weren’t any less fun. The children did folkloric and modern dances, read poems, and sang songs.

Children’s Day was also a fun day. Jennifer, our Community Development Director, was asked to hand out candy, in a clown suit! The teachers and school staff did dances and sang songs for the children in crazy costumes, and Jennifer danced around in a clown outfit handing out lollipops (she learned that dancing in a clown outfit in the sun is a sweaty business).

We have started a remodel/refurbishment of the kindergarten at the Anne Frank School. The existing pre school building is dark and dank, very little light comes in the windows, the wooden roof beams are rotting, there are holes in the ceiling, and the doors are hanging on their hinges.

We are replacing the rotting roof beams with longer lasting metal beams, replacing the tin roof, amplifying the windows, replacing the doors, and building an attached office for the school directors with a storage room in the back. The school directors currently have no office and have been using part of a classroom divided off by a couple of bookshelves.

For the past several months we have been working on getting all of the permits and finding a contractor so it is very exciting to finally have started construction.

We would not be able to do this project if it were not for the large donation made in the name of Stephanie Lerner which is paying for the majority of this remodel. Thank you so much for making it possible for us to provide a safer, nicer preschool classroom.

Movie Night and Garage Sale
The parents groups at Ruiz Castillo and Anne Frank are going strong.
They have set the goal of buildings kitchens in both schools this year and are working on raising money for smaller projects and to save in their maintenance fund.

This month Ruiz Castillo had a movie night. The parent group raised over $100 by charging children 25 cents to watch a movie projected on a big screen, and selling snacks during the movie. The parents were so excited with the results that they plan to start doing movie nights more often.

At Anne Frank the parents group had a garage sale. Many people have donated clothing and toys to Proyecto Laguna. We brought these things to Anne Frank on a Saturday and the parents had a garage sale. This is a great model in a couple of ways; the parent’s group is able to raise money to use to meet their goals and the townspeople are able to buy nice toys and clothing for very low prices. The parent’s group raised close to $250!

A few weeks ago the La Nicaroa School asked us for help.
In this three room school, housing preschool through sixth grade, there was a problem. The pre-schoolers and first graders were sharing a classroom and they were constantly distracting each other. The first grade teacher asked if we could pay for a temporary wall to be put in the middle of the classroom. We took this a step further and are currently working with a local carpenter, Alfredo Ortega, to make a series of book shelves, some with doors and some without, to use to divide the classroom. This way, not only will the classroom by divided but the divider will be useful and more able to muffle sound.

Also, through working with a local furniture maker, who is the father of a child attending Ruiz Castillo, once again we are putting the money we spend to improve the schools back into the community.

We would like to thank St. Vincent de Paul High School of Petaluma, CA. We would not be able to build this furniture were it not for the donation they made to us. Thank you for helping us improve the quality of the educational environment at La Nicaroa.

Thank you

Thank to everyone who made a donation in the month of May. We depend on donations from persons such as you. A special thank you to those of you who are renewing your sponsorships-thank you for choosing to help a child succeed in school and in life.