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Published: August 11th 2011
It has been a bitter sweet day for us here. Once again, it is very hot and humid. We worked in the morning but because we had done such good work up to now, we had accomplished all the goals the site engineer had planned. Anything we did today was a bonus. We used the pick axes to break up the heavy wet clay around the walls of the new school. It was piled there when they excavated the footings. According to Bruce, they are down about 4 feet. They aren't concerned about frost, obviously, but they do need to make them earthquake and hurricane proof. Some others helped clean out the interior of the school room so that they could smooth out the floor and spread something called Cal on it to help leach the moisture out of the ground and make it hard packed.
The children went home around 12:30 but they came back again after 1:30 for the wrap up party. We started the party with an opening prayer and then we sang Oh Canada for the Nicaraguans and they sang their national anthem for us. There were many thanks offered on both sides by a number
of speakers including a lovely young girl who was very well spoken. The kids played some games like tug of war but they called it Onion or something like that. They needed to have the rules explained to them. Then they did a relay race with 2 teams and 3 members on each end of the relay. The rules were explained but they had to restart several times before the participants caught on to what was expected. They also did a sack race. They were all quite fun to watch. Some of the children had dressed up in fine dresses and had their hair done. One sweet little boy who was nicknamed Mini Sylvester Stallone had his hair gelled so that it was spikey on top. He was about 5 years old. The children are all warm and open. They are willing to give hugs and receive hugs all the time. We had prizes for the race winners such as K'nex kits, wooden puzzles, hair decorations, and pins and flags.
The teachers were given so many gifts that there was no way that they could get them home. We had brought down a lot of medical supplies and the
ones that were suitable for the community as opposed to the hospital were given to the teacher. We also gave her the first aid kit that we brought down with us. She will make good use of it in the school. We had purchased over 50 back packs with supplies for the children but we had more money we wanted to spend on the school so we purchased two white boards. These will be in the new school room. There were also many other practical things for the classroom like books, calculators, musical instruments and I can't remember it all right now.
We had fundraised for many of these things but the families themselves were very generous as well. There were many gifts for all the children. The pins and flags that were provided by Eli and Marianne were distributed today to everyone there. We made a point of telling them that Ottawa was ´mi communidad´.
I started by saying it was bitter sweet. We have done good work here and there was a lot of progress made on the school. But we have made friendships with the children and the parents and the teachers and it is hard to say good bye. It is likely that we will never see them again and we can only hope that we have planted some seeds of hope for them.
There have been a couple of questions posed in the comments and I will try to answer them. We are in El Sauce which is about a 2 hour drive from Leon. The community where we are building the school is La Cinocera but I don´t know if I am spelling that correctly. It is 16 kms from El Sauce. It is just a group of houses scattered over a few kilometers. I'm not sure what direction it is in but it is not east. The school is one classroom with windows that will be made out of chain link fencing on the front and back. It is about 20 feet square if my guesstimating is correct. There was one group here before us that got the footings done. We got the walls up. Another group will come soon to finish up. However, they have been waiting for this school for 10 years. Now that it is really happening, lots more kids want to come to school so they are now building another room. They are very simple but they are so much better than what they had before. The grand opening will be when the second classroom is done.
I almost forgot, we saw a tarantula today! They really are big and hairy. It was in a pile of wood that we were moving. David picked it up with gloves on to show us and then carried it really far away.
Tomorrow we say good bye to El Sauce and head to Leon. We are looking forward to a few more amenities. El Sauce is very rustic but clean and comfortable. There is no hot water in the rooms but the shower really just feels like jumping into a lake in the summer. A little cool to start with and then very refreshing. Also, because it hadn't rained for a few days, there was no water yesterday until later in the day. There was a terrific downpour around 6 pm and there were rivers of water running down the street. There is no drainage system that we saw so the buildings are all built about two feet above the sidewalk.
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