Guatemala Housing Update
This newsletter is from one of our Stonington Farmers Market vendors, Nancy Wynne. You know Nancy from her anchor position at the heart of our market where the center aisle meets the cross aisle. You can’t miss her bright smile and even brighter handicrafts from Guatemala that support her Guatemala Housing Alliance. Your support of her at our market goes to helping people. Read on:
Hello Family and Friends,
I just wanted to send you a brief of our workings at Guatemala Housing Alliance. GHA works with families living in extreme poverty in the highlands of Guatemala. Initiated 4 years ago as a Wynne family effort to remain united after the death of our mom, Dot, it is a still small but gradually growing effort thanks to volunteers and the financial support of friends.
To date we have replaced 98 dirt/mud floors with cement, replaced 19 leaky roofs, and built 21 houses. The one just finished is such a beaut. Cement block building is ubiquitous throughout Latin America, but we have been concerned about the environmental impact of such building. Cement uses vasts amount of energy to produce. The house pictured below is our first ‘green hybrid’ house, located in San Pablo La Laguna. The superstructure is of bamboo, filled with bajareque: cages of can~a filled with adobe mud, pine needles and local pumice, covered over with a lime stucco. It will both breathe better than block, and be at least as secure when the earth quakes. What we haven’t yet found a good, inexpensive and easy-upkeep alternative for is the cement floor…thus it is still a hybrid.
GHA’s other mission is education. This year we had 67 scholarship students and tutoring available for those that need it. We also continued our uke-based music program, with over 400 participants. It is now summer vacation in Guatemala, and our 2nd annual Vacation School just came to an end. Each week included music, arts and crafts, theater, and a day led by our friends at Centro Maya, exploring virtues, including respect and understanding for the handicapped. In the exercise below, the kids had to draw without the use of their hands, and each day began with singing in sign language. Alma de Colores, a labor and social inclusion program for people with disabilities, cooked all the healthy snacks for the entire program.
We go into with 2016 with optimism. We are fortunate to have a very engaged and talented Directora, Almudena Villarino Martinez, who manages to juggle our varied programs with grace. We’ll continue to aim green and do the most work that our finances allow. We are excited that our scholarships for the next school year include 7 university students…all indigenous, 5 of them young women. I wish you could understand the near-miracle significance of that for children that have grown in impoverished, generally illiterate homes.
May you all have a fine new year. May our love infuse the world. May we find and spread peace.
co-founder and treasurer