Right now, Giving Tuesday Now-May 5, especially created for responses to COVID-19, we’re running a giving campaign to provide rice and beans, as well as facemasks and gel sanitizer, to the people of Nimasac. Go to: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/covid-19-caring-for-nimasac. Please read more about this on our Facebook page, Esperanza Guatemala Missions. Thank you!
APRIL 2020: We are all aware that COVID-19 has disrupted our lives throughout the world. Its impact on us includes all of our neighbors and associations, including our relationship with the people of Nimasac. We are grateful that, as far as we are aware, Nimasac remains virus-free as of this writing (April 28). While we cannot make an extra trip to Guatemala this Spring, we hope to be able to travel there yet later this year.
JANUARY 2020: We’re currently working on various administrative tasks. These include the important action of incorporating as a nonprofit in Guatemala. We are also setting up Google for Nonprofits, which will allow us to apply for other grants and helping organization helps. While all this is going on, our partner which handles the scholarship program, Cary Presbyterian, has been deeply active with arranging, along with the Nimasac Scholarship Committee, the scholarship implementation for 2020. The school year in Guatemala runs from mid-January through the end of October. We are pleased to report that this year, there are 27 students enrolled. These include 10 middle school students, 13 high school students in both academic and vocational courses, and 4 university students! Sponsors are individuals, families, designated groups, and several individuals co-sponsoring particular students. Unfortunately, there is a waiting list of almost 15 people. We hope to be able to include some of them next year.
The GIVING TUESDAY 2019 link is live! https://www.classy.org/campaign/lets-drink-to-health/c259907
GIVING TUESDAY is our main fundraising vehicle in 2019. It’s a great way to give back in gratitude, celebrated shortly after Thanksgiving, on December 3rd. This year’s campaign focuses on the critical need for clean water in Nimasac. We’re calling it “Let’s Drink to Health” because drinking water, from a well or a collection area (called a spring) in Nimasac can make you sick. We have a very ambitious water project underway. It is has an equally ambitious initial goal of $8,000, representing the 8,000 people who live in Nimasac. During our October trip, we met with the Quetzaltenango area office of Engineers Without Borders, who is leading the effort at this time, representatives of a Quetzaltenango area Rotary Club with experience in these kinds of projects, and with the Mayor and Town Council of Nimasac, along with people from the different well committees of the town. More work has been done since our return, and the project is underway but it needs lots of financial support to make it happen. Please give generously through Giving Tuesday or through this website. We thank you!
The next trip to Guatemala is Oct 15 – 22, 2019. This is the shortest turnaround in time we’ve had–just 10 weeks or so. We’ve made a great deal of headway on the various projects, particularly with water, sewing, and the computer center. Stay tuned!
We thank you for your support of Esperanza at the recent fundraiser at City Barbeque. Every dollar counts toward this mission!
We’re doing it again! FUNdraiser at City Barbeque on Thursday, October 3, 2019, all day! We had one of the best turn-outs ever the first time. Thank you! Now please support Esperanza again in this easy, delicious way. The code which you will need to use to give us the 25% of your order will be posted here soon. This mission is growing and really needs the support. Help make clean water, economic development and better education happen. Thanks!
Here are highlights of the fantastic trip in July and August. Wednesday we met with the two assistant principals of the elementary school in Nimasac, and we also met many adorable children! Later, on Friday (after hours of school supply shopping), we delivered two large whiteboards, educational games, workbooks, reams of paper, pens, markers, paint…and more, and for the gym teachers, soccer balls and volleyballs. The children’s eyes lit up when they saw those. The principals offered deep gratitude, as did the teachers we met with. These supplies were funded by last year’s Giving Tuesday gifts as well as monies from the Alternative Gift Market.
On Thursday we met with the water committees of Nimasac. There are two groups who each handle a well project currently in existence. Presently, the first well is not functioning properly and the second well is incomplete. Some felt a third well was needed also. It was a significant meeting with lots of important information exchanged, and we left with numerous issues to continue researching in preparation for the next trip in October.
On Friday we met with our IT consultant, Martin Maldonado, in the computer center housed at the Monte Sinai church. The lab includes six workstations and desks, two printers, and a 15MG WiFi connection. This was the culmination of several years of work. A continuing challenge will be managing the dust from plastered floors (and we have a solution) and the high cost of the fiber optic cable internet. We also met with the newly formed Nimasac computer committee advising them on setting up procedures and policies for the center. There was some basic hands-on training for scholarship students and others, including setting up email accounts and cloud documents. We plan to offer additional training soon.
Saturday we had a meeting with over 18 women and teen girls to discuss women’s health issues and sewing projects, and agreed on plans for both. We purchased, delivered, and demonstrated refurbished professional sewing machines and set up a new Sewing Team. We were able to do this with a grant from partner Cary Presbyterian’s Memorials and Endowments Fund.
Finally, we attended a special worship service of thanksgiving with close to 80 people in attendance, including 21 of our 23 scholarship students. The students expressed sincere and incredible gratitude for the support. Letters were exchanged for sponsors.
We are already at work planning the next trip, October 15 – 22. Stay tuned for more good news – especially about helping with the water problems.
Our next trip is July 30 through August 6. This trip is a little different than most of our other trips. This is a small group going, and we have several community and church meetings already scheduled. Our plans include:
- Meeting with the women of the church to discuss women’s health issues. We have a Days For Girls health curriculum to discuss, and conversations about possible development/entrepreneurial projects. At their request, any project they will do will involve sewing, so the first step is for them to learn how to sew. We’re coming prepared with patterns, a supply of sewing notions, and will be purchasing 2 sewing machines in Xela to present to them.
- Hopefully, celebrate the opening of the computer center at the Mt. Sinai church. Our partner, Cary Presbyterian Church, has funded the addition of the second story of the church, and this will now house the computer lab which will be open to all church members and scholarship students from the community and church. The center will include 6 workstations, 2 printers, desks and a high speed internet connection. We have a local IT consultant helping us, and he will manage the day to day issues in the lab. This is happening as we speak.
- Bringing the beginnings of a library to be housed in the church. We have several books, will be purchasing a bookcase, and setting up some very basic check out procedures. We expect to add a Scholastic Books beginner level reading program with 12 levels of fiction and non-fiction books on our October trip.
- Meeting with the Nimasac elementary school principals to discuss literacy and curriculum issues and provide school supplies. We’ll be shopping for, and delivering the supplies purchased with the Alternative Gift Market proceeds and a Memorials & Endowments Grant. Additionally, we will be investigating the current water situation at the school (see next item).
- Meeting with the local water committee to discuss future possibilities and logistics for a well and clean water system. Duane Hix has done an enormous amount of legwork on this project in conjunction with the Apex Rotary Club and Living Waters of the World. Rotary has a WASH program which looks promising, but first there must be additional wells in the community.
- Meeting with the scholarship committee to review the current school year, students, and present sponsor letters and pictures.
- Of course, there will be lots of relationship-building fellowship opportunities with the Nimasac people and fun time with the children.
WOW! Thank you for your support.
We had a great turnout for our fundraiser June 12. Thank you so much! This will support our current initiatives and further our relationship with the people of Nimasac.
By designating your food purchase to Esperanza de Guatemala, 25% of your spending comes back to us! Please come on over to this great restaurant on Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, for lunch, dinner, or a snack in between. You need to use this code to get us the discount. Thanks!
We’re pleased to welcome new Board member John Hansen. John is a professional photographer currently specializing in capturing images by drone but has done action work, portraiture, and scenery. His stunning photos of Nimasac reflect not only our most recent visit but life in rural Guatemala in all its beauty and depth.
What a trip! We just returned from Guatemala Tuesday, October 23. It was a very successful visit. We made two visits to the primary school in Nimasac. During the first visit, we requested lists of suggested supplies from the two principals (there is one in the morning, and one in the afternoon) that would help the teachers in classrooms. The second trip came after a lengthy shopping expedition in Quetzaltenango to purchase supplies that fulfilled much of the list. We made the presentation to a large group of teachers (there are a total of 17) and explained who we were and our desire to be of assistance to the community and the school. Our Guatemalan partners spoke of the successful scholarship program and its impact in only its first year. Possible skepticism about following through with our offer was eliminated, and they were appreciative of the gifts and interested in our proposal to work with a group based in Guatemala that could offer more coaching and textbooks.
The supplies that we purchased included: a large whiteboard designated for a specific classroom. Copy paper, silicone glue, colored bulletin board paper, erasers, pens, pencils, permanent and washable markers, crayons, and more. School supplies are expensive in Guatemala, likely because many items are imported, but it is best to buy them there and support the local economy. Here’s a photo of the store:
The scholarship program is being administered in Nimasac by a very dedicated group of seven young adults. All the scholarship students and parents were present at the meeting on Wednesday, October 17, and were deeply grateful for being able to participate in the program this first year, and for the gifts that sponsors sent down. We met with each of them in small groups and discussed their experience, and offered them motivation to keep up the good work.