Friday, July 13, 2012

La hora de la hora

“La hora de la hora” has arrived at Pop Wuj. The school is running near full capacity with incoming students on summer vacation. This week alone there have been five new arrivals.  The teachers have their hands full with eager learners, while the community development programs have a plethora of enthusiastic volunteers. To say the least, it’s busy! So busy, I haven’t had time to post a proper blog update!!

We recently said bye to our good friends from Timmy Global Health (Timmy).  In addition to their regular medical trips, Timmy also sends a group of high school students (aka Timmy Chiquito) to build stoves with Pop Wuj. This year they helped us complete 10 stoves in Llanos de Pinal. During the course of four days, we ran four separate construction sites in the mornings and afternoons. Don’t worry, in between shifts we rested for lunch at the Family Support Center (formerly La Guardería). The hard workers from Timmy put smiles on the face of many stove recipients. Both parties were pleased to have shared a collective experience, in building stoves and in learning another´s culture. Now that the Timmy volunteers have returned to the U.S. , Pop Wuj will finish up its work in Llanos de Pinal and begin a new group of stove recipients in Xepache. See you next year Timmy Chiquito!  For more information about Timmy Global Health, please visit

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Timmy Brigade

            Two weeks ago the Timmy Global Health brigade came to the school to do a solid 3 days worth of stove building.  We were able to work on 12 different stoves, some of which were complete and others that will be completed in the coming weeks. Before their arrival we went around to the houses of prospective stove recipients to interview the families to collect socio-economic information.  We are continuing to work in Llanos del Pinal but next in line are 9 families from Xepache – a community not too far from Llanos.  With so many students at the school right now we’re able to have three groups go out to do stoves each week so it won’t be too long before we’re back out interviewing again! 

Painting, Garden, Reforestation

            The most recent work at the guadería has been reviving the outdoor area: repainting the jungle gym and play area, turning the broken down greenhouse into a productive garden, and planting trees in different areas of Llanos.  During the kid’s week-long break they were able to help out and be a part of the project – including climbing up part of the volcano Santa María to plant trees.  
            We continue to provide special help to the kids who are repeating a grade, so that when they move on they can continue receiving a scholarship.  This involves the work of Ashley, the academic support teacher, and social work students from the school.   In the next couple weeks we look forward to watching the garden produce vegetables and are looking to set up a compost system.

Becados with Malnutrition

          In the past several weeks we’ve continued meeting with scholarship recipients from Llanos del Pinal, San Juan, Chirijkiak, and Xeabaj to continue giving presentations on malnutrition.  We discussed the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients and how the typical rural Guatemalan diet is relatively full of macronutrients (maybe too much of some) while lacking in micronutrients.  At each of the communities except Xeabaj we put our words into action by making a salad of fruits, greens, cheese, and nuts.
            This past week we had all the scholarship recipients with malnutrition meet in the clinic at the school to give a health talk.  Carmen, Rony, Anna (the coordinator of health projects), and Luby (the nurse at the clinic) each spoke about a different health topic ranging from health during pregnancy to nutrition.  Though the meeting was long and full of presenting, it was a rare opportunity to provide information to the group all at once. Our next large meeting like this will be in six months, and until then we will continue meeting with communities and give presentations on bullying. 

Pop Wuj Inaugurates New Dental Clinic

After six months of comparing prices and doing research, Pop Wuj recently purchased equipment for a brand new dental clinic serving the low income population that the association serves. During the week of June 26th Pop Wuj inaugurated the dental clinic by filling cavities of its first patients. 

Before the dental clinic Pop Wuj worked with a dentist though he was only able to pull teeth due to a lack of space and equipment. With the inauguration of the new clinic the dentist will attend two days a week instead of one and will able to fill cavities, do cleanings, and extractions.  It will also help improve dental hygiene in the population through preventative education and providing floss, toothpaste, and toothbrushes to patients.   

The low costs of the services in the dental clinic (extractions will cost 10Q, cleaning 50Q, and fillings 60Q) ensure better access to dental care for those who could otherwise not afford it.