Monday, June 30, 2014

Health Checkups at the Family Support Center

On Tuesday June 24, 2014 Pop Wuj Medical Spanish Program participants and staff traveled to Llanos del Pinal for the mid-year health checkup for all of the Family Support Center children and youth.

Veronica waits to be measured and weighed by Pop Wuj student, Matt.

Students weighed and measured all of the program participants before providing anti-parasitic medicine and checking for lice.

Being checked for lice--all clear!

Any child or youth who was not feeling well or had recently been sick also had a consult with one of the Pop Wuj doctors.

Dr. Hugo provided consults to 38 children and youth.

The children and youth will have another health checkup in December, however the Pop Wuj Clinic is available to them for free consults and medication throughout the entire year. 

Medical Projects Coordinator, Ashley, confirms treatment details with Pop Wuj students Orly and Sasha.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Art for Father's Day!

In anticipation of Father's Day (June 17th in Guatemala), the children and youth at the Family Support Center created cards for dads, grandfathers, uncles, and older brothers.

Pop Wuj students, volunteers, and teachers were on hand to help with the shirt and tie art project.

Special thanks to Adam for helping to plan and conduct the activity!

Feliz Día del Papa!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Recycling: Fun in the Sun

Over the last two and half months we have stockpiled a lot of recycling on the roof of Pop Wuj.  We collect plastic, glass, aluminum, tin, and paper in Xela and primarily plastic in Llanos del Pinal at the Family Support Center.

With the help of some fantastic volunteers including Yoli, Edmundo, Hugo, Adam, and Wilder, we were able to recycle all of the materials last week.

Edmundo, Yoli, Amy, and a lot of plastic!

First we worked on the Pop Wuj roof, organizing and preparing the plastic and glass.  Then we carried the aluminum and tin to Don Tito, near Mercado Las Flores.  We sold 13 lbs of aluminum and 10 lbs of other metal for a total of Q42, or about $6 USD.

13 lbs of aluminum and 10 lbs of other metals

In the afternoon, during a brief break from the rain, we took the plastic and glass to Recip.  We recycled 238 lbs of plastic and 96 lbs of glass for a total of Q105 or about $14.

Such strength!  Adam and Wilder load the pick up

Plastic and glass, packed and ready to recycle
Thank you to the wonderful volunteers--without you we wouldn't be able to continue the recycling project at Pop Wuj!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Playground Repairs--Again!

The Family Support Center playground repairs continue.  Last Wednesday, volunteers Hugo and Edmundo hung the repaired swing and then some Family Support Center participants joined in to sand and paint the new wood.

All three swings, ready for action!

It was a warm and sunny morning when everyone started sanding.  Many of the kids were off from school because of the annual festival in Llanos del Pinal.  Friday, June 13th was the day of the community's patron saint, San Antonio, and there was a fair and parade to celebrate.

Getting started sanding

Working together to sand all of the new wood

Bright blue paint for the new wood!

One more coat and we should be finished for now!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

El Día del Árbol

La siembra es un acto de echar raíces y contribuir al futuro.
Planting is an act of putting down roots and contributing to the future.

On Thursday May 22, 2014 the children and youth at the Family Support Center in Llanos del Pinal celebrated Guatemalan Arbor Day (El Día del Árbol). 

First we split the kids into two groups.  The youngest kids colored a tree color-by-number drawing while the older children and youth discussed the importance of trees as well as learned about the specific types of trees that we were going to plant.

Checking out the land where we were going to plant

When asked what trees do, the kids provided a deluge of responses, including:
  • Trees give us shade
  • Trees give us oxygen to breathe
  • Trees absorb pollutants and clean the air
  • Trees protect us from wind and rain
  • Trees help recycle water
  • Trees help hold soil in place and prevent landslides (all too common in Guatemala)
  • Trees provide food and a home to animals, especially birds
  • Trees provide food for human beings
  • Fallen trees and leaves create broza that can be collected and then used in fields to put nutrients back into the soil
  • Trees give us products like paper, pencils, medicines, construction materials, and firewood
Next we talked about the trees that we usually plant as part of our reforestation project (we will plant hundreds of trees with the kids in late June) as well as the types of trees that we would be planting to celebrate Arbor Day.

We talked about the pinabete, an endangered species indigenous to Mesoamerica.  We also talked about the aliso (alder birch) and eucalyptus which is often used for medicinal purposes in Guatemala.  Because of a shortage of pinabete, we planted white pines instead.

Planting a white pine

Planting a pino blanco (white pine)

The last part of the celebration was the group planting of five trees.  The kids took turns digging and planting the trees.

Planting a eucalyptus tree

Planting an aliso (alder birch)

Luckily we arrived back at the Family Support Center right before the rains started!

Monday, June 2, 2014

More Playground Improvements at the Family Support Center

The playground was one of the two outdoor projects at the Family Support Center in April and May.  The vegetable garden is the other project.

Jack, a fantastic volunteer, took the initiative and renovated one of the playground platforms.  The project went very well and included a lot of help from the children and youth who attend the Family Support Center.

Jack and the kids built on the work of Adam and his father, who had completed some structural work beneath the deck of the structure (see previous blog post).

The new roof!

Jack used extra materials from another mini-project and built a roof over the last roofless play platform.  Hopefully this means it can be enjoyed even in those wet rainy months and that the floorboards will last longer this time!

A close up