Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hikes & Kites: School Vacation at the FSC (Part I)

Text and photos by Elizabeth Barnes (unless otherwise noted)

If you were to visit the Family Support Center on a typical weekday morning between February and October, you'd find only the children too young to attend school (ages 2 to a just-turned-5). Schools in Guatemala usually run January to October, and most offer classes in the morning. Our school-age participants join us around 1 p.m. for lunch and stay the rest of the day.

Since mid-October, when the older participants started their long vacations, the FSC has been busy with everyone all day long. We take advantage of the extra time with all the kids to host a ton of special activities—academic support, outdoor excursions, crafts projects, sports, and more. Our new director Shaaron Hurtado has implemented some new ideas, but we've also observed all our annual traditions.

This post and two follow-ups will highlight vacation activities which Pop Wuj Spanish School students (and the Student Coordinator!) have joined in the last five weeks.

First up: hiking!

Katrina plays customer at an imaginary restaurant run by Emmanuel, Ximena, Yadira, and Daniel. She and fellow Pop Wuj Medical Spanish Program student Lucy joined the FSC crew on October 20 for one of two hikes. The older FSC participants were all off playing soccer and too blurry to photograph! 
The FSC teachers took the kids on a second hike on the morning November 3. One advantage of the Llanos del Pinal location is being surrounded by breathtaking mountains! (Photo by Shaaron Hurtado)
The group heads back from the October 20 hike. Despite having the shortest legs, the little ones never seem to complain about being tired like the older ones do!
Next up: kites! You see them all over Guatemala around Day of the Dead on November 1. We held our flying day on October 27 after a week of kite construction at the FSC.

FSC teacher Santos launches a kite. Yosvin, Samuel, and Mois├ęs figure out their own.
Arturo proved to be one of the FSC's most skilled kite flyers.
Andrea (who recently turned 3) had very little luck with getting her kite off the ground, but not for lack of support from Katrina! They both had fun anyway.
Another one of our older boys, Manuel, is also an adept kite flyer.
He kept his kite aloft despite cows, trees, and a host of other obstacles!
Most children at the FSC have attended the project for years, which means we get to watch them grow up. Annual events like kite flying highlight those changes.

Here's Evelyn (age 6) with her kite in 2012....
Evelyn (age 9) with her kite in 2015....
and Evelyn (age 10) with her kite in 2016! 
Better said that these activities highlight how kids stay exactly the same! Evelyn still loves kites.

Keep an eye out next week for Foundation Todos Juntos newsletter and another post on Halloween. To our U.S. readers, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! At Pop Wuj we are grateful for everyone involved in our projects, from participating families to the students, volunteers, and donors who make our work possible.

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