Although cases of COVID-19 in Guatemala continue to rise, (total cases = 55,270 including 2,168 confirmed deaths) the Guatemalan government is beginning to open things up again with social distancing measures in place.
With the help of 12 staff members working over two days, we organized our 6th distribution of emergency food hampers which were sent out to 367 families. We combined the homework packs and food hampers this time to reduce travel to the school. As public transport is still very limited, travelling to the school to pick up the hampers is a big challenge for many families.
Led by chef Erik, the kitchen crew arrived at the school at 5am on Thursday to cook up donations of chicken and rice for the families who came to collect their hampers. It was so nice to see them back in the school kitchen again!
In the hampers this time each family received:
- 3lbs of beans
- 2 lbs of corn flour
- 1 bag of cereal
- 2 lbs of powdered milk
- 1 lb of sugar
- 2 lbs of oatmeal
- 1 lb of incaparina
- 3 lbs of rice
- 1 liter of oil
- 3 lbs of pasta
- 2 tomato sauce packets
- 5 instant soups
- 1 dozen eggs
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- New notebooks, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, pens and pencils
Last week marked the end of the second quarter, so our students handed in their exams which had been sent home with the previous homework packs. They also had the opportunity to hand in any missing homework. 300 students sent in videos for their reading evaluations and teachers phoned the remaining 173 students to do their evaluations over the phone. These assessments will help to give us an idea of our students’ academic progress.
This time all students received their graded work back from the previous term and a new homework pack with two weeks of materials for the next quarter. All of the homework handed in is organised by students and families alphabetically to make retrieval quick and easy. Our staff then sort the homework by subject to be graded by the correct teachers. It takes a lot of coordination and time to run the homework swap smoothly for 473 students, but over the last 6 months our school leadership team has mastered it.
As well as coordinating the homework and marking, they have been busy organising virtual classes for our 9th grade students which will start this week. They really are moving logistical mountains to do everything they can for students. We can't thank them enough for all their hard work!
We are currently in the process of planning to reopen the school building next month to resume some activities. We will rotate staff rotas each day to reduce the amount of people in the school at any one time. This will enable us to organise one to one meetings with students and parents to assess their individual needs.
All of the critical support we have been able to provide to our families over the last 6 months has been made possible by our supporters. Very few organizations have been able to provide this same level of support and we are incredibly proud to be a part of this one.