It’s Friday and this morning, I didn’t wake up to the sound of church bells ringing at 5:45 am (people have to go to mass since Easter is approaching), the fireworks that went off right after the church bells, or the sound of chicks, chickens, and roosters. Instead the truck that brings gas played its song and taxis were honking. Why is today different from yesterday? Well, yesterday we were in Zequentic, Zinacantan building a school with a group of volunteers from Utah.
The EMSaD 296 in Zequentic has a special place in our hearts because five years ago there were 8 students and today there are 83. A lot of this impact is due to REACH. Many students are REACH beneficiaries who have been able to go to school thanks to the vouchers they received.
On Monday, Michelle and I were planning on helping Indira load up and finalize details but when we got to Zequentic we realized we couldn’t. As soon as we got there, we were rushed into the “casa ejidal” and a group of high school girls dressed us in the beautiful flower-covered clothing. We were honored to be received this way and immediately felt we were a part of the community. We then waited for the group of volunteers to arrive, once they did they were showered in paper flowers and leis.
After the welcome party, we started working on the school build and remodel. We didn’t expect to finish as quickly because we forgot to take into account that we were working with construction experts. After lunch, we had the opportunity to check out the sewing workshops where families put together their beautiful garments. We then built some more and started painting. We had to ask our construction experts to slow down otherwise we would finish the day we started! We ended our first day with a beautiful bonfire and song.
Tuesday morning we started our day off with a scavenger hunt around Zequentic. We now understand why all the kids are super in shape, they walk up and down hills all day and play basketball around town. We got to see the cemetery, the market, a student’s workshop, and one of the many basketball courts.
After sweating around Zequentic we built and painted some more. In the afternoon, we went to different workshops and put the roof on the pre-fab. All that was missing was the paint! Since the students had covered themselves in paint the day before, on Tuesday they weren’t as ghostly today. The mural was getting closer to getting done. Our second day ended with an outdoor movie and a glow stick party.
Wednesday, was our sad, last day in Zequentic. We started the day with a basketball tournament. The students won of course! The ribbon cutting and inauguration ceremony was attended by all students. Two groups of middle school girls presented traditional dances and we ended the day with a tamale lunch.
We all had an amazing time in Zequentic and are very grateful for the welcome we got from the teachers, students, and community. We expect great things from this amazing group of students and look forward to seeing what they have planned. We’re going back to finish the mural and we can’t wait to show you what the students came up with!