SAFE HOUSE UPDATE 2018
We are now able to accept girls from as far as Coban, some 12 hours away by bus plus up to 5 hours further to reach their villages, much of the travel time spent on foot. They will not be able to return home until the end of the year, as travel times and costs are enormous for the families. However, these girls are the family’s future salvation.
Families working out the cost prohibitive travel problems
Unknown to us, we had been listed on an educational assistance web site run by a Guatemalan. Previously, we would be unable to assist in any way, but now, our doors can open to girls hungry for education.
While it is early days, the seven new girls in 2018 are like happy sponges, absorbing everything they can. It seems as if anything new catches their full undivided attention, especially if it is English. Hopefully this will continue, as it will be the making of their futures.
THE SAFE HOUSE
We rented a house in March 2013 in response to parents concerned about the many assassinations on the bus lines. It was amazing that none of the girls had been caught in the crossfire. This was a radical idea for these traditional families, so acceptance was slow for some and impossible for others. Those that stayed showed us startling results that were unplanned for and unexpected.
- Their GPAs increased some 3-6% in one semester.
- The new students living in the house, speak better English than those in the program 2-4 years. New girls not living in the house did not progress nearly as much.
- Parents reported they were very happy knowing their girls were safe, not traveling daily.
- Having a Spirit location allows us to have remedial and other supplementary classes for the girls.
- We have a place for internet access. Internet is expensive, but required for their homework and the families have been suffering to provide this.
- We can accept applicants from father away as space permits. They can live in the house, rather than attempt traveling long distances. Our first Mayan girls arrived in January 2015 and it was a huge success. Two more distant students came in 2016.
- The girls have a more balanced diet, one with vegetables and some protein.
A PERMANENT SPIRIT HOUSE – BECOMING A REALITY
FINISHED IN OCTOBER 2015
In January 2014, we found the remaining undeveloped land near the school. The angels must have been working that day, because he agreed to sell us a large square piece.
We are using the back part for the house and the three front lots for bananas, avocados, oranges, lemons, rambutans, cinnamon and the 2 huge mango trees. This year, Dora is growing squash and watermelon. Our objective is more shade and fruits and veggies for the girls and Dora’s family.
The house has room for 29 girls in 7 dormitories. Four of the rooms are gifts of individuals or families, each with their name on a plaque above the door. The girls, now and in the future must understand this is the effort of many people. Joe chose the dining room, because he likes to eat.
Our builder with 40 years experience had a huge desire to be part of the organization that has helped his daughter. He considers his contribution to this future for young women to be the greatest honor he could receive. He took a considerably lower salary and when he saw his plaque, he choose the computer room with a huge smile.
The Coatepeque house also has internet, therefore Skype. This has made it possible to introduce the very successful “English Angel” program, where Americans donate an hour per week on Skype or phone to receive conversational English with native speakers.
The English Angel program also validates the worth of each girl. An American believes she has value, therefore, she believes that she does.
Please visit the donation gift giving page. Give your family and friends the gift of a safe house.
Finding an honest reliable house mother has been a huge challenge. Honesty and reliability are rather rare in this corrupt country.
Dora and her husband Nelson are happily living in the Spirit caretaker house. No dirt is allowed in her kitchen, a tough expectation when construction workers were trekking through the front carrying buckets of cement upstairs. Dora and Nelson are making the caretaker’s house their long term home by paying for half of the new patio we did not provide. She loves working with the girls! Nelson likes the security of having a home. Nelson is an often out-of-work welder, normal for this country, especially when you are getting older. Their nesting project for 2016 is to cement a patio area-cum dining area.
Dora is wearing her new glasses and seeing for the first time in years. When going through the accounts with her, she said she couldn’t see the papers. Fortunately, I had a number of pairs of glasses with me. She is now eager to assume more responsibility. Her phrase is “teach me and I will learn.”
We want to be self sufficient as much as possible. We have bananas, avocado, lemons, oranges and huge mangos.
JUNE 2014 – PROGRESS
The large house foundation, built to withstand 6+ earthquakes. You can buy insurance, but if your house falls down it is your fault- it was not constructed well enough. The house has withstood 3 – 6.9 quakes and a 6.1 without a single crack.
The house has water! We have a 800 cubic foot cistern plus a 40′ well to fill it. Toilets flush, showers run, and sinks fill up. No more trying to get by on a few hours of city trickle some days.Using only city water was not enough to use the shower on the first floor. The neighbors were in revolt due to no water for 8 days in June 2015. It is nice to be able to relax about something.
THE PAINTING CREW – PINK, OF COURSE!
They couldn’t wait to do the second floor and move in.