La Pedrera” Community
In 1996 Barbara (my wife) and I visited Guatemala for the first time as guests of my daughter who was serving in the Peace Corps. She worked primarily with indigenous Mayan people in the western highlands. The country was just coming out a civil war that had lasted for over thirty years and had devastated much of the country. The indigenous people were particularly hard hit. We were honored to spend Christmas Eve with one of the local families and were struck by their very generous nature. They were willing to share the very little that they had with no expectation of a return. We fell in love with the people and resolved to be of some assistance.
After almost eight years, I returned to Guatemala with a Habitat for Humanity team, attended a Spanish language school and was introduced to the children of La Padrera. La Pedrera is a community of indigenous Mayans who have migrated from their ancestral homes to the Quetzaltenango area, hoping to find enough work to sustain their families. Lacking skills and education, they work at the most menial of tasks and are paid a pittance. They maintain the hope that their children will have an opportunity for an education and a better way of life.
The school at La Pedrera, sponsored by Casa Xelaju (a Spanish Language School in Quetzaltenango) represents hope for the almost 100 children who attend. While poorly equipped by US standards, the children are receiving a basic education. There is one teacher plus volunteers from Casa Xelaju.
With the help of friends, relatives and generous supporters, we have been able to provide the school with supplies, clothing, text books, computers, internet access. In June 2007, we dedicated a second story classroom, making it a two room school. We are now looking to future projects, including helping the school afford a second teacher.