Monday, October 4, 2010

8 days left

In exactly one week I will have all my bags packed, hand the key back over to my landlord, and leave Jocotan, at least for now.  I have a couple last week items to figure out, and well there will be lots unfinished, but you have to leave someday.  Then I'll be on a plane adventuring through central america a little and back to the United States of America.  I miss you America.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's done.

We inaugurated the Library last Wednesday, 22nd of September in front of the building with the mayor, here's the blurb I wrote for the Peace Corps Washington Bulletin: (the local and national news came too, I'm trying to get a copy of the footage to load on youtube)

Modern Public Library Opening in Jocotán, Chiquimula
Peace Corps Guatemala is proud to report that Wednesday morning on September 22nd 2010 the project “Creating a Modern Library” was inaugurated in the Municipality of Jocotán, Chiquimula. The project coordinator and Peace Corps Volunteer, Robin Mae Schick, celebrated this day with local children, parents, teachers, the director of the health center, school principals, superintendents, municipal co-workers, members of the town council, and the mayor of Jocotán, Ramón Diaz. Representatives from Peace Corps, Save the Children, Outreach for World Hope, USAID – Education Reform in the Classroom, and the Riecken Foundation, whom have all supported this project, were also present. The inauguration was directed by the newly formed Jocotán Community Library Board of Directors who now takes ownership of the project and will be responsible for supporting the activities of the library along with the Mayor’s office. The Municipal Library “Hector Manuel Vasquez Lopez” of Jocotán has been completely changed, what once was a closet with old dusty books and cracked walls is now an active, community-based, modern, educational center with a new attitude. The Library of Jocotán currently offers more than 1,000 new books, 6 computers, a children’s corner full of interactive resources, a multi-use photocopier, a white board, a comfortable sofa and arm chair, and much more to create a functional and inviting space. This change would have not been possible without donations from the above mentioned institutions along with Computers for Guatemala, the National Library of Guatemala, the Rotary Club of Chiquimula, Grace Methodist Church, several private donors from the United States, and various book donations from many. Furthermore the project is awaiting the connection to high-speed internet donated by the Mancomunidad Copán-Chorti, and 2 full set encyclopedias donated from Encyclopedia Britannica which are currently on their way to Guatemala. Access to public information is a fundamental part of development, especially here in Guatemala. This project gives neighbors of Jocotán a real opportunity to continue learning each day and teach their children how to achieve a better future with the power of education.

It's almost over!!!! haha, it's been great but I can't wait to come home and see everyone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Board of Directors Search

Here's a quick update about what's been going on other than mudslides and lots of rain.

We're working so hard in the library but it's really coming along and I'm so excited!!!!  The inauguration date is the 22nd of September and I'm hoping to have the the Board of Directors formed and ready by the 17th.  I've been busy doing an inventory of all the donations, legalizing the responsibilities with the mayor, along with computer installations, painting doors, and hanging whiteboards.

Here are photos, of all the activity:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Update in Fotos

BASTA YA, the theater production with the Youth Group Fantasicos Amigos, at the Orphanage SOS Aldea Infantil about Violence and Issues that Face Guatemala in Today's World.

Painting and Organizing in the Library, and lots of cleaning!
The Library is now painted, all the bookshelves are cleaned and sparkling like new again, over 1,000 have been categorized in the Dewey Decimal System and we have many more to go, Britannica has donated a full 20 volume encyclopedia which Brian Gouldman will be shipping here asap, Outreach for World Hope has made an enormous contribution of $1,400 to buy a fotocopier and other resources and donated a couch/chair set for a place to sit and read comfortably, Save the Children has donated a Childrens Corner with books, games, carpet and lots of pillows! And of course the HUNDREDS of books you all back home have donated through Amazon and sent in cash donations.  The Library is looking fabulous as each day we work getting everything ready.  By this Friday I hope to have pictures of more or less the final product!  I'd like to have the inaguration the September 10th, but I don't have confirmation on that just yet.
More photos to come, my camera just ran out of battery to upload them :(

Miss you all,

Monday, August 9, 2010

So much to tell!

I have been so busy here!  I didn't even post in the whole month of July!  Just so you know I'm alive and doing better than ever.  I have so much news.
View of the Copan River that goes through Jocotan
First, the library. We are painting!!!! it's an act of God.  When you least expect it, great things happen.  Save the Children, an international NGO is donating a bebeteca (a library section for babies!) and had funds to paint.  Initially they were only budgeted to paint their section, but after seeing the place and me begging them, they found an extra few gallons of paint and now the Mayor (of all people!) sent municipal workers to paint it.  Hopefully they will be done tomorrow or the next day.  It's a BRIGHT lime green, and I love it. It's full of energy and definately changes the space completely.  Then, last Friday I got an email from Outreach for World Hope say that they not only fundraised the amount they had pledged to buy the photocopier, but more than doubled it and now are sending $1,400 in donations!  Then, on top of that I talked to the MANCOMUNIDAD (a local organization here in Jocotan) today and they are going to pay for and install internet for the computers!
The community meeting we had went well, and working with USAID and the Reiken Foundation is a dream come true.  They really know their stuff and so motivated.  I'm just praying that they extend the library/reading programs with us for next few years so that this library will really have a good base for success.

In other news, the orphanage is going great as well.  This Friday we will be presenting three short plays the kids wrote based on the theme of citizen awareness against violence.  The event is called "BASTA YA!" and will speak about the issues of drug addiction, prostituction, gangs, the police, robbery, and injustice.  I remind you, 10-14 year old kids wrote these plays on their own.  I think it's going to be a very powerful and important event to talk about these problems in Guatemala today.  Your all invited, just in case you happen to be around Chiquimula :-)

This week I am also very busy with coordinating classes in the village of Tesoro Abajo.  The classes are to teach about maintinance and care for your outhouse and health.  This is part of a project the local community council is soliciting with the government for new outhouses for 150 familias in their village.  I helped them write the proposal and have been the liason between the government agency and the community but after these classes they will be on their own, and hopefully the project is setup for completion the following year.

Other than all that, I have my close of service conference next week and will be in Antigua Monday thru Friday doing medical appointments and filling out paperwork to return back to the United States of America! wahoo!  I'll be home by Thanksgiving everyone, and I want to see you all.

Hopefully I'll have another chance soon to write more, I have much more to tell still but it's already getting late here so I need to get home.

Peace, Love,

Check out more about Chiquimula (this weekend is the town fair) at:
and the Orphanage I do my kids group with:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Library, 4 monthes left

ok, I've started the countdown, 4 monthes... sometimes it seems like it's gone by so fast.  This Thursday I am meeting with the town council, the library, USAID, and some local residents to begin programs and work finally in the library!  This is very exciting because, well... if you've been reading this blog you know I have been very patient and frustrated with this whole process taking so long.  But we are finally getting somewhere on all fronts.  I am still recieving books and donations and have 6 computers ready to be set up for a virtual library.  The USAID program is working with the Dept. of Education Nationally and Regionally here in Chiquimula, and also with the Reiken Foundation which has 3 techs who are specialized in library functions and organization. 

We are first organizing and documenting each existing book (I already started this but there is still a lot to do) and teaching the librarian how to be a librarian.  Then we are chaning the space around, improving it for users and the books.  Reading/writting programs will begin as soon as possible after that.

I'm still working with the youth group at the orphanage which is going well.  This week we are dicussing the problem of violence in Jocotan to find a solution and sign a Promise Act against violence.

The San Juan Ermita Fair is this weekend, I know Kristy (the volunteer who was there) will be missed this year.  I'm going to try to go to see our friend Leo and eat the famous Tortillas de Harina that they make there. yum! =)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Guatemala Disaster

So for those of you who haven't heard about it on the news, Volcano Pacaya erupted last Thursday leaving ash all over the capital, Guatemala City, then on Saturday a huge tropical storm, Agatha, came through flooding a major part of the country.  This has left landslides, a giant sink hole, fallen bridges, lots of mud, and the airport closed for almost a week.  I luckily? was out of the country visiting some friends and couldn't return until today.  For pictures of the catostrophe you can go to

I've heard my house and town are fine and were minorly effected.  The capital has been a disaster.  Right now I'm just trying to make my way back to Jocotan, hopefully arriving tomorrow or the next day.  I'll keep you updated on further news once I get there.

Peace, Love,