PANAMA PRE-SCHOOL UPDATE – 5th October 2008
Last Friday was a very special day – the current group of guests at the Mariposa helped to organise the inauguration of the little (but perfectly formed) pre-school extension which we have built (well, Bismark, whom many of you know actually did the building of course) with the help and donations of a number of friends of Panama School and ex-Mariposa students. The extension has been painted in a number of very bright colours, chosen by the pre-schoolers. We had enough paint to do the already existing pre-school classroom as well, so the whole area looks really bright and cheerful now.
The extension has been fitted out with soft, washable, flooring (consisting of yoga mats which a few of our guests donated); and Bismark has constructed some terrific shelves. They are made out of the same cane which we have used in the hotel bathroom doors and small cupboards – cane instead of wood as it is much more sustainable (and somewhat cheaper) and also we can buy it from a local farmer. The group of current Mariposa students had arranged all of the donations of stationary, pencils, paints, toys on the shelves – it looks really great. Hector, looking stunning in a blue flowery shirt – not at all his usual school uniform! – said he had no idea I had been secretly amassing such a lot of stuff in the Mariposa library!!
The opening ceremony itself was, as you can imagine, very moving and I just kept wishing that you all could have been there too. It was quite formal in the Nicaraguan style of doing these things; with various dignitaries saying their few words; the kids singing the national anthem several times; all interspersed with music and folkloric dancing, all arranged by Hector I think. It was just lovely and I don’t think I was the only one with tears in my eyes. My contribution was to cut a piece of blue crepe paper with a pair of kid’s scissors and declare the whole thing open for business.
Then everyone traipsed off for a nutritious meal, donated by the current group of Mariposa students, accompanied with a fresco of Mariposa organic papaya…..
NOW……we are not quite finished yet!!!
· Hector has asked if we can help extend the rainwater collection system which has been installed. Rainwater is one thing there is no shortage of right now…..and we will happily send over a bit of tubing plus Bismark for a day or two.
· The plan is to put big, squashy, comfy cushions in the new area for kids to sit around informally in a circle – we have purchased the materials and will get them made up this week.
· We are going to try and buy some more second hand stuffed toys, tennis balls etc. in the Jinotepe market so the kids get to play sometimes as well as read.
FOR THE NEXT TWO ITEMS WE STILL NEED MORE HELP…….
- We can purchase stationary etc here in Nicaragua – what we CANNOT GET IS SPANISH BOOKS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN. We need more of those – you do not need to send a huge parcel (actually better not to use the big transporters like DHL as it costs a fortune to get the boxes out of customs), just a package of one story book, or picture dictionary, BUT SIX COPIES……so the kids can read the same book together in small groups. You can send packages of up to six items to me via the normal post perfectly well. Maybe instead of a Xmas pressie you could send me six Spanish language children’s books……
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL…….
- I have arranged with MINED (the Ministry for education) and the head teacher of the school that they will employ a full time pre-school teacher or, more likely, two part time teachers. We will pay the cost of this. Which will be in the region of $80 per week. So any contribution to this would be gratefully received….I will send my UK bank details to anyone who wants to contribute.
The address for parcels is;
La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol
San Juan de la Concepcion
Once again, many many thanks to everyone who has contributed time, energy, fun,, money, donations, goodwill to the Panama School. Hector and the kids send their love!!!