Kilometro 18 school opened in 1989. This school located in rural area away from every major highway, only three buses visits this area every day. The dirt and bumpy road to this school is poor at best. Even with these circumstances, 87 children attend the primary school during the week and 68 teenagers to secondary school on Saturdays. The children live in the surroundings neighborhoods and use horses, donkeys or bicycles to arrive in the morning.
Quetzaltrekkers discovered the school 4 years ago when one of her teachers approached to the office asking for help. Since then we’ve help them with school supplies and materials for special events. Last year we decided to go further and build a library, the school only had three class rooms that couldn`t fit all the children. New library offered an extra space to learn and work for the children. The grand opening was in July 2014, since opening this new space we have 25 children joined the newly created book club. Quickly teachers filled this new space and booked filled the shelves.
Yet the library was still unfinished, the walls were cold and boring, the old shelves held damaged books and only two small tables were available to the children. Marlene, the teacher and library responsible, worked really hard to give her children the best space possible. She keeps all the paper pieces to create new ways to teach, she is full of ideas and energy: “we’re a forgotten school, we rarely receive help from the government, that’s why we can`t waste any material that we have.”. But that is a description from the past, this year Quetzaltrekkers decided to keep improving the inside before kids start school in February.
First thing was hiring people of the community to add extra fine layer to the walls and building two big tables in our office to be able to fit 40 children working in the library at the same time. All the Quetzaltrekker`s volunteers were ready to spend the day in the library and make a difference. Some decided to start painting one of the walls, others painting the tables and varnish the shelves, while others were repairing some of the books. The day was long but before lunch we were able to notice some of the changes, 40 books have a new cover, a solar system was painted in the wall and a world map in one of the tables.
In the afternoon some of the kids show up at the library`s door, showing some curiosity about our presence, 10 minutes later one little girl decided to join and help one of the volunteers painting the alphabet on the wall, and others followed right after. Helping with their hand to finish the leafs of a painting of a tree. Last touch of the day was hanging a new whiteboard and make one last picture.
It was an amazing day with all the volunteers and some local children coming together, working hard and accomplish one simple goal: give these marginalized children an opportunity to have a good space to read, learn and discover new things. We still need to improve more things in the library but we can`t wait to see the children faces when they see the changes at the beginning of February.