September 22, 2011
Greetings everyone! The excitement is starting to build in Santa Marta for the big festival “10 de octubre” commemorating the return of the town from exile in Honduras in 1987. There are a lot of preparations underway, and I´m involved in enough to stay very busy! The youth group is making an assortment of keychains and wooden wall hangings that we´re planning to sell during the festival. This will be the group´s first public sale as an artesan cooperative, so we´re not too sure what we´re doing but hoping it goes well!
In other youth group news, the group had its final meeting with the cooperative legalization group of El Salvador— just a few more forms to complete before becoming a legal coop in November. The most difficult part of legalizing the group is going to be the accounting—which, being a science major, I cannot help with at all. I´m soliciting help from my accountant friends, or possibly senior accounting students, so that we set up this account correctly. The group has also asked me for English classes so they can practice what they learned in high school. I´m hoping to partner with the Peace Corps volunteer in nearby San Pedro, who has taught ESL before, to start an English Club. The youth group´s other request is for help finding scholarships so they can go to college. Many of them have had to drop out after a year or so due to lack of funds. If anyone knows of a scholarship organization that might be a good fit please let me know!
The other big project right now is plastic bottle recycling—which is going to start on Friday, Sept 23rd in the school. We´re having a one day campaign where students receive a prize (piñata party for the young kids, and a bonus point in the subject of their choice for the older kids) if they bring a certain number of bottles. I´m hoping we can make this a more long-term project by putting collection bags in the stores here and starting an Environmental Club.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to contact me—I enjoy hearing from everyone and appreciate your suggestions!