To the friends of the Bella Vista children
The journey over the mountains and then down to lake Atitlan by San Pedro is quite arduous.
The last piece of road is almost washed out and the small bus sways around the hairpin curves.
The first sight of the lake is almost a deliverance – we finally arrived! Every year, lake Atitlan lies before me like a dream. But this appearance is deceptive: there are less and less fish in the lake, so the fishermen with their small wooden boats are deprived of their existence.
Every year the seaweed plague is increasing – as many villages still do not have purification plants!
And additionally the sea level is rising. Old people say that this phenomenon happens every fifty years. A poor consolation for the farmers on the shore who will lose their fields...
In the village of San Pedro progress has been made: motorcycles, trucks, tricycles and taxis for the tourists. At every second house there is something to be sold. So it is getting louder and the narrow paved roads and paths are not built for this increasing activity.
What about the foothills of the San Pedro volcano? In the poor shacks of the coffee pickers and labourers nothing has changed. The fathers earn about 50 Quetzales (5-6 Euro) a day, many of the women sell herbs, tortillas or fish on the market and buy food with the little money they earn.
This is hardly enough for a family with four to ten children. The children usually sleep on wooden boards and do not have enough blankets against the cold nights.
So the school breakfast which you sponsor, is a real blessing for these children! A warm, healthy meal made of beans, eggs and cheese or avocados, tomatoes or minced meat sauce, a warm tea or an oat drink. Tortillas are brought by the children themselves.
So thanks to your sponsorships the Bella Vista children will get their breakfast also this year. We started in the middle of January and hope to finance it until the end of the school year (end of October).
Please help us! A breakfast for one year costs 100 Euro, and in the name of all the children we say thank you to all sponsors!
The 30 individually sponsored pupils have passed on to the next class and I will report about that next time.
Surprisingly we got the following good news: the community of San Pedro is building a new elementary school in the midst of the coffee plantation! Since last August new big classrooms have been built and in about three months time the Bella Vista School will move into the new building. Then it will be all over with the old temporary facility, the mouldy walls, the water scarcity in kitchen and toilets, the leaking roofs where the water is dripping down during the rainy season and the plank walls where the wind was blowing through. Now the new school will have enough light and space so that the children can learn in a nice setting.
All the persistence and holding on to the Bella Vista School while lobbying the community of San Pedro in the last ten years have been rewarded: the children of the coffee pickers in Bella Vista, the poorest section of San Pedro, get their own school! It seems like a miracle to me, a real milestone!
Therefore I want to thank you all also in the name of the Bella Vista-children and their parents for your financial help during this time and your support in prayers – thanks from the bottom of my heart! Without you this could never have been possible. A special appreciation to Maria Fritz, founder of 'A school for us in Guatemala' (Eine Schule fuer uns in Guatemala e.V.) association for her tireless support and also to Rosi Skopp of the Michael Skopp Foundation. At last I thank my husband and my family for allowing me to go to Guatemala for so many times. Together we have achieved a lot. However, a playground, a kitchen and a sports ground are still missing. Until today unfortunately the community of San Pedro have refused to give money for that. But I am sure that we will find a good solution!
With happy regards from Guatemala,
Yours Jutta Christmann
P.S.: Please continue your support for the breakfast!