Building airplanes in San Miguel

Working Through the Project

Students at San Miguel build airplanes

by Debra Des Vignes, volunteer

While serving as a short-term volunteer with Common Hope in Guatemala, Debra is keeping a travel blog about her experience. Below is an excerpt from her blog, about her afternoon at our partner school in San Miguel.

Tuesday afternoon, I joined a couple of volunteers from Chicago along with a translator and traveled to a school in San Miguel. The sixth grade students were eager to have us there. The three of us led a classroom project which was to paint and put together a toy airplane and helicopter.

It was interesting watching the children think through the process. Some painted the airplane exactly like the colors on the diagram, while others used their own creativity. One male student was so diligent in the process. His work was exemplary. The project also allowed me to converse in Spanish (the limited amount I know). One young girl who sat in the front of the class finished her airplane first, and her smile lit up the room.

The school hallways were filled with boys and girls wandering in and out of our classroom. One student waved as his younger brother walked by. There was no playground, nor lights in the classrooms. And there is no air conditioning, even in many of the hotels. There were a few maps in the hall and classroom.

I couldn’t help but wonder what these kids would grow up to be … an architect or an engineer? Sadly, statistics show the majority of these students won’t make it past the 6th grade. I couldn’t wrap my head around these kids going off to work and sell goods on the streets.

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