I recently traveled to Nicaragua with Project Schoolhouse (PSH) for the very first time, spending several days of hiking through the lush Nicaraguan jungle and bonding with the warm people who call this place home. The inauguration of our most recent school, Tawa, was a celebration like no other.
Arriving in the back of a pickup truck, our guests of honor jumped on horseback to start the parade into Tawa. Locals lined the dirt road leading to the school. After a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the large group of guests rushed past the gates, and with great anticipation, headed down the long sidewalk into the school.
It is always breathtaking to see a PSH school for the first time as they are undoubtedly the most solid structures for miles around. Tawa school was our most innovative design yet. It is almost fully transparent, front to back, due to the advanced window design by a group of talented Rice University engineering students. These new windows can not be broken or broken into, will not rust, and provide the school with a flexible and natural ventilation system. I’m so proud of the partnership PSH is building with Rice.
At the ceremony, groups of young dancers entertained the crowd, blessing the school with their choreographed performances. Speeches were made by local officials and a picnic “feast” was served.
The fact that this celebration was the biggest event of the year, signals the pride the community has in the school. Many of the students are hiking miles each day to attend class..
Prior to their new schoolhouse, these students dealt with leaky roofs, muddy floors and sweltering classrooms – a huge distraction to the learning environment. The difference between the old and new is night and day. Seeing the before and after made it evident why attendance often doubles with the opening of a new school and sixth grade graduation dramatically increases too.
The children are hungry to learn. Even small things like coloring, reading a book, or playing a game, are met with enthusiasm from kids from toddler to teenager.
Seeing the direct impact of Project Schoolhouse’s work gave power to the promises I’d worked for and shared with others. Making a gift to PSH, whether time, money or materials, matters. Know what you do and what you share with Project Schoolhouse is celebrated with learning and laughter each day.
By Evan Morgan, PSH Board Member