Surf development

surfagain

There have been some exciting, positive, local-led developments in the small surf community here in El Paredón. The local surfers have grouped together to start a SURF CLUB for the younger members. This involves training them, starting a board-rental rota system, holding local surf competitions and making sure they are not skipping school to go surfing. I managed to get some funding to buy a couple of boards from a lovely Canadian couple Meg and Scott who came to El Paredon and wanted to help the local community. At the moment there are 10 young surfers sharing 4 boards so they could do with a few more but it’s a great start. They pay Q1 a session to hire the board (about 12p) which contributes to paying for damages, wax etc.

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It would be amazing to get some sponsors for these guys – some of whom could become pro surfers if they had the right backing. Not having money prevents them from having the right equipment, being able to travel and stay at competitions. They also lack the learning tools other surfers have – videos, surf magazines etc.

The guys organised a surf competition a few weeks ago which gave lots of energy and motivation to the young surfers. It was also good training for the national competition in Iztapa – although the waves were huge, some of the local guys did really well.

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This is development at its best – young locals working together, motivating themselves to make a  really positive change to the community.

There are angels

‘Good morning, I stumbled upon your page while looking for a place to vacation in Guatamala. My questions for you are do you take donations for your school and do you allow visitors. If my wife and I go to El Paredon on vacation we would enjoy stopping by’

Larry found my blog by accident in June. He was researching a holiday to the Carribean island of Antigua and instead he found Antigua, Guatemala and our education project in El Paredon. Three days ago, he and his wonderful wife Wenona said an emotional goodbye to us and the kids from La Choza Chula after a 6 day holiday, leaving us with over $3000 worth of equipment and materials for the school, the workshop and the local community.

Larry’s enthusiasm for our project had rubbed off on his colleagues over the months preceding his trip and slowly they came to him with surprising amounts of money: ‘I didn’t even need to shame them, they just wanted to help!’

And it is incredible what he and the Men’s Church Group of Illinois and lots more anonymous donators have enabled us to buy:

A projector for us to play films and photos to the kids. Here is the moment when we showed them the projector and photos from the project. This is the first time some of the kids have ever seen photos of themselves:

 

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Books for the school for the teachers to be able to teach their subjects properly. Before they had no books. They are over the moon. And it will have a serious impact on teaching standards.

 

Also for the school: a photocopier and lots of paper (priceless), calculators, marker pens, 2 internet modems (the children currently have no internet access).

For La Choza Chula workshop: a superb digital camera, 2 vices, 2 hammers, safety goggles (the latest fashion accessory in the workshop)

For the community: a football and pump, sunglasses for Daniel (who loved Larry’s glasses so he left them) and a goody bag for Maria from a little girl the same age in Illinois. In response, Maria sent back this traditional dress for her new penpal.

And there is still money left over! Which we will spend on more books for the school, world maps, storage for the workshop and more! We have so many new ideas and this money will enable to us to achieve some of our visions.

Larry and Wenona’s visit was much more than what they physically brought us though. They are warm, affectionate, loving, generous, funny people who were great company for both us and all the kids they met and got to know. Larry and Wenona enjoyed the impromptu screening and performance event put on by the kids on Sunday night and the friendliness of the community towards them.

‘This Sunday was the best day of any day on any holiday we have ever had’ (Larry)

The kids are asking us daily ‘when is Larry coming back?’ and they have decided between themselves that they will be back for Christmas. In a very short time, they became part of the community and will be talked about for years to come. THANK YOU SO MUCH from El Paredon.

Ah little handmade notebooks how I have missed thee

Yesterday I went to Edinburgh.

And got caught in the Fruitmarket Gallery Bookshop. Got caught with saucer eyes over all the amazing books and notepads and stuff to make  – stuff you would never EVER find in Guatemala. Because people there just don’t have the money for all this stuff you don’t really need to survive. But it all looked and felt and smelt so nice.

So I got a bit overexcited and bought some things to inspire our project and the kids out there (and me and Carla):

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Cut Out and Make Menagerie animals by Alice Melvin and her beautiful book The High Street, Tree of Life block puzzle by Charley Harper (which we can make a version of out of wood blocks in El Paredon), How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever by Linda Scott (for getting the kids to think about using text as art) and the most exciting of all, Waterlife by Rambharos Jha – gorgeous folk paintings of fish which use detailed pen techniques almost like aboriginal art. And a lovely little handmade notebook.

I then wandered into little boutique gift shops on Cockburn St and Victoria St to get inspiration for displaying our products in El Paredon, especially good The Red Door Gallery,  with lots of Scottish work. I liked how they displayed earrings on bits of recycled card:

   

The nice girl there told me where to find good cheap Indian food, food I have been craving for the last 3 months.

Cafe Mother India. Fresh crispy onion bhaji, succulent lamb sag, buttery peshwari naan. And a pint of beer. All for me. No compromises on what to have. And I sat alone, the first meal alone in months, absorbing the atmosphere of a buzzy restaurant feeling quite content reading my book about bubble writing.

PS: I LOVE this typography I saw on a sandwich shop

Cake face

 

Today was Carla’s birthday.

We had a party. Surprise balloons. Musical statues on the street. Lots of cake, which Carla had to stick her face in. Kids going mad on fizzy drinks, a marching band fresh from practice. Fishcakes for dinner.

And we said goodbye to our friends:

– Bianca who will be taking over our projects during September, when Carla and I come back to the UK to refresh, see friends and family and think about La Choza Chula (the new name for our workshop – ‘the cool shack’) Part Two

– Oliver and Lynn – environmentalists who became surf buddies and laughing buddies and who made frames in our workshop to hang our jewellery using special knots

Happy Birthday Carla! You rock girl! xx

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