Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Computer Classes To Start In Janurary.

Thanks to a donation by one of our supporters we now have four beautiful computers which will be installed in a newly remolded room adjacent to the library. The room should be ready in the first week of the new year.
Thank you Paul and please keep reading the blog.

We have now broken through the wall doubleing the size of library. This new room is where we will install the new computers.

Twas The Day Before Christmas....And The Last Day Of Classes Until Jan. 5th.

Today is Christmas Eve and before we closed for the day we sang a few Christmas songs in English and Spanish. Greg, a volunteer from Canada provided the music.
After the songs we had wrapped presents for all the kids and asked them to open them at home. I did not know they would take this idea, but was pleasantly surprised that all most all left the school with the wrapping in tact. There was a few holes punched into the wrappers but that was that.


Re-cycling Contest Has Started

When Yannick had to leave, Michael from the UK took over as Re-cycling director.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas Program Was A Big Hit.

The big day arrived with a sky full of clouds and it looked like it would rain at any time; however, by 10:00 the sky was clearing and it was another buitiful day here at Katitawa. As usual the program, although slated to begin at 10, finally got underway around 11:30.

There was a mass scheduled to start the program, but the priest apparently had something better to do and we started without him. Sam, one of the volunteers from the USA who had left a few weeks eariler, came back for the presentation. He served a local beverage to the guests while they were waiting.
Some of the invited guests were from a preschool that is operated by the state and occupies the same complex where we house the volunteers. They were getting a little bored waiting since the group arrived by truck right on time.
The first part of the was a re-enactment of the event that that a large part of the world celebrates every year....The birth of Jesus.
Joseph and Mary arrive at the inn only to find that there was no room. They were advised that they could staye in the stable with the sheep which they accepted.
Later that evening Mary gave birth to a child and an angel appeared announcing that a child was born and was the son of God.
Mary appears in the stable and says, "His name is Jesus."
It isn't long before the kings arrive looking for the star. They see it on top of the stable and bring in their gifts.
A short time later a cow comes bringing some milk. A chicken with some eggs, and a lamb with some wool.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Danish Tourists visit Katitawa

A few weeks ago a busload of tourists from Denmark visited the school. They were impressed by what they saw, and one even left a cash donation.
After talking with a volunteer, the man in the center volunteered his daughter. I told him that she would be welcome. So, If you read this blog....This is just a reminder.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Look For The Football Pitch

A few weeks ago now, a couple of guys, (Michael and Kit), from the UK, decided to revamp the football pitch……For those from the US, that would be “the soccer Field. The goals are now more realistic for the size of the field
and can be removed when we install basketball hoops, to make the space more versatile. We will also include a removable volley ball net in the center as Ecuavoly, a game played with three players on each side, is popular all over Ecuador.
Louise, another volunteer from the UK is weaving one of the nets to give pitch an official look. Kit, the co-designer and grounds-keeper stops by with Sam, a Volunteer from the USA, and discusses the urgency of the job because of the big game scheduled for 1:30. Kit asks Sam to learn the fine arts of netmaking from Louise and get started on the net at the other end of the pitch.

It is almost 1:30, and the big game between Ecuador and Japan is about to start.

The National Anthem has been sung.
The fans in the bleachers are ready.

The teams are ready.

The Ref has his instructions....

And is ready for the toss of the coin to see what goal and whatever else they decide.



And the game is on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Library Will Have A New Address

The library has been painted and it looks wonderful…..A big difference from what it looked like when we moved in. There are two things that we would like to accomplish before we make the move from Salasaca Central.

1. Install a gas heater to keep the humidity down and the temperature level. At present it feels like a damp basement. Not good for the books or serious study. There is one window in the room that gives you a view of the stair-well that leads to the second level. We will install the heater in the stair-well with a vent to the library. Since we have installed good lighting in the room we will block off the rest of the view.

2. The floors in the two downstairs rooms are rough cement. The only problem with this is that it is difficult to clean and the dust that comes in from the road is a problem and when you sweep it just stirs it up. Since it will be a major problem for the library we decided to tile the room before moving the books. This we hope to accomplish this week so that we can move the books on the weekend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Quarters Are Working Out Well

The volunteers are now in the new quarters in the community of Manguiwa, about two KM southwest of Salasaca central. By the end of the month we will also move the library to the same building.

This past two weeks have been spent, cleaning, painting and moving into the new location which except for the on-again-off-again water supply, has proved to be great and everyone is happy.
The surrounding landscapes are beautiful. A view of Tungurahua is seen through the kitchen window on occasion and views of Ilinisa, Cotapoxi and Chimborazo are available from the roof….When they choose to present themselves. The sunsets from the roof are also available for viewing 50% of the time. You rarely saw them from the downtown location.

There is one distinct advantage for the location….No more Pedro, who woke everyone each morning, anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30 with his daily announcements, always starting with an “Alo”. The only exception was when there had been a death in the village and then, you were awakened to Simon and Garfunkel`s, “The sound of silence”.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Annual Christmas Program Will Be Presented On Thursday, December 18th.

Anyone who is in the area at this time we urge you to attend.


The raffle has been cancelled. The donated television met with an early death when it fell off the bed that it was resting on while waiting for its new owner. The details go like this: When I picked up the TV I brought it to Salasaca and asked one of the volunteers to move it up to the extra bed in my room. At 5:00 AM, I awoke and remembered another incident that happened ten years ago. I had put a computer monitor on a bed and in a few hours it rolled off. I got up and found the TV in the same spot that it had been in all night but to be safe I moved it to the center of the bed. In no more than five minutes I heard a crash and found the poor Sony on the floor, its case in pieces.

The moral of the storey....don't put a front-heavy TV a foam mattress. At least sitting upright with it's face facing the edge of the bed. It took me two times to learn this, but now I have it firm in my brain.

We will return the money to those who have purchased tickets with a big thank you for your support.

Recently a used television was donated to the school. We decided to see if we could parlay this into some urgently needed funds and we believe we could do this with a raffle. We will add twenty surprise gifts to the pot and have the drawing at the school during the Christmas Program.

A thought occurred to me that maybe some of the past volunteers who read this blog would like to buy a ticket or five in the name of some of their past students. A favorite perhaps or one that particularly grabbed your heart. It would help the school and may bring a little joy to a person who is not accustomed to getting gifts at Christmas. Perhaps there is also someone out there who has never been here and would like to participate....You are also welcome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Future Projects

Sofie, a recent volunteer created these drawings of a couple of future projects that we would like to undertake.

The first is in no way urgent but something we would like to do to make the to the school entrance beautiful and special.

The second is more urgent in terms of need. The first drawing is what the area looks like now. The sandy area in front is made up of volcanic ash mixed with fine sand. And when it has not rained for a day or so, is a inexhaustible source of dust which is tracked and blown into the classrooms on both levels.
The lower level houses a small classroom to the right and a bathroom.

This is what this area will look like in the next few months when we hope to have sufficient funds to complete.
On the lower level we will have one more bathroom and two new classrooms which will be the same size as the one at the far right.

This will solve two problems....Less dust and more space.

Both of these projects will be completed with volunteer labor from both the parents and the volunteers. The only expense will be the materials.

Thank you Sofie for your help.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rufino Masaquiza Rejoins The Staff At Katitawa.

Rufino Masaquiza was teaching as a volunteer here at Katitawa when the school was first started more than 10 years ago.

Today, thanks to a donation from one of the readers of this blog who has guaranteed the salary for one year, we were able to bring him back to the benefit of a new generation.

Rufino will be teaching once again Kichwa, traditional music, arts and crafts.

Welcome back.

Illiniza Sur.....Showed its self.

Illiniza Sur, about 55 Km southwest of Quito was visiable on the walk to school a few days ago. Illiniza is a dormat stratovolcano and is 5,246 meters elevation.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sumak Kawsay Yachay Will Have A New Home.

The foundation Sumak Kawsay Yachay will have a new home. Click on the title of this post for the rest of the story.

New Headquarters For Sumak Kawasay Yachay

Today we started to clean our new headquarters for SKY. We anticipate to be moved in by the 26th of October.

The building is located in the barrio of Mangiwa de Katitawa, which is the barrio where the Katitawa School is located. The building belongs to the community and has been vacant for some time.
Marcelo Masaquiza, the president of the community offered the building to the foundation, in recognition of the work that we have been doing at the school, which can be used as needed. All we need to do is pay for the electricity and water. In the coming year there may be a small fee....Not to exceed $50 per month.
We plan to use the second leval to house the volunteers and the lower leval will be the new home of the Rosa Maria Library- We will also have space for our afternoon English classes and after school "Homework" help for students who live in Salasaca and need a little extra help in various subjects.

We will also offer a high speed Internet connection for use of the community. The only other Internet service available is a very slow connection in Salasaca Central. There will be a small usage fee to help cover the cost of the satellite connection. At the present time we have one rather newish computer and one six years old. As soon as we have the funds available we will expand the service.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Katitawa Recycling Center Is Open For Business.

Every once in a while we get a volunteer who wants to do something and they just can't be stopped. Jannick from France is one. He saw a great deal of recyclable material littering the road that we traveled each morning and asked if he could get the kids involved in a recycling project here at the school. Remembering a past project where we ended up with a room full of trash and nowhere to get rid of it....I said sure, as long as we have all the bases covered so that we can complete the cycle.

Yannick did his research well and told me that he was told of a place in Ambato that may accept plastic, which is the biggest problem. I said "that's wonderful", Jannick said, "when can we check it out?". I said, "maybe next week". Yannick said, "which day?". I said, "maybe Wednesday"- The next Tuesday, Yannick asked, "tomorrow, right? So we went. That is not exactly the conversation as he was a little more persistent.

The visit to the recycling center was a whole lot more productive than we had imagened. They take about 20 different kinds of trash and will even pick it up at the school. We may even end up making a little proffit for some project that will be decided once we see how successful we will be.

The next step is to create a place to store the material so that it does not look like a collection of trash. Again....Every day Jannick's questions were the same. Where can we build it and when can we start. He was a man on a mission. We decided on an unused area at the end of the dining room and he went to work.
Jannick recuited Paul, from Holland and Diana from the USA, who were here for a short time, to give hime a hand.



The place is not 100% finished, however this is Jannick's last day and he took the kids out for their first collection trip. They came back with five large bags of trash which now will be sorted and bagged. What was trash when laying on the side of the roadm is now product and who know what it will become in its next life.

Jannick was not planning on leaving for another three months, the government changed some rules and he had to be out of the country in two days. Visitors from all countries can now visit Ecuador without a visa, but as of a few weeks ago they can only stay for a maximum of 90 days per year where it used to be 180.

I had heard nothing of this new regulation until Yannick went to BaƱos to have his passport stamped for the second 90 days and they told him that he had to leave the country by the 13th. So we lost a volunteer who in seven weeks made a difference here and everyone will miss him.

I promised him that we would finish the center and keep the program going....And we will. Thank you Yannick.

It's Yannick's Time To Say Goodbye....Sooner than expected.

Yannick's last day.



The letters and gifts are presented.


The traditional "Thank You" speach by Luis


The "Goodbyes" have been said....And the school bus is leaving.