Some days, it seems like a very long road to the day Project Somos can receive children in the Village of Chivarabal. We are often asked, “When are you going to have kids there?”
Some days Heather Alicia and I find ourselves in some degree of discouragement and impatience at the laundry list of tasks to complete to be able to receive those homeless children – which, by the way, is why we have invested the last years and our energy in this Project.
We are reminded by friends and family, who know the Project, we have come an incredible distance since we started construction in May 2011 and we “should” be pleased. Some days yes, some days no. On those “no days”, I have to remind myself of the collateral benefits on the journey to receive these children needing a family. It has become very clear that the journey is important and what happens along the way is not to be underestimated.
It would be impossible for us not to have some impact on our location and the Maya residents of the Village of Chivarabal. We have worked to build a harmonious and productive relationship with the mayor and council and our neighbours. We have facilitated supplying tile floors and paint for the local school, have regular kid’s day organized by our volunteers, employ 12 local workers, and have begun an agricultural land share program.
In the town of Tecpan, 8 kms from the Village, we have our Somos guest and admin house and have hosted over 200 volunteers in the last two years. 50 more students will visit in the next two months. Volunteers have pumped thousands of tourist dollars into the local economy, only topped by spending done directly by Project Somos to purchase materials, supplies and tools to build the Children’s Village. We just finished hosting a TV film crew of 30 from Canada that was filming a reality show. Their economic impact to the town of Tecpan was over fifty thousand dollars.
We have enlisted the assistance of 6000 Guatemalan school children to make eco-bricks by filling empty plastic pop bottles with plastic garbage, discarded in the streets and canyons, to use in our family homes of Project Somos. They feel proud to assist us to provide a home for orphaned and abandoned children. The sustainable design of the family homes created by a brilliant, young Guatemalan architect. Her design is an inspiration to her fellow Guatemalans that visit us.
We are here simply to provide opportunities for orphaned and abandoned children, to activate that incredible brilliance and compassion that could be lost without being offered a chance. Project Somos is leveraging its privilege as Canadian to give kids a hand up, not a handout. The need is immense and it is visible everywhere. It can be overwhelming.
We are impatient to open our doors to these deserving kids, and I have to remind myself on this road to receiving children, Project Somos is active every day in providing opportunities to many people here. We need to be aware and grateful for the journey and not miss the daily opportunities to offer opportunities as they present themselves. Yes, the destination is the Children’s Village with 49 orphaned and abandoned children and yes, the journey to reach that goal has simple, yet awesome humanitarian possibilities.