Fall Volunteers 2017

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We were very happy to welcome back Thrive Global for the second year! Participants came from all over the United States to join us- from Hawaii to the east coast. We worked on digging a trench for the pipes connected to the 42,500 gallon cistern underneath the library. We were able to build a “first flush” system to prepare it to collect rainwater for the coming dry season. This will be the first year the system is in place to really test our ability to store water for the whole dry season. After finishing the trench, Thrive Global helped us create many batches of cob for the walls of our administration building. The group also participated in dance portion of P.E. class with some of our middle school students and it was a blast. A big thanks to Thrive Global- we are so grateful for all of their hard work!!

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LeapNow is a gap year program in which student participants receive college credit for volunteering, competing assignments, and also later complete an internship abroad. At the end of September, the first LeapNow group joined us for a week and a half or so. Long Way Home was the group’s first stop out of a two-month tour of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. We really enjoyed being the first organization to welcome the students to Latin America. Throughout their time here, the group was working on creating designs on the walls of the administration building out of cob.  Though some students were initially unsure about working with cow poop, after just a few days they were all accustomed to it. We loved seeing the students grow even in just their time with us and hope that the rest of their journey was filled with wonderful experiences! This group also had lots of fun playing soccer with the owner of the hotel, Feliciano, and his team. Thanks to LeapNow for starting their adventure with us!

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So excited that we could finally host a Habitat for Humanity group! Although the group was only with use for one day, they were able to make an entire batch of cob and get it up on the walls of our future administration building! We really appreciated their enthusiasm and hope to work with them again soon!!

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This year the LeapNow crew was large enough to necessitate two Latin America groups. We felt very fortunate to get a double dose of LeapNow! Our second group of LeapNow students was a very motivated group of all women. They were champions of cob and made several batches throughout the week. They continued the cob designs for the outside walls of the administration building. Their timing was perfect as they also arrived just in time to spend Día de los Santos with us here in Comalapa. Our Construction Assistant Roberto was kind enough to show us around and explain the holiday and celebrations to us all. We visited the cemetery, flew kites, and enjoyed special foods like fiambre (a salad with beets and cold-cuts). The students also conducted interviews of several staff members for the curriculum portion of their program. It was great to have such insightful discussions about development work, tourism, and cultural norms. Thank you to LeapNow for two amazing groups of students!!

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Most recently we had the pleasure of working with Beth Am Youth Group for the second year in a row! It is rare to get groups of high school students, so we feel especially grateful to have this youth group. The group also does an excellent job of incorporating a social justice perspective and having discussions with the students about cultural sensitivity, community development, the importance of perspective, etc. It is clear that the experience has been transformative for the students and it is also very energizing and special for us here at Long Way Home. Over the weekend they were here, the group made a large batch of cob and was able to complete the first part of the river rock & cob wall inside the administration building. We were also very honored that they chose to spend Shabbat here in Comalapa and include us in the celebration. The chocolate chip & white chocolate chip challah turned out so delicious and it was a beautiful night. Thank you to Beth Am for their energy and thoughtfulness! We are already excited about next year!