Our GardenFor lunch I had a grilled mushroom salad, courtesy of the El Hato garden. During vacation camp we planted an herb garden in a planter outside of the kitchen and some leafy greens in the flower garden at the school entrance. There was some local skepticism of whether vegetables should be planted near flowers, but since no good reason was presented for them not to be, we tried it anyway. Gloria, who lives across the street offered to water the garden during Christmas break.

Our GardenWe were welcomed on Monday with some beautiful heads of lettuce and some large, but mostly eaten kale plants. There must have been a very hungry caterpillar who thought these leaves were a Christmas gift. The mushroom house was abandoned for the break, but when we went to clean it out for the new year there was a lonely ½ pound bunch of mushrooms hanging around waiting to be harvested. Since the kitchen won’t be up and running for a few more weeks we decided to try the vegetables out ourselves.

Our GardenWithout much effort, what was once dry orange soil is becoming richer and more conducive to life. It feels really good to grow food and eat it. I have high hopes that the school garden will be contributing to the school breakfast this year.

-Salina

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

Our Garden

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Carpentry ClassI’ve been leading carpentry classes for the past month, and unexpectedly, it’s a lot like teaching yoga. You need to be present and focused. What is the alignment of the body in relationship to the tool? At what angle does the tool touch the wood?

I have always been the substitute teacher during times of teacher shortages. I can cover any course we offer, maybe not exactly the way it was intended to be, but I can put something together and it usually works out pretty well. When the carpentry teacher quit with only a few months left in the year and I asked around and couldn’t find a quick replacement, I panicked. How could I teach carpentry? I surely wasn’t qualified. I had never used a power tool. Then, I remembered that wasn’t true. I did use a jigsaw in 7th grade shop class and I recall enjoying it.

Carpentry ClassWith the help of Donald, a long-term Earth Lodge volunteer, the carpentry workshop could not have gone better. We all learned together. We each brought a small piece to the table. Donald has the carpentry experience and I have the teaching experience. Our students ranging in ages from 13 to 23 each come with their own skill set and experience.

The students help us with our Spanish and of course I like throw in some English. I’m impressed with the way the students work together and teach each other. The school year has now come to an end, but we’re all looking forward to 2016.

-Salina

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

Carpentry Class

FamiliasThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

En Guatemala decimos que nuestra primera escuela es la familia porque de ella dependen los valores aprendidos y practicados. Qué bonito es ver en nuestras instalaciones familias que se interesan por los niños de nuestra escuela y sobre todo que les enseñan a sus hijos a compartir.

En estos días recibimos la visita de dos familias, la familia Knaus de los Estados Unidos y la familia Wrench de Australia. Estas dos familias conocieron más acerca de nuestra labor y nuestra historia, compartieron clases con los niños y dejaron sus donaciones.

Gracias a estas familias y otras personas que nos han visitado por sus donaciones ya que con ellas los niños tienen la oportunidad de seguir adelante. Si usted desea visitarnos comuníquese con Salina Duncan lasmanosdc@gmail.com. Será un gusto tenerlo con nosotros.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

Families Visit Las Manos

In Guatemala we say that our first school is the family because that’s where we learn our values. It’s wonderful when families visit us and demonstrate their interest in the children in our school and above all teach their own children to share.

Recently we had visits from two families: the Knaus family from the United States and the Wrench family from Australia. These two families learned about our history and our work, shared classes with the children, and made donations to the school.

To these families and to other people who have visited us, we thank you for your donations, as it gives the children the opportunity to advance. And if you would like to visit us, contact Salina Duncan (lasmanosdc@gmail.com). We look forward to seeing you!

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

SERninaThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

Ser niña es una de las etapas más maravillosas de la mujer, es por ello que en nuestra biblioteca se está implementando el programa SERniña impartido por la canadiense Danielle quien con sus actividades y pláticas constructivas les da un espacio para expresarse libremente y sin temores.

SERninaSERniña es un programa de fortalecimiento que aborda problemas clave que afectan el auto-estima de las niñas guatemaltecas. El programa está dedicado a inspirar y guiar a las niñas a descubrir su verdadera naturaleza y desarrollar sus destrezas, conocimiento y confianza que necesitan para tomar decisiones de vida informada consistentemente desde un lugar de auto-conocimiento, respeto por sí mismas y fortaleza.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

SERninaSERniña

Being a girl is one of the most wonderful stages in the life of a woman, and for that reason we are running the program SERniña in our library. It is being taught by Danielle, a Canadian who, with the aid of constructive activities and conversations, is giving the girls a safe place to express themselves freely and without fear.

SERninaSERniña is an empowerment program that deals with key problems that affect the self-esteem of Guatemalan girls. The idea is to inspire and guide them to discover their true selves and to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to make life decisions informed by self-knowledge, self-respect and strength.

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

SERnina

Kermessa en la escuelaThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

La profesora Luisa Sánchez de educación física sueña con que sus alumnas participen por primera vez en un concurso de gimnasia rítmica que se realiza a nivel departamental y dar a conocer a la escuela José Ignacio Ortiz Vides que no es tomada en cuenta para esta y otras actividades.

Kermesse en la escuelaPor ello necesita recaudar fondos para cubrir los gastos que esta presentación requiere y realizó una kermesse en la escuela. En esta actividad los niños pudieron disfrutar de juegos, lotería, baile, comida, venta de ropa y cine.

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

Kermesse en la escuela

Charity Fair at the School

Physical education teacher Luisa Sánchez dreams that her students will participate for the first time in a rhythmic gymnastics competition that takes place at the regional level.  She hopes that someday the currently unknown school José Ignacio Ortiz Vides will be known for such accomplishments.

Kermesse en la escuelaTo realize her dream, Luisa needs to raise money to cover the expenses that such a presentation requires. For that reason, she held a charity fair at the school. In the fair, the children were able to enjoy games, a lottery, dance, food, a clothing sale, and movies.

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

Kermesse en la escuela

Kermesse en la escuela

Kermesse en la escuela

First Rythmic Gymnastics FestivalThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

Como parte de las actividades de educación física que se realizan en la escuela José Ignacio Ortiz Vides se llevó a cabo el primer festival de gimnasia rítmica nunca antes visto en la comunidad estudiantil.

En este primer festival participaron los niños de preprimaria y primaria donde demostraron sus destrezas corporales, ritmo y coordinación grupal e individual.

Felicitaciones a todos los participantes por la entrega y disciplina que en este primer festival mostraron y los exhortamos a que el próximo año superen la calidad de este primer festival.

-Alejandra Shoc (who also acted as one of the judges of the event)

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

First Rythmic Gymnastics Festival

First Rhythmic Gymnastics Festival

As part of the physical education program of José Ignacio Ortiz Vides, the El Hato public school, the first rhythmic gymnastics festival ever seen in the student community was held.

First Rythmic Gymnastics FestivalThe children of pre-primary and primary school participated in this first festival, in which they demonstrated physical skill, rhythm, and both group and individual coordination.

First Rythmic Gymnastics FestivalCongratulations to the participants for the dedication and discipline that you showed in this festival. We encourage you to reach even higher heights next year.

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

First Rythmic Gymastics Festival

PeteThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

Aunque no vive en el país este voluntario forma parte de nuestro equipo. Pete visitó por primera vez las instalaciones de Las Manos de Christine hace tres años como voluntario en la escuela de vacaciones y luego nos apoyó en el primer festival que se realizó para recaudar fondos.

Desde entonces parece que quedó cautivado por la ternura y simpatía de los niños de El Hato y por la labor que realizamos con ellos y por ellos. Ahora Pete cada vez que viene al país realiza su voluntariado aquí y ya es conocido por maestros, alumnos y la comunidad. Además nos apoya con nuestra página en internet.

PetePersonalmente puedo decir que es una persona muy inteligente, amigable e investigadora porque no se queda con la duda de nada, así que primero investiga o pregunta para emitir su criterio.

Además de estas cualidades cuenta con la paciencia necesaria para enseñar y ayudar a los niños y jóvenes. Entonces parece ser que Pete encontró en Guatemala una razón para siempre volver…

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

PetePete McManus

Although he doesn’t live in Guatemala, this volunteer is a part of our team.  Pete visited the facilities of Las Manos de Christine for the first time three years ago, working as a volunteer in our summer school and helping us with the first Las Manos Fest fundraiser.

Since then it seems that he has become captivated by the affection and friendliness of the children of El Hato and by the work we perform with them and for them. Now, each time Pete comes to Guatemala he volunteers here and is known and recognized by the teachers, students and community. Additionally, he helps us with our internet site.

Personally I can say that he is a person who is intelligent, friendly and investigative, because he doesn’t leave questions unsettled; first he investigates and inquires, then he gives his opinion.

Besides these qualities, he has the patience necessary for teaching and helping children and youth. And so, it seems that Pete has found in Guatemala a reason to keep returning …

-Alejandra Shoc (translated with both pride and embarrassment by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

Pete

RACHELThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

Como parte de las actividades bibliotecarias que se están implementando está el uso de RACHEL, una biblioteca digital que despliega una gran variedad de contenido educativo sin necesidad de conexión a internet.

Por el momento los estudiantes han indagado el programa para que individualmente despierten el interés y la curiosidad del contenido del mismo y posteriormente se estarán haciendo actividades específicas de cada uno de los contenidos del programa para implementar el uso adecuado de cada uno.

Lo que más ha gustado de este programa han sido los juegos educativos y la dificultad más grande que se ha presentado es el manejo de las computadoras ya que para algunos es la primera vez que utilizan una y al resto les falta práctica.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

Using the computersUsing RACHEL

One of the library activities that is being promoted is the use of RACHEL, a digital library that offers a huge variety of educational content without the need for an internet connection.

For now, we have simply encouraged the students to investigate the program in order to awaken their interest and curiosity about it. Later we will be doing specific projects with each capability of the RACHEL system so that the students can master each one.

So far, the educational games have been the most popular part of RACHEL. Meanwhile, the most difficult aspect of using it has been the general use of computers, given that this is the first time some students have used one and the others still need a lot of practice.

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

AlexandraThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

Un lindo nombre para una linda persona que a pesar de ser adolescente se preocupa por ayudar al prójimo. Alexandra se caracteriza por su simpatía, educación y colaboración que brinda cada vez que nos visita y en su última estadía ayudó con dos cajas que contenían juegos, libros y enciclopedias para la biblioteca.AlexandraEsta joven se toma su tiempo para poder realizar con amigos y familiares recolectas para nuestra institución y cada vez que viene al país realiza voluntariado con nosotros.

A los padres de Alexandra nuestro agradecimiento por apoyarla y permitirle realizar este tipo de actividades y felicitaciones por inculcarle valores que la hacen una excelente persona.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

AlexandraAlexandra …

A beautiful name for a beautiful person who, despite being an adolescent, concerns herself with helping other people. Alexandra is characterized by the friendliness, education and contributions that she brings each time she visits us. In her latest visit she helped with two boxes that contained toys, books and encyclopedias for the library.

This young woman takes the time to hold collection drives for Las Manos with her friends and family, and each time she comes to Guatemala she works here as a volunteer.

We thank Alexandra’s parents for supporting her and permitting her to do these things, and we congratulate them for teaching her the values that make her such an excellent person.

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

Alexandra

The libraryThis blog entry was written by Las Manos librarian and teacher Alejandra Shoc.  A translation can be found below it.

La lectura y escritura son herramientas indispensables en la vida de todo ser humano y aunque parezca increíble El Hato todavía es una comunidad que lucha contra el analfabetismo estando apenas a diez minutos de la Antigua Guatemala una de las principales ciudades del país.

Por analfabetismo, falta de interés y lo caro que resulta para las familias comprar un libro en vez de comida, Las Manos De Christine tomó la iniciativa de crear una biblioteca que sea accesible no solo para estudiantes sino para la comunidad en sí.

The libraryEl año pasada gracias a las donaciones recibidas y la ayuda de varios voluntarios se comenzó con una clasificación de libros de forma fácil y sencilla para que todos sepan utilizarlos, y hoy, la biblioteca no solo cuenta con libros de donaciones recibidas por parte de Las Manos de Christine sino también cuenta con libros y donaciones de libros que recibe la escuela José Ignacio Ortiz Vides.

De esta manera y con una organización que diferencia los libros de la escuela con los libros de Las Manos, la biblioteca ha crecido enormemente y beneficiando a todo aquel que de ella necesita.

Dentro de las actividades que en la biblioteca se realizan están el préstamo de libros, préstamo de computadoras para investigación, préstamo de enciclopedias y libros de investigación, clases de inglés, clases bibliotecarias, arte, préstamo de juegos y juguetes, talleres, voluntariado, entre otros.

Gracias a los donadores y voluntarios extranjeros y nacionales podemos presumir de una biblioteca debidamente organizada y en crecimiento.

-Alejandra Shoc

Para ayudar a Las Manos a ayudar a la comunidad de El Hato, sea voluntario con nosotros cuando esté en Antigua, o visite nuestro sitio web para donar.

The libraryThe Library!!!

Reading and writing are indispensable tools for all people and although it might seem incredible, El Hato is still a community that struggles against illiteracy even though it is only ten minutes from Antigua, one of the main cities of Guatemala.

Because of illiteracy, lack of interest and the high cost of buying books when families can barely afford to buy food, Las Manos de Christine took the initiative in creating a library that is accessible not only to students but also to the community itself.

The libraryLast year, thanks to donations received and to the help of various volunteers, we introduced a new method of classifying the library books. Easily implemented, everyone knows how to use this simple method. Now the library not only has books donated to Las Manos de Christine but also houses the books of and donated directly to the El Hato public school, José Ignacio Oritz Vides.

The system incorporates a way to distinguish the books owned by the school from those owned by Las Manos, and so has grown enormously, benefitting everyone who needs it.

The library is now the center of many activities, including: the lending of books; the lending of computers for research; the lending of encyclopedias and other reference works; English classes; library classes; art projects; the lending of games and toys; workshops; etc. It also serves as the headquarters for the activities of volunteers.

Thanks to the donors and volunteers, both foreign and local, we can boast a properly-organized and growing library.

-Alejandra Shoc (translated by Pete McManus)

Help Las Manos help the El Hato community.  Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.

The library