When it comes to working on community development projects, such as rural school construction, the old English proverb, "Two heads are better than one." holds true. However, over the last few years, the Enlace Project has observed that the more fitting expression would be “More hands are better than none.”
Linking Hands for Learning, formally known as Avon for Nicaragua, is a group composed of volunteers and families from New York, who fundraise the building of local primary schools in the municipality of El Sauce, Nicaragua. This month, the Enlace Project and Linking Hands for Learning began the construction of our fifth school, in a community called Piedra de Agua Arriba. With joined hands and a lot of community spirit, the walls of the school are going up quickly.
Leader of the Piedra de Agua Arriba community, don Luis, was filled with emotions while he watched members of his community assist the volunteers of the school project. “This project is something our community never expected, but despite all of the difficulties we have had, we still stand united to work together with our new friends to build this new school for our youth.”
There is a uniform feeling of excitement and pride emanating from all the members involved in the construction of the new school. A Linking Hands for Learning volunteer stated, "It is truly something wonderful, watching the youth of two countries come together to build a school. The power of education is a beautiful thing that is reflected in learning experiences like this; it warms my heart to be a part of such a life changing project."
Students of the community held a town meeting to extend their gratitude and appreciation to the Linking Hands for Learning team. Twelve year old Ana Yansi opened up the meeting with an emotionally filled thank you. “I am very grateful for everything you all have done for us. I am so happy to have this new school where we won’t have to be in fear that it may fall down upon us.”
Ten year old Dayling Vanessa Torrez Castilla expressed her appreciation for the volunteers’ time and hard work in a slightly different fashion – she gave a hug to each and every volunteer involved in the creation of the school. Although the labor of school construction may be difficult at times, seeing a community joined together in thanks makes everything worthwhile.
Linking Hands for Learning will return to Piedra de Agua Arriba next month for the completion of the schoolhouse and the construction of a latrine. Restoration and re-painting of the old school building are also in the plans for March. What was once a one room school house for over 20 students will now become a preschool for the community; a stronger, safer building where children can start their educational careers without fear of hazardous conditions or weather related disasters.