Volunteer group Linking Hands for Learning returned this month to complete the construction of the rural primary school in the community of Piedra de Agua Arriba. The community members, especially the youth, could not be happier to be nearing the final stages of the project.
The group was welcomed back to the small community with hugs and smiles. The children were very touched by the last visit Linking Hands for Learning made back in February; for they formed new relationships with their North American visitors and couldn't wait for the second group to arrive. Neither language, nor cultural barrios could restrict these students from sharing the experience of making international friends. It was a beautiful sight for all involved to see the kids playing sports, reading books, trying to hold conversations, and putting their hands together to build and paint the new schoolhouses.
Thanks to the work of the first group’s visit, when the group arrived, the primary schoolhouse had already been completed and was ready for painting. While some volunteers took on that task, others worked to knock down the preexisting schoolhouse and rebuild it to be used as a preschool. However, some of the hardest work was being done on the outskirts of the property, where volunteers and local community men took turns digging a two meter deep trench for the latrine.
A lot of progress was made in the one week visit of the group including the completion of the primary school. To celebrate this success Enlace Project, Linking Hands for Learning, and the entire community of Piedra de Agua Arriba joined in the new building to share words of gratitude and appreciation. The experience of the project had proved to be a very emotional event in the lives of each person involved.
Community leader don Luis Rocha asked one of the fathers of the community to speak on behalf of the families of the children who will benefit from the new schools. With a beautiful presentation of heartfelt words he shared with the group that in honor of their profound gratitude the community has decided to name the schoolhouse, "Brothers of New York"; representing the family-like bonds that were formed during the course of the project.
Following the ceremony, everyone gathered to dance for the piñata. It is a Nicaraguan tradition that participants not only be blindfolded but that they must also dance while trying to make contact with the piñata. The party then continued with music, cake, punch, and a lot of dancing and laughter.
A good time was had by all. So much so that no one wanted the festivities to come to an end. It was a tearful scene when the group had to say their goodbyes, but promises were made for future visits, and comfort was found in the reminder that they are all now like family and that the volunteers will always have a special place in the heats of the community.