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From old to new, Taquezal school opens for learning!

On July 25th, Enlace Project’s new intern Jesse and I took the journey up to Taquezal to attend the

inauguration of their new school, which was built in collaboration with Linking Hands for Learning, the Ministry of Education, and the Mayor’s Office of El Sauce. Jesse and I hopped in the back of our driver Pedro’s pickup truck to ride the bumpy road to Taquezal. The last time that I made this journey was in February with two pickup trucks full of participants from Linking Hands for Learning, our partners from the US that provided funding and came to Nicaragua to help construct the school.

At the site of the school in Taquezal, familiar friends and landscape greeted us. The same large ceiba tree shaded the truck as we parked, the same turkey fluffed his feathers if we got too close, and the same children that worked by our sides in February smiled when we caught their eyes. What was new was the completed, school adorned with blue and white ribbons and balloons for the occasion.

I had the special pleasure of representing Enlace Project and Linking Hands for Learning at the inauguration. I sat on the stage with distinguished guests, including the vice-mayor of El Sauce, an elder from the community, the school’s teacher, and the sub-director the several rural schools in the region that was the master of ceremonies.

The presentation included heartfelt words of gratitude to partners near and far, words of encouragement to the students present, and words of celebration about the beautiful school. The speakers talked about the history of educational development in the municipality of El Sauce and more specifically in Taquezal. Since 2011, Linking Hands for Learning has helped build 8 schools in rural communities of El Sauce. In Taquezal, determined educators and parents work hard to provide educational opportunities for their children. The vice-mayor used the word, “solidaridad” saying that this school is a tangible representation what can be accomplished through solidarity between local, municipal, and international partners. Speaking on behalf of Enlace Project and Linking Hands for Learning, I expressed gratitude to the members of the community of Taquezal for the outstanding intercultural friendship that we developed and shared during our week working together in February.

After a speech, a poem, and a dance from students of the school, the vice mayor placed the scissors in

my hands to cut the ribbon on the door of the school. After cutting the ribbon and fumbling with the lock on the door, the kids cheered and rushed past me into the new school.

In proportion with the spirit of celebration, there was not one, but two piñatas that the kids beat until candy christened the floor of their new school. I not only got a swing at the giant carrot, but also scooped up a few candies. As the inauguration ended, we shared a delish chicken dumpling soup with our fellow guests and exchanged stories of our travels to rural communities around El Sauce.

It was an honor to represent both Enlace Project and Linking Hands for Learning in this celebration of the fruits of hard work and a bright future for education in Taquezal. To everyone who made this project possible, we hope that these photos and stories convey the friendship, gratitude, and hospitality that we were able to experience at the inauguration.

Aside from photos and memories, we brought back something more from Taquezal. As I cut the ribbon, the vice-mayor told me to cut a piece of the ribbon to remember this school in Taquezal. I will carry this ribbon back to our friends at Linking Hands for Learning in the US as the tangible reminder of the vital partnership that built this school in Taquezal.

-Matt McClure

Here are some various photos from the days festivities:

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