So where to being? Firstly, beginning in mid-October we had the arrival of The Pulsera Project. This organisation from the States came over to view the work of the boys we work with who make friendship bracelets – ‘pulseras’ (which get more and more creative and amazing with every pulsera).
As a result of that trip, now the pulseras made by the local boys are being sent to the USA and sold in schools around the country. La Choza Chula has gone worldwide which has only spurred the boys on, most notably with Jose who was able to buy a surf board this month with his earnings. The project shows the boys how to make a living from their talents, how to work hard and save up for things they want.
A week later everything kicked off as numerous projects all came to life at the same time. Madeline Beddoe arrived on November the 3rd and trained 3 local woman, Mildred, Sandra and Angelina to make surf board bags and yoga mat bags out of a variety of materials.
The ladies quickly put their skills to the task and by the end of the week were selling yoga mat bags to travellers in El Paredon. This Bag Project has since expanded to making shoulder bags, laptop cases, Ipod/phone cases and more, with other ideas in the pipeline. The ladies are doing an amazing job and it’s exciting to see the project develop and where it can go. And, if you want to buy one yourself, just head over to our shop and have a look!
And of course, whilst this was going on there was the biggest project of them all: the construction of a secondary school in El Paredón. For twenty five years a new school in El Paredón has been but a dream, yet finally La Choza Chula, with the help of Surf for Life, have made this possible. Each week for 6 weeks, between 9-12 volunteers came to El Paredón to help the local workers in the construction of the school.
Each volunteer raised money to help construct the school as well as participate in the cultural immersion programme we offered. This involved cookery with a local family, a mangrove tour and helping run educational activities in our library.
The main building for the school is close to completion however there still remains so much more to be done, not least an extra building where the school offices will be based. Here is a video outlining the next phase and how you too can get involved and help leave a lasting impact here in El Paredon!
Whilst all this has been going on, the library has kept rolling on and is currently being prepared for the new school year to begin. Doctor Zeuss characters currently align the walls and are bringing the imaginations of the children to life.
To finish we would like to pay tribute to the passing of Ajay Ojah here in El Paredon. Ajay was a Surf for Life volunteer who came out to help make a difference and positively impact the children of El Paredon. On November 10th, after spending the morning working on the school, Ajay went out for a swim in the ocean and tragically lost his life. He was a lovely man and everyone who had the pleasure to work with him that week only spoke glowingly of his attitude, application and general persona. He was so encouraging and supportive of the project and as a result the future Computer Lab will be completed in his name. We offer our deepest condolences to friends and family and all who were lucky enough to meet Ajay. He left a huge last impression on all whom met him and may he rest in peace.