Building Kitchens and Lasting Relations
“We are thankful and now have faith and trust in the organization of ViviendasLeon because they make the dreams of Guatemalan children a reality.”
Since early April 2019, ViviendasLeón has been carrying out a project in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, in collaboration with Mil Milagros and Vivamos Mejor. This project seeks to support the work of these organizations by building school kitchens and classrooms in an effort to address nutrition, education, early childhood development, and hygiene for mothers and children in the Mayan highlands of Guatemala
Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of child malnutrition in the world, and the chronic malnutrition rate is considerably higher in rural areas. By improving the conditions of school kitchens, we are ensuring that these children have access to regular, nutritious meals and that the mothers and grandmothers who cook them are doing so in a safe and hygienic environment.
We are proud to say that considerable progress has been made on this project by our volunteers and community members, consisting mostly of the fathers of the students of the school. Through their dedicated work, they have constructed the walls of the kitchen and have installed parts of the electrical tubing. Additionally, they have buried the pipe that carries drinking water to the kitchen for the sink and dishwashing area, and the materials for finishing the kitchen floor have been delivered.
The next phase of the project will include installing the ceramic floor as well as installing the roof, setting up the electrical tubing including adding the lights and electrical outlets, and building a small exterior cement patio surrounding the kitchen. The ironworker will arrive next week to start to install the roof. After these steps are completed, they will prepare for the construction of the stoves and move into the final phases of the project.
“I found the kitchen project to be a good idea and beautiful. Our old kitchen was made out of corrugated metal panels and now the materials are better and very beautiful. We are very thankful for everything you have done for us,” one local student said of the project.
Implementing this project is a part of the process of trust building in this Guatemalan community. As a stepping stone to new opportunities, it will open the pathway to developing more projects aimed to help rural Guatemalans, such as community gardens and water security projects.
As well as improving the quality of life for local women and children, this project reflects ViviendasLeón’s mission to engage student and family groups in service trips to increase awareness and cross-cultural exchange. During the duration of their trip, our program participants work on the construction of the kitchen and are immersed in Guatemalan life by staying with local host families.
As the principal of the local school said, “We believe that by using this kitchen we will see improved nutrition in our children and we are also grateful to the donors and young foreigners who came to work here with us. We had a very special experience because we had time for cultural exchange with the volunteers. We are thankful and now have faith and trust in the organization of ViviendasLeón because they make the dreams of Guatemalan children a reality.”