2008 and 2009– Mactzul 2 and Rio Mactzul

Our Second Project 2008 – Mactzul 2 Sector 1

In February 2008 a different team of Gringo Volunteers helped construct another modern earthquake resistant schoolhouse in the mountain village of Mactzul 2 Sector (Mact-ZOOL)… an hour’s drive northwest of Chichicastenango.

Unlike Agua Viva, the villagers had the holes for the columns dug before we arrived.  Some holes had to be repositioned and most to be deepened by the volunteers.  Digging holes, moving panels and shoveling earth seemed like endless tasks.  Also unlike Agua Viva, there was a women on the village governing committee, who worked with us while wearing her traditional clothing like almost all Mayan women do.  It is the only time in the project’s history that a woman from a village joined our work crew.  We replaced a primitive outhouse with flush toilets, probably the only ones within twenty-five miles.  In Mactzul 2… time is set aside in the morning for the children to wash their hands and faces and brush their teeth in the community sink.  Again there was much interaction with the students. This time some of us flew kites with the children and again played games and worked in the classroom.  It really helped that we had three fluent Spanish speakers in our Gringo crew.

Although the classroom building plans were the same as last year’s the site and the construction challenges were different.  The site was not on the side of a hill, but was a field cut out of a hillside.  Mactzul 2 had a two-classroom aqua green painted adobe building.  We installed three flush toilets as an experiment.  The children had to be taught to use them, as they were not familiar with flushing.  We’ve learned over the subsequent years that the experiment worked and has brought this and the children of future project communities into the twenty-first century.

 Our third project 2009 – Rio mactzul;

By the time we built school number three we were getting more efficient.  The work days were shorter than previous years and Derek had the villagers do more prep work.   Since 2009, Rio Mactzul has had an additional three classroom school built on what was their playground (soccer field).