Chuguexa (shew-gway-SHA) had a very primitive four classroom wooden building when Derek arrived to examine the site the first time. The building was in disrepair and overcrowded. We agreed to construct a three classroom building for them To do this, two teams of Gringo Volunteers came to Guatemala for a week each. Between the time Derek started our vetting process and our February building trip, Chuguexa working with a French philanthropic organization built a small school building the equivalent of one of our classrooms. The plan that the village had was to construct enough classrooms to have a primary and secondary school system in the village.
We also built a playground for the first time that has swings, rings, a jungle gym and a seesaw. The children were hanging all over the frame before the swings were installed and the concrete footing was set. We ended up having to reset the footings the next day. This is the most popular construction we have done so far in the life of the Sienna Project.
In May 2010 hurricane Agatha dumped as much as 36 inches of rain in some places and a dirt cliff collapsed behind the building we had just finished. As the “five hundred year rains” continued throughout the rainy season the cliff continued to collapse doing severe damage to the Sienna Project building.
Unfortunately when Derek and Martin went to inspect the site, they discovered that the damage was more severe than expected. They determined that reconstruction work was not practical. The Japanese government has built a four classroom school adjacent to our building which fills the immediate education needs of Chuguerxa. The community has given up on making it an education center with the loss of the three classrooms of the Sienna Project and the instability of the land