The Bartolo Perlo Connection
The Bartolo Perlo school of San Juan Chamelco has 350 full time students who come to the school from remote, rural Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. The school offers 5 vocational art electives in addition to its standard academic curriculum. The school is equipped with an impressive carpentry shop. This year 80 students signed up for wood working.
As the 2010 school year began, they had one big problem. They school could not afford the materials needed to teach wood shop. We saw the potential for a win-win: connecting our need for a big, well equipped wood shop with the school’s need for lots of wood.
Not only did we have access to the wood shop, we also had access to the eager and helpful hands of 40 students and two teachers. The students learned how to make building plans, cut wood using several kinds of saws, pre-drill and use wood screws. We were able to make this connection because of our friend Jacobo’s talk and the friends we made among the Dominican priests. We are thankful for this new friend.
Bartolo Perlo students have learned to draw up building plans, make materials lists, and create a budget. The initial focus of the prospective carpenters was the creation of compost bins. This partnership has continued as students build tables, benches, beds, and shelves for CCFC’s agroecology center.