submitted by International Chair Bill Maule
 
Oh, please don't get me wrong. What I mean is that we are "high"  on our newest Bottle School project.  This is one of our longest standing  international projects but it  may  not be well known to some of our readers. Let's fix that:
The Bottle School construction  projects provide classroom space for schools in Guatamala that are inadequate, unhealthy or absent. The result is what I like to call  a win-win-win-win victory. First the children of the village scour the town and surroundings  for plastic bottles and other trash that now despoils some of the beauty of Guatamala's country side. When a small mountain of the trash has been accumulated, the  sponsor of the program,  Hug It Forward,  approves the project and set the adults to the task of stuffing the bottles with the other plastic trash.  Next the men are taught reinforced  concrete skills, to prepare the foundation and structural elements.  
Next the entire village is involved in mixing and moving the concrete, often by  the shovel, muscle and wheelbarrow method. Then the villagers stretch  chicken wire on both sides of the pillars,  forming a place for the walls.  That space is then neatly filled with the trash filled bottles, providing a good insulating structure for the walls.  Then, it's cement stucco on both sides of the bottle-filled walls.   When the doors and windows have been installed,  the village has its new attractive school house. The actual cost of a typical  two room school building is about 1,300 US dollars.
The school that our Club is  helping to finance is located in  Estancita, San Martin, Jilotepeque,  in the beautiful mountain terrain north of Guatemala City.   There is already a school there, but it operates in a borrowed, inadequate  building located so far away that many children can not get there.  The new school is closer  to  town, and will serve more children.
We hope to bring you pictures of "our" finished school and the ceremony and festivities  of opening day. There are indeed lots of "wins"  to a project such as this.  Littered trash is removed from view, the men learn new trades, more of the village children  will have a place in the new school,  and the villagers who have a great deal of "sweat equity" in the building will care for it and know how to repair it.  Certainly a quadruple win!
For more details, see the Hug it Forward page HERE.