submitted by International Committee member Bill Maule
International news, these days, is never really very good.   But for a change, here’s some good news on our Club’s international efforts. Last fall our International Service  Committee decided to donate   $500, a third of its budget,  to help with the construction of another Bottle School in Guatemala.  As chance would have it, the school  is “historic”  as its completion marked  an important milestone for the Bottle School  organization. The village of  Panimacac, located in the northwestern part of the country, suffered greatly from the years-long civil war, and is now still recovering, as is the case with other villages in the area.
Although there are only 79 families resident in the town, it provides some infrastructure to four surrounding villages.  That includes its schools. As is the case in all Bottle School projects, a functioning school, with government provided teachers, was in operation.  Ten teachers served 162 students.   Yes, lots of students with good teachers, but school buildings were far from adequate and safe. There was already one completed Bottle School for Middle School students. The elementary school was held in a temporary, and structural unsafe, adobe structure. Another Bottle School was, at the time we became involved again, was nearly complete as a second Middle School,  replacing an old shabby metal siding building. But the elementary children were still in that adobe building.  Our contribution helped build yet another Bottle School to replace the unsafe building.
We just received news that the school we consider as “ours”  is finished and functioning. Of course, we cannot claim all that school.  Our contribution covered only about a fifth of the total cost.  Nevertheless,  the Bottle School staff  said  in the recent e-mail that our contributions over the years have always been most welcome and helpful. They said that they hope we will continue with our important support. The school was officially inaugurated on March 27th and is considered a great success.
Oh, yes,  The historic nature of the building?   The new elementary school is the 100th Bottle School completed!   Way to go, Kingston Rotary!