Teachers and students appreciate educational material in their local Mayan language Print

 

 

See the response by students and teachers when we show them the material we are working on for school programs. Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Escuela Comunidad Nueva Semay.

In the opening scene, note the impressive forest covered mountains immediately behind this school.
 
The video shows a lot more than the PDF, but here is a sample of how school kids like the material that we bring to show them. This PDF shows our interaction with the teachers. We learn from the teachers what they would prefer for their students. And we learn from the students what they would appreciate having available.
 
We coordinate with the teachers and with the village elders for a visit to these towns. It is very emotional to see the curiosity of the children and we appreciate the hospitality of the village officials and the school teachers. We visited this school twice.
This is the FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala) team visiting the Q'eqchi' Mayan teachers and students at San Marcos Chivite, municipio of Cahabon, departamento Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

San Marcos Chivite is on the other side of the same river as is Santa Rosa Chivite (but they are a separate hike, separate hammock bridges, separate villages).

We thank Hans Veliz Garcia for organizing all these visits. iI is essential to have communication with people in the village before arriving.
This is the school where we visited them two times in response to their request for us to return.

 

Shaila is the daughter of Gaby who has helped us for many years. Shaila taught us how to teach a 3-year old how to read ABC's. By 4 she could name the colors in Spanish, English, and Q'eqchi' Mayan language.

This year Shaila started school and so we drove the over 700 kilometers round trip to visit the school and to donate material to the entire school.
Learning what books, infographic posters that school teachers want and need in rural schools in far away villages. And equally important, learning from the students what inspires them to learn so they can prepare for their future.

San Marcos Chivite, Cahabon, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
Here we are showing our style of educational material to Q'eqchi' Mayan students in Senahu, Alta Verapaz who are studying to be teachers in the local schools.

The text is in Spanish but you can "read" the photographs and understand this event.
Rural villages also would appreciate solar panels. We are not in that business but at least we could donate some of our "book on a banner" banners to the village.

In the final pages we show examples of the actual books that we have written: and will sure help to have donations to print these books. The tradition in local rural schools is for every student to be given the books, but the students return the books to the teachers at the end of the semester. This way the same book can be used for several years.

So if you can help us print books, these books will be used for many years of students.
This is the school that Senaida Ba attended as a child decades ago. Her younger brother now attends.

As you can see in the final photographs, not even 4-wheel drive high-axel pickup truck can get here. But even at 73 years of age (in 2018) it's good exercise for all of us.
We have been studying Theobroma cacao and Theobroma bicolor for decades. Balamte' is one of the Mayan language words for the Theobroma bicolor species. So with the help of Hans Veliz Garcia a visit to this village was arranged, to donate material to the teachers and students.

On the drive back to Cahabon we found lots of local people eager to sell pods of Theobroma bicolor so we bought a bunch to take back to the office. Their husk is "solid wood" and rarely does the pod rot; it turns into literally a solid chunk of dried wood (the insides dry out but the outside normally does not rot).

The day we arrived at the school they had another event, so we waited for that event to be over to do our presentation. Everyone here was hospitable and welcoming. We are really inspired to find funding and a printer to produce TONS of actual physical books so we can return and donate actual books to each student in every subject that we cover.

 

School teachers and school children appreciate
donation of educational material

The teachers at one school in the remote mountains far from Cahabon, Alta Verapaz communicated with us and asked if we could return and donate additional material. It is about 1000 kilometers round trip from our office. Parked the 4-wheel drive, high-axel pickup truck that got us this far, hiked across the literally swinging-swaying hammock bridge, and then hiked into the hills to the school. We drove there a second time because it is rare for a school to directly and explicitly ask for assistance. I respected their request and hope to return again in the future.

We had visited this school several months previously and the teachers and students appreciated that educational material is in their local Q’eqchi’ Mayan language plus Spanish and also English.

The kids enthusiastically told us they appreciate having material in English. And we at FLAAR wish to encourage them simultaneously to learn also in the Mayan language of their heritage. The language of my ancestors in 1848 (when they left chaos in Germany to immigrate to USA) was Deutsch (as you can guess from a family name Hellmuth; our ancestors had it as a patronymic; normally it is a first name but can also be a last name). So I dedicated several years to learning Deutsch.

The teachers in Alta Verapaz mountain area said they had not yet received any other material that was in all three languages: the local native Q’eqchi’ Mayan language (spelled K’ekchi’ in past decades), and also in Spanish and simultaneously in English. They said they can find bi-lingual but not tri-lingual educational material.

Our contacts are primarily in the Q’eqchi’ Mayan areas

Several of the Mayan students that help us are from Senahu area of Alta Verapaz. Plus we know people in the Cahabon area of Alta Verapaz. So they obtain permission for us to study plants and pollinators on properties in those areas. We have been doing field trip visits here for over six years now, so know a lot of the local people. Through our contacts we can learn which local schools are accessible so we can donate the educational material.

We do not have funding for printing books for each student, so we put an entire book on a 3.2meter or 5meter banner. This way the banner can be put on the wall of the classroom. If a printing company could print the actual traditional books, we would obviously prefer to donate books to the schools.

When we went back a second time to the school who had contacted us, we found all the material from our first visit on the walls of the classrooms.

We have available Pokomchi and Kaqchikel Mayan translators also

We would also like to put our material into Pokomchi Mayan language for nearby Baja Verapaz and southern part of Alta Verapaz. Families here have helped us find interesting local plants and insects.

We look forward to having material in K’iche’ (Quiché) language in the future

K’iche’ is the language of the only copy of the Popol Vuh sagas that survived the Spanish conquest. Plus K’iche’ Mayan language is spoken by over a million people still today. We would like to have our material in this language.

We will be preparing material in Garifuna language also

Garifuna language is spoken in the Caribbean area of Muncipio de Livingston, Belize to the north and Honduras to the south. The Garifuna people in Livingston are also assisting the thesis research of (UVG) university student Boris Llamas. So we look forward to adding Garifuna language to our educational material when printing more banners is possible (all banners in past years were printed during expos, donated by the printer companies; but there have not been any expos from February onward in 2020).

We are also preparing material for grandmothers who wish to learn to read

When you visit aldeas, comunidades, and villages, you notice that every child in the family help take care of their brothers and sisters. Families really take care of each other. Downside is that the children then don’t have time to attend school. And in some areas there is no school anywhere nearby.

Senaida’s father walked her over an hour to school; he then walked back home to work another hour. Then in the afternoon he walked over an hour to pick her up; and an hour to return home with her. Senaida today hopes to get a scholarship to attend a university. We have visited the school that she attended; no 4-wheel drive vehicle can reach it. You have to park your 4WD and walk down a steep hill to the school.

The youngest daughter can’t get to this school since her father was run over by a bus (he is fortunately alive but has lots of broken bones). We provided her an electronic device so she could learn from ABC videos.

Now that we realize that many grandmothers today never got to school when they were young, we began a concept to develop educational material for them. We write each letter of the alphabet with a local vegetable: Avocado for A, Amaranth for A also; Bledo (leaf of amaranth) for B, Camote, sweet potato for C, etc.).

W was tough, but we found one plant with at least a word starting in W.

We now have networked to a teacher who specifically works with Q’eqchi’ Mayan grandmothers to teach them to read and write. So once the borders and airports are open, we hope to deliver a set of “learning material for Grandmothers” to this town.

Your donations will help us be able to assist more schools and more grandparents in Guatemala.

 

 

Posted August 2020.