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Paxixil Library Celebration

"Fired up" to learn

semi-overcast 52 °F

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
Plutarch

Opening Remarks

Opening Remarks

On a cold Saturday morning on February 16, about 45 guests, which included PAVA Guatemala and PAVA Foundation board members, donors, and representatives from the communities of Panamachavac and La Loma joined the village of Paxixil to celebrate the community library that PAVA helped to build. Eugenia Minondo de Fairhurst, outgoing president of PAVA Guatemala began her comments with the above quote from Plutarch and whether spoken in English or Spanish the meaning was clear to everyone present. The library has been operating since late October 2012 and this was a grand celebration planned by the community. PAVA assisted the COCODE (Community Development Council) and the library advisory group to outline the presentation programs offered in the library (like the El Jardín Infantil, interactive story time, and memory games) and explain the use of the facility, but it was clearly the community's show. All were ecstatic about it!

Women's Library Committee

Women's Library Committee

Although PAVA has in the past built a number of bridges, several water projects and over 70 schools, this project opens a new chapter in PAVA’s community development. The library building is owned by the COCODE and operated jointly with the community advisory board which is made up of only women. Eugenia mentioned that in her first meeting with the community she wanted to meet with the woman’s group, but only the all-male COCODE showed up. She reminded them about meeting with the women’s advisory board and they said this is the woman’s advisory board. Realizing no women would be at this meeting, she continued to explain the operation of the library. The men listened carefully, left and then later informed PAVA that library operation would be a woman’s responsibility since it is an extension of caring for children. Male and female roles in this an all the communities PAVA works in are well defined. It has made for interesting conversation since at one library PAVA recruited a bright young man as a promotor (library promoter or assistant). The men in the village made fun of him because it was considered woman’s work even though one of PAVA’s two library coordinators is a man and no one mocks him.

Norberto, COCODE President

Norberto, COCODE President

The library’s unique design made all onlookers impressed as the giant colorful bamboo doors of the library were rotated to show a display for each subject on the program. Speakers presented a range of issues from the youth programs to explanation of cultural heritage. Norberto, the President of the COCODE, acted as the master of ceremonies introducing each topic as panels were flipped to show the display.

The highlight of the festivities was a traditional dance by the children that you can see below.

The community pride was palpable as Norberto invited everyone inside the library to see the programs in action and look at the panels close up.

Inside-library-1.jpg Inside-library-2.jpg Little_girl_playing.jpg Reading.jpg

Lunch was a locally prepared feast featuring chuchitos (dough made from corn filled with chicken and wrapped in corn husks {which I did not eat, but everyone raved about}), tortillas, veggies and fire-roasted sausages. The meal was prepared by the Paxixil women with an assist by the community men who made a cinder-block fire-pit to roast the sausages. During the meal guests mingled and members of the La Loma COCODE expressed awe at the beautiful library and mentioned that they can hardly wait to start on their new building.

Chuchitos.jpg Making-Tortillas.jpg Men-preping-bbq.jpg shelter-used-for-guests.jpg

Despite the cool weather the event was a great success. More importantly the young and old minds of Paxixil are living into Plutarch’s quote and are “fired up” to learn.

Posted by Aeren 18:56 Archived in Guatemala Tagged education pava libraries

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