Kaen Ta Kab’al – Stay at Home “God has gone before us. He has prepared our school in ways none of us could have anticipated.” These are the words of Becci Merritt, NFE President, and Board Chair, as she explains how Nicolás Christian School has been able to help its students, staff and their families in Guatemala during the COVID-19 crisis. Miraculously Prepared Who could have known what 2020 had in store for the world – governments, schools, businesses, transportation, and healthcare have been turned upside down over COVID-19. While schools around the world scramble to figure out how to educate their students with their doors closed, Nicolás Christian School miraculously finds itself able to keep its students learning through a just-in-time final delivery of electronic tablets and a pre-planned approach to deliver digital learning to remote villages. The system, initially designed for distance education, is ideal for at-home learning. Within 24 hours of the first COVID-19 case being identified in the country, Guatemala instituted strict quarantine rules which affected NCS overnight. In Ixil, the quarantine rule is called Kaen Ta Kab’al, which means Stay Home. All schools were closed, both public and student transportation were shut down, and the means to provide the breakfast and lunch for students during the school day were cut off. But, through the grace of God, Nicolás Christian School’s preparations during the previous three weeks were able to be implemented quickly. To be ready if and when the first case arrived in Guatemala, a cleaning plan had been established the first week of March using a solution of diluted bleach to disinfect all surfaces in the school, and a nurse was brought in to teach proper …
Nicolas Fund for Education is growing and we are looking for volunteers to expand our impact! Would you be interested in contributing to our students’ education with your time and talents? Here are the main ways you can make a difference at NFE: Fulfilling a Dream Volunteers Our main fundraising event is the Fulfilling a Dream happening this year on Friday, April 26th in South Sound and Saturday, April 27th on Mercer Island. Some volunteer positions available are: Volunteer Coordinator (Mercer Island) – do you have great people skills and can coordinate and connect volunteers? We need to you help keep track of the big picture of our event volunteer logistics. Dessert Volunteer Coordinator (South Sound) (Mercer Island) – do you love all things desserts and want to organize a team of bakers to provide a variety of sweet noms for our event? Table Host Party Coordinator (Mercer Island) – all the table hosts get together before FAD to celebrate another year of God’s faithfulness and plan for the event. We need you to help coordinate the details for that party! Set-Up/Take-Down Volunteer (South Sound) – Arrive early to help set and decorate tables, make coffee and arrange desserts, OR stay late to remove and package decorations, take down tables and assist with light cleaning tasks. Communications Volunteers As we continue to grow and expand, sharing our stories on social media and our website becomes more and more critical as we reach new people. Some available volunteer positions available are: Story Content Coordinator – If you love sharing and hearing great stories from our villages, then this is the position for you! We need someone to talk to people who …
The November 2018 Impact Trip team included some special people: team members from Epiphany Parish. In 2005 they partnered with the village of Belen through Agros International and are now rekindling their partnership by providing scholarships for three students to attend Nicolas Christian School. We are so grateful they walk alongside these students as the future leaders of Belen! Check out our student page to pray for our students by name and donate to support their dreams!
By Barb Martin – Friends of Villa Hortencia Uno Luciano Castro Tum begins the morning at 4:30 am weaving cloth to be sold as part of the family business. He is a 9th grader in Villa Hortencia 1 where he receives his lessons via distance learning from the Nicolas Christian School in Nebaj. Luciano, a 20-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity to attend school past 6th grade. He is a member of the first graduating class of 9th graders in Villa Hortencia 1. It takes approximately 4 hours to weave one section of cloth which will be sold in San Juan del Quiche, a 2-hour walk over the top of the mountain and then a 4 hours bus ride to the market. In November, Luciano graduated from 9th grade at the ceremony in Nebaj. He is now excited about completing the first ever 10th and 11th grades. His goal is to graduate from University with a degree in engineering. He is the top student in his class with a promising future thanks to the donors who support education in the Ixil area.
Villa Hortencia Uno – Gail Hall, Chapel Hill Church When I first traveled to Guatemala in 2009 I thought I was going on a beach mission trip – how fun! Instead, I landed on top of a mountain at the end of a road, in an area largely forgotten by the world and their country. Despite the death and destruction all around them from the civil war, the Maya people survived with their faith intact. I fell in love with these people and the land, now coming here 1 to 2 times a year. In fact, I told the villagers once that my husband thinks I have a boyfriend here as I go so often to visit them! The more I came to know the people in this village, the more I realized that despite all our differences we share the same dreams for our children and for their futures. Dreams of health, education and a better life. I now have watched the children of VH1 grow up, from crazy kids running around the fields to well-behaved students excited to be a part of the new future. I am so thankful and excited that through the Nicolás Fund for Education, middle and high school is now a reality for those families willing to take a scary step and encourage their children to be a part of a new future. The villagers of VH1 all give their thanks to us and pray that God will bless us for our help. One of our students summed it up beautifully: “The goal that I have is like a dream, and now I can reach that dream so my goal becomes a reality. ” …
We have 35 new incoming students for the class of 2025 at Nicolás Christian School: From Los Angeles: 13From La Bendición and San Felipe: 7From VH1: 6From La Esperanza: 5From El Paríso: 3From Belén: 1
New year, new seventh graders, and new partnerships! Nicolás Christian School starts their new school year in mid-January and we already have an eager batch of seventh graders ready for middle school. Would you, your church, or your small group be interested in sponsoring the new students from a village this year through eWAVE’s “education with a village”? This program gives you the opportunity to support a small batch of students from a village on their educational journey. Get to know them personally through mission trips, video conferencing and personalized communication. Supporting them through donations, visits, communication and prayer shows our students how much they are valued and cared for. This partnership can be scaled for any budget – check out our website for more info and contact us with any questions!
Please support Nicolás Fund for Education on Giving Tuesday, November 27th by making a donation! Giving Tuesday is a global day of GIVING that takes place after Thanksgiving and before the holiday season. It is a movement intended to help counter the consumerism of the holiday season and raise the holiday spirit through giving to others. What a great way to start the holidays! We have an NFE donor willing to match all contributions up to $1000! You can also support Nicolás Fund for Education by using your social media to encourage others to donate to Nicolás Fund. This year, we are asking all donations to go through our website. Share this link to to our #GivingTuesday donation page: https://nicolasfund.org/givingtuesday-2018-donations/ Matching Donations Don’t forget many employers match donations. This is a great way to see your donations go further!
Nicolás Fund for Education is delighted to announce that we have purchased a piece of property for our new school. This was made possible by a very generous donation from a foundation for which we are so grateful! With God’s blessing and guidance, we now need to raise approximately $400,000 for construction of the school. The relative was so impressed by what they saw that the landowner elected to drop the price by 43% to a sum we could manage! The landowner had originally listed this property at approximately twice the price for which we eventually purchased it. When the landowner learned that Nicolás Fund for Education was looking at properties in the area, she sent a relative to Nicolás Christian School to find out what we were about. It was a learning process to buy land in Guatemala The 4.9 acre property is close to Cotzal. It is about 5-10 minutes from La Bendición, 15 minutes to La Esperanza and 20 minutes to San Nicolás. It is across the street from a cell tower and is reported to have the best internet connectivity in the region and very good cell reception. The land is adjacent to a soccer field on the road to La Bendicón, so most of you have driven past it! The land is mostly level and we do not anticipate problems with construction. Land is measured in cuerdas (a cuerda is a string or rope of 25m x 25m) and property boundary landmarks are legally described as the distance between a “bad milk tree” and a “pito palo tree”!
[spacer height=”20px”]The July NFE Impact Team investigated the possibility of Nicolás Christian School offering a distance learning program in the village of Trapichitos, contingent on finding a sponsoring church or organization. Trapachitos means “place of the sugar mills.” Trapichitos is an Agros village that was formed in 2000 with 61 families and 635 acres. Trapichitos farmers grow coffee and have fruit trees bearing bananas, lemons, and oranges. The elevation is about 4,600 feet above sea level. Trapichitos partners with three surrounding villages to produce a Guatemalan coffee bean called “Ixil A’achimbal” (the local name for this region). The other partner villages are Batzchocola, Sumalito and Xeucalvitz. Trapichitos is about 22 miles from Nebaj, where Nicolás Christian School is currently located. The 22 miles is a difficult and treacherous trip with frequent washouts and mudslides on the road. Currently, the village has access to a junior high, but no senior high school. Nicolás Fund for Education is exploring the opportunity to share the resources of Nicolás Christian School with other more remote villages through DVDs of teaching presentations from Nicolás Christian School teachers, provision of a qualified teacher, curriculum and textbooks, etc. Please pray with us that we are able to find the donor support of God’s own choice for this new venture.