Below is a letter from Krysty Munns, a member of Local 30048 in Lethbridge. Sister Munns was in Guatemala recently taking part in a project supported by the PSAC Social Justice Fund. Funding from the Agriculture Union Social Justice Fund went towards school supplies.
Thank you for the financial contribution, with the money I purchased several school supplies that were donated to two schools in dire need. I have attached some photos of the supplies I bought prior to the trip. We also purchased drinking water and fresh fruit for each school. One school has no access to running water for two years and has to purchase their water daily.
The first school we visited is a community called Neuvo Amanecer translated to “New Dawn”. There, there are about 168 children from kindergarten to grade six. Two years ago this community was evicted and today 50 families still have no permanent housing and no water. 168 students attend school in a borrowed building. The 3 teachers at this school receive no salaries as the government gives no support. In addition to the school supplies, water and fresh fruit we also brought them a soccer ball as they were to part take in a tournament in the near future. Upon our arrival they children came running to the truck and were so excited to see us. They had the truck unloaded in no time. Their teacher, Hugo, taught them to say “Thank you very much” in unison. We took several photos and they gifted each one of us a small craft they had made out of bottle caps. They were so happy and proud to give us this gift. Their teacher explained that they use art and crafts as a means of therapy to manage children anxieties associated with living in such extreme poverty.
The second school we visited was in a community called El Esfuerzo translated to “the Effort”. This community has been supported by the Educations Action (PSAC Social Justice Fund) since 2006. With contributions going to support teachers’ salaries and construction of new houses. This community if very remote and can only be reached by 4×4 as it is about a 5km jaunt up the mountain. There is no food at the top of the mountains and families need to travel to the bottom once a week and haul it up. The students at this school were much more reserve as they are more isolated, however we managed to play a fun game of soccer.
So far this trip has been a life changing experience. I am so thankful that PSAC supports such important cause. And this is a cause for real change. We are working with an organization here called the CCDA and they are working to better the struggles long term. No band aid solutions. They are working on the ground to make change at a social and political level. This trip has been a real learning experience and I am proud to stand in solidarity with the people of Guatemala as they work towards solutions for all.