June Trip 2022
The June trip was a huge success! We visited many of our partners, doing STEM activities with all the kids. It culminated with graduations on Saturday, June 25th. We celebrated the 10 graduates from the high school (prepatoria) and 5 graduates from our pre-school/kinder program.
Special thanks to all our trip participants: Cory, Anthony and Holly Vessa; Scott, Lori, Dakota, and Julian McDonald; Lana Morris and Katie Compton. And another thanks to Big Heart Orphanage for hosting us.
STEM Activities with Regent's Primary School
Monday and Tuesday, before the rest of the team arrived, Cory and Anthony did two of our STEM activities with all the primary classes at Regents School of Reynosa, which is associated with Big Heart Orphanage. In the first challenge, classes were divided into groups and each were given a set a blocks.They had to build a tower in five minutes, with the group with the highest tower winning. The second challenge involved building with more challenging materials: spaghetti and marshmellows. For the younger grades, there was guided building of different shapes and figures. But the older grades had a subseqent building challenge - again trying to build the highest tower - in 15 minutes. Anthony built examples to serve as a guide. In all, all 12 classes in grades 1-6 got to participate. It was great fun!
Andrea's Kinder Class
Thursday morning, Scott and family had arrived (Wednesday afternoon), as well as Cory's daughter, Holly, and we set out for the La Union 2 apartments (named so because many families from the La Union colonia moved there when the violence forced them from their homes on the canal) to do the STEM activities for Andrea Garcia's kinder class. But this time, besides the block and spaghetti/marshmellow activities, we added an experiment: Does it burn? Students were asked if they thought various materials (rock, paper, metal, dry leaf, green leaf, wood, tortilla, aluminum, water, cooking oil, and rubbing alcohol) would burn or not. The hypotheses were written down and then the experiment proved if they were correct or incorrect (with the the requisite protective gear). The goal was to demonstrate the scientific process in a fun way. It proved to be a fan favorite!
Melody Orphanage Visit
Thursday afternoon, we visited Melody Orphange run by Jaime Mayorga. They are back in their Reynosa location, having left for the better part of a year, but returning when the owner of the property was unable to sell it and invited them back. We had dropped by Wednesday afternoon as well, right after Scott and family + Holly arrived with the trailer, to deliver several couches, desks, bookcases and other items that had been donated. But Thursday was all about doing the STEM activities (above described) and having a BBQ (hot dogs and hamburgers) dinner.
23rd of March Tutoring Classes and Senda la Vida 2
Friday morning, the group went to 23rd of March to do our STEM activities with the students there. Mauro and Rosy Esquivel continue to offer tutoring three mornings a week to the children of the community, and hope to continue next fall (with the desire to expland to a full day kinder and primary school).
After our 23rd of March visit, we went out to visit the migrants, who have been relocated from the plaza in downtown Reynosa to a new Senda La Vida facility. The new facility is still not large enough to fit the thousands of migrants (mostly from Haiti right now). Many hundreds are living in the ajoining parkland. Mauro is trying to help by creating a kitchen and water distribution location for these migrants outside the two Senda facilities.
But even those in the second Senda facility are struggling. There is insufficient shade (and the sun is scorching - so much so that Cory got a mild case of heat exhaustion while there). The water supply is insufficient for the thousands of migrants. NGOs are considering drilling a well at the facility (there is a well at Senda 1) and Scott consulted with the engineers and exchanged contact information to see if he can be of assistance.
Saturday was all about graduations, with the morning beginning with the high school (prepatoria). The ten graduates and their families celebrated the tremendous accomplishment of fulfilling the requirements of graduation, especially during the pandemic. You can meet each of the graduates HERE in the video the principal, Lupita, prepared for the ceremony. Each graduate was awarded a new laptop computer! Special thanks to Regents for allowing us to use their auditorium for the ceremony and to the donors (including DressWell GiveWell and other individuals) that made purchasing the laptops possible.
In the afternoon, we went to the La Union 2 apartments to celebrate the graduation of 5 students from Andrea's kinder class. Each student received a new backpack, a small swimming pool and a cartoon themed beach towel. The kids did a super cute dance (watch video HERE) and after, the parents provided a meal.
Casa Hogar Ninos de Angeles de Dios
On Sunday morning, we headed out to the country to visit Casa Hogar Ninos de Angeles de Dios. We had breakfast and did our STEM activities. We also brought them a dirt bike, which they can use on their large property, especially for taking care of their goats. It was good to catch up with them and they have some specific needs for "back to school" that we will be sending out soon.