The money eared from last years Sailfest went to building a high school. The first new high school in over 20 years and this one targets kids who dropped out of school for a myriad of reasons, most commonly financial. They needed to go to work to help support their family, sometimes drugs or pregnancy are the issues. I would equate this somewhat with our “alternative” schools except that these students already know what life is like with out an education and are now highly motivated to continue their education. They come from very poor families, but are all promising students and this school is free. An unbelievable opportunity for them. Many poor children here little or no schooling past their 12th birthday when they start helping earn an income for the family.
The road to the school high on a hill overlooking Zihuatanejo is probably the worst road I have ever ridden on. Steep, switchbacks and only roughly graded. Many rocks, pot holes Truly only a road fit for ATV’s and we took a 15 passenger van up to it. The kids come by combi (small van type bus) to the bottom of the hill and walk the rest of the way looking sharp in
their school uniforms. A nice breeze blows up on the hill negating any need for air conditioning except in their computer lab. 6 classrooms, 14 teacher and 130 kids who like to try their English with you as do their teachers.
There studies are heavy on math and science with ethics and economics also taught. Art, music, dance and sports are relegated to after school clubs which are all a large part of their
culture. The students performed several regional dance routines and performed a tragic play of some of the problems of today dealing with guns and violence. While it was done in Spanish we all got the gist of it. The “leading lady” played her role with such emotion that I would not be surprised to see her on “the silver screen” someday.
Our second stop was to visit a tutorial school,
where children come from their regular schools and get additional help, or study time or simple spend time better occupied than “hanging around”. The primary kids attend in the morning where the big draw is food. They get both breakfast and lunch and for many kids these are their only meals.
They have a wonderful teacher who loves what she is doing and loves doing it in Zihuatanejo. signing off KO