Avanzando – Moving Forward

Dear Friends of the Wishi Project,

Thank you for all of your support. We have made incredible strides in the past few weeks, and I am now confident that with the $11,000 we have already raised we will be able to break ground in January on schedule. There is still work to be done – we need to raise $9,000 which will go towards securing the sustainability of the school, among other things – and I hope that you can help. Please consider contributing to the project, if you haven’t already. If you cannot give, consider reaching out to friends who may be interested in supporting the project. Together we can make this dream a reality.

Please forgive me that it has been so long since our last update. We have been so busy and I have a lot to report.

I would like to begin by extending my deepest thanks to everyone who attended, donated or helped out with the fundraiser, From Our Community to Yours, on November 5th at the Albany Art Room. The event was a great success and raised over $2,500! In addition to raising funds, it was also an opportunity to bring many great people together who have been involved with and supported the project, and many great connections and ideas came out of this meeting.

I’d like to announce that we have had the great fortune of enlisting the work of Jim Brassard, a local videographer, who is volunteering to create a documentary of the Wishi Project. He has been incredible, documenting all aspects of the project as we move forward, and has made a pilot video to represent the progress we have made so far; this pilot video will be available soon. We are working on establishing a profile on Kickstarter.com to raise funds to support his continued work when we go to Ecuador next month. We are hoping to raise $5,000 to cover all the expenses of the documentary.

Last week we bought a chainsaw for the community so that they could begin preparing wood so that it is ready when we begin construction in January. They are cutting Maria wood; a relatively fast growing, sustainable resource, that is sturdy and good for building. They have finished cutting and preparing the supporting structural beams, and this week they hope to complete the preparation of the boards. Not only is the wood from their forest an incredible source of pride and will create what they believe to be the most beautiful school, it also gives them an opportunity to contribute materially to the project in a meaningful way.

The Hackett Middle School service learning team will be celebrating the close of their involvement with the project with an event at Hackett Middle School on Thursday, December 6th. The event will be called The Wishi Room – an idea conceived of and executed by the students themselves. The students will transform their classroom into a space which represents the Wishi classroom; photos and profiles of the children in the Wishi Community; a video made by the students documenting their involvement in the project; and information about the community that they learned through a phone interview which they designed and conducted with a member of the Wishi Community. These students continue to impress me every day, and I am so thankful for their good work.

Students at Montessouri Magnet School have expressed an interest in getting involved with the project, and I hope to begin work with their class next week. I have begun researching the Montessouri Model and I am impressed by the focus on empowering the student, independence, and the emphasis on learning to learn. These are things that I think will be particularly to the students in the Wishi Community. I hope to create some kind of partnership between the local Montessouri students and the students in the Wishi Community.

Thank you so much for your continued interest in the Wishi Project, and for all of your support.

All the best,

Elizabeth

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