Partnership between the Foundation and Sonafluca School inspires travelers to pitch in
The small village of Sonafluca, Costa Rica, was actually once a large plantation, where laborers toiled under the sun on behalf of the owner. When the owner died, however, he left it to the community, so those who once worked the land now own a small plot of it. Since they are too poor to support themselves individually, the residents all work together to support the village as a whole, with the result that the community is like an extended family. They are very proud of what they've built with what little they have.
Grand Circle Foundation has only recently begun its partnership with the Sonafluca School, which serves 209 students. To date, the Foundation has donated $23,559 to the school, which includes two extremely generous $8000 donations from travelers Roy Parsons and Romaine Conner. These funds have been used to replace broken plastic furniture with wooden furniture in the school cafeteria, replace classroom doors, re-shingle the roof, build a covered walkway to protect children from the weather and improve the school's appearance, purchase folkloric costumes, and install new gutters.
Among the Foundation-supported projects in the works for the future are remodeling the rest rooms, building a gymnasium for physical education classes and sporting events, purchasing books for the library, and building a protective fence and presentation hall.
We also plan to support a microfarm project, similar to the one we've successfully executed at the San Francisco School. The Headmaster of the Sonafluca School, Edward Gamboa, frequently compares notes with Eulin Chacon, Principal of the San Francisco School, and his school had already started its own microfarm by the time Grand Circle Foundation became a partner in 2010.
In time, the school will plant crops and raise livestock to provide meals for the children, and Grand Circle Foundation plans to help by providing funds toward upgrading the farm equipment and providing livestock. "There's no livestock yet, but there are herbs and vegetables," says Lyncy Ha, Grand Circle Foundation Coordinator, who visited the school late last year. "And the local community comes in to help."
Grand Circle Foundation is grateful for its partnership with dedicated school principals in Costa Rica and for the generosity of Grand Circle and OAT travelers who are inspired to give of themselves.
Featured in our January 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.