Looking Ahead to an Action-packed July with Highland Partners

Beginning on July 5th and continuing uninterrupted until August 9th, Highland Partners will be hosting 10 Service Learning Groups from all over the United States. These groups will be working on a wide variety of projects, from the construction of stoves and a new elementary school classroom in Twi’ Ninwitz, to the installation of a rainwater drainage system in the mountains over Lago Atitlan. “This month will be very busy, but really exciting as well.” said Natalie Prunty, Highland Partners’ Service Trip Guide. “We have the opportunity to participate in a bunch of beneficial community-building projects, and I am personally very excited to meet all of our volunteers.”The service marathon kicks off this Saturday with the arrival of the Blagg Summer volunteers, who hail from the state of Virginia and will build 13 stoves and participate in reforestation within the community of El Manatiel. Blagg Summer is the first of seven service groups that will come to Quetzaltenango this month to build stoves within rural Mayan communities.

They will be followed by AUMC, Wilder School, OBUMC and Brandermill Mission. All of these groups will have the distinct pleasure of constructing a new stove with their own hands, and interacting with the women who will be directly impacted by their work.Soon after the departure of Blagg Summer, service group AUMC will arrive to begin one of the summer’s most interesting projects: the construction and installation of a rainwater drainage system in the mountaintop community of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán. At an altitude of 3,600 meters, the rainy season is often a daunting time for those in Santa Catarina, whose homes are easily flooded by the water accumulating in the streets. AUMC will collaborate with local workers to install a sustainable drainage solution to this problem. Another equally exciting project that will begin this month is the construction of an additional classroom for the dilapidated Twi’ Ninwitz elementary school. This project will be headed by Vale UMC, which has provided the majority of the funding for the classroom and will arrive on July 21st to finalize its construction. The materials necessary to build the classroom have already arrived at the construction site, and the men from Twi’ Ninwitz began working on the foundation today. The classroom must be finished within 30 days.A special thanks to all of the volunteers who have dedicated their time to work with Highland Partners, and cheers to a month full of positive impact and memories made!

Laura Catania