Greetings from Oaxaca, Mexico….Keeping up with Friends of Pimpollo Team 55!

Team 55 at Monte Alban, the archaeological site in the mountains above Oaxaca.

Friends of Pimpollo Team 55, a Maps Credit Union team, has been in Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca, Mexico since November 8, 2013 working on projects in the Vicente Guerrero community.

This dynamic team of 9 (6 of whom are from Maps Credit Union in Salem, Oregon) has been documenting their journey on Facebook since their arrival and will be coming home today.

Team #55 has been working to help more than 500 children at 14 destitute schools in the Vicente Guerrero community in addition to hundreds of adults learning to read and write.

“It was heartwarming how gracious the people were that we were there” -Debbie

“I can honestly say it was the hardest and most rewarding work I’ve ever done” -Barbara

Here are some highlights of this mission, we encourage you to visit (and Like!) Friends of Pimpollo on Facebook to see more photos and experiences!

The team worked with and community members to paint and pour a cement floor at Venustiano Carranza preschool. The students will begin using their new classroom this week!

The team worked with and community members to paint and pour a cement floor at Venustiano Carranza preschool. The students will begin using their new classroom this week!

The team and the community worked together to paint Venustiano Carranza preschool.

The team and the community worked together to paint Venustiano Carranza preschool.

Team 55 constructing tables and bookshelves and painting the new library at Bicentenario elementary.

Team 55 constructing tables and bookshelves and painting the new library at Bicentenario elementary.

Team 55  met with Fuentes Libres, an Oaxaca based organization that provides loans to groups of women who are starting businesses.

Team 55 met with Fuentes Libres, an Oaxaca based organization that provides loans to groups of women who are starting businesses.

Serving breakfast  (Milk, lentil and vegetable soup, and tortillas) at the Oaxaca Kids Can program. 101 students enjoyed the nutritious breakfast.

Serving breakfast (Milk, lentil and vegetable soup, and tortillas) at the Oaxaca Kids Can program. 101 students enjoyed the nutritious breakfast.

This is not the first time Maps Credit Union has sent a team to Mexico. Team #50  made the special journey in the Fall 2011, click here to read more about them.

Through the years, the Friends of Pimpollo mission has expanded to serve and empower underserved communities through education. The following Friends of Pimpollo programs were created to support this mission:

Vicente Guerrero Community– located outside Oaxaca de Juarez (Oaxaca City) – focuses on the children and families of this very poor community by supporting education through the local schools and our own community center.

Oaxaca Kids Can– A nutritious breakfast program located at Símbolos Patrios Elementary (in the Vicente Guerrero community). The program will soon expand to include an on-campus computer lab and computer courses.

Pimpollo Home for Children (the orphanage)- In Juchitán,Oaxaca (on the coast of Oaxaca)

Education Scholarship Program– we provide funds for kids and young adults whose families cannot otherwise afford to keep them in school. Some of these kids live in Vicente Guerrero.

 

Celebrating Carlos Leodan’s graduation in San Cristóbal, Chiapas

Carlos Leodan

Carlos Leodan in front of the student house in San Cristóbal

Carlos Leodan, an education scholarship student living at the student house in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas will graduate from college on July 16th. Congratulations Carlos!

Carlos will be graduating with a degree in Sociology from Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas. Learn more about Carlos here: Meet Carlos.

In June, there was a special lunch in Mexico celebrating Carlos’s graduation. Carlos’s family arrived from his hometown of Siltepec and prepared a large celebration for family, friends and other students. It was a fun time with much laughter and excitement for the upcoming graduation ceremony. And don’t forget the cake!

graduation lunch

Carlos enjoying the meal with ECOSER program director Felix and other party guests

Carlos will be in San Cristóbal until he takes his professional exam in August, but hopes to soon find a job near Siltepec. Stay tuned for more photos and updates on Carlos as he begins this new chapter in his life.

Carlos, family and ECOSER

Carlos Leodan with his family and ECOSER program directors Chelo and Felix

Students proud of their accomplishments on computers

Through Friends of Pimpollo, young students and adults are learning to use computers at the Vicente Guerrero Community Center.

Students hard at work during a computer class in Vicente Guerrero, Oaxaca.

When Board Member Cecelia Monto visited the classes, she found kids working hard to practice their new skills. “They just loved the computers, and they felt proud that they could show me how it works and what they were doing.”

Vicente Guerrero students receiving their certificates

This past month, 23 children completed the computer course and received certificates from FOP Director Bonifacio Luis Hernandez. Their parents also attended the ceremony, and expressed gratitude for the classes as they celebrated their children’s accomplishments. These classes are important because computer skills are growing to be essential for jobs and the future.

FOP Director Bonifacio Luis Hernandez and a computer class graduate

Blas and His Siblings at Home in Oaxaca

Eleven-year-old Blas lives with his parents and siblings near the garbage dump outside Oaxaca City. His family earns a living from the dump by collecting bottles to sell. “Living here is a little hard,” Blas says. “But I feel good because there is a lot of garbage so were able to earn some money.” Friends of Pimpollo’s support allows Blas to go to school, and will allow his siblings to do the same. “I want [my brothers and sisters] to think I am smart, and I want them to follow my example and go to school. 