As part of the Project Planning Visits (PPVs) that we do for each location we will be working in, a team was sent to Uluk Kicha to ensure that the site is safe to work and live in as well as making plans for what to do in case of an emergency. An important part of the visit was to also meet with the local representatives of the community and our project partners who will be working with us to complete our work in the community.
The team going to Uluk Kicha will be continuing the work of previous Raleigh groups who have previously built a secondary school for the local community. The new team will be constructing a cafeteria for the school which, when finished, will be provided with funds from the Costa Rican government to ensure there are meals for the children attending the school.
While the government will provide funds for these meals they will only do so if the school has a proper facility in which to serve the meals. As Uluk Kicha has previously not had a proper school building they have not received these funds in the past. This was partially what attracted Raleigh to Uluk Kicha as being able to build both a school and ensure that the school children will have access to meals is an incredibly worthwhile project to work on particularly due to the positive effect a good diet can have on getting a quality education.
Additionally, the team will be working to improve the water situation in the school by constructing a gravity well at a local spring to provide clean water for cooking and for sanitation. The water will then be piped down to the school, with the pipe and the trench it will run along being placed by Raleigh volunteers with help from volunteers from the community.
The team also met Don Rafa, a community member who will be the foreman on the project working with Raleigh to build the school. The project managers who will be responsible for the volunteers on this project sat down with him for a discussion about what exactly would be required of the volunteers as well as ensuring that the work site would be safe.
While at Uluk Kicha , Don Efrain, who was one of the community members who initially got Raleigh involved in the community, spoke to us about the project: “I had heard about the work that Raleigh had been doing in other communities and asked if they could get involved in Uluk Kicha. After speaking to the headteacher of the school and Raleigh and negotiating what would be worked on, Raleigh agreed to help us build a new school building and a dining hall which made us very happy.” – Don Efrain
After some initial teething issues with the project the community rallied around the project and Raleigh volunteers to ensure its success. “We want the volunteers to feel welcome and safe while they are working here. We are happy to have them and want them to be happy too.” – Don Efrain
The construction of the cafeteria and gravity well is underway and will be complete in the next few months by two groups of volunteers working alongside members of the community. We will be updating on the progress of the project.
Written by Ross A. Photos by Ross A.