The next day we went out with the San Juan del Sur Library team to go around to almost a dozen different schools all over southern Nicaragua to survey the conditions of them and see what exactly they all needed. The schools we were going to were some of the schools that the Mobile Library project goes to lend books. The ones we were visiting were the schools that needed the most help. School wasn’t in session yet, so it was a perfect time to inspect the conditions of bathrooms, wells, roofing, windows and flooring. We were excited to tag along and see what the school buildings themselves needed to make school a comfortable place for kids to learn. We jumped into the back of the familiar truck bed and headed off to our first school.
The first school we stopped at, Las Marias, was just 10 minutes outside of San Juan del Sur off of a dusty dirt road. The school had no running water, so they needed a new well cover to cover up the contaminated well and a new water tank hooked up to the town water system.
The bathrooms needed some serious TLC as they were all missing doors or walls–I couldn’t imagine how a kid, especially a girl, must feel when using the loo without any protection. This was a serious need.
Jonathon even checked out how it would be to use the old brick/outdoor restroom, which was essentially a hole in the ground.
As I looked at him sitting in the chair above the whole, we both realized how hard it must be to have to use any of these facilities in school.
The other schools we would visit all varied in the conditions of their bathrooms, but one thing was for sure these were nothing like the bathrooms I used when I was in elementary school.
We checked out the condition of the insides of the empty classrooms and then headed off to check out the other schools.
Jonathon and Esau, one of the awesome local employees of the Library, jumped onto the back bumper of the truck to enjoy the thrill of literally riding off of the back of a truck down a dirt road. We saw so many schools and each one was completely different than the next.
The bathrooms were all very different. None had running water. None had a sink. Just a place to do your thing.
The wells were all very different. Most of them were contaminated, had a broken pump, didn’t have a cover and had bats living in them (you could hear and see them when you looked down them!). They needed to be covered up, replaced with a tank or the best ones just needed a new pump.
Most of the schools in the very rural areas had no electricity. None. No lights, no computers, no projectors, no fans, no air-conditioning. They simply relied on daylight coming through the windows.
The schools were in various locations. Many among farms, some in the middle of a large field and others just right off of the main road.
One thing they all did have in common, however, was they were all painted blue and white. Every single one of them. They had the Nicaraguan flag everywhere as well. The schools are all very uniform showing their patriotism to their country.
Overall, we learned so much about the schools, the school system, what the schools needed and what exactly could be done about it all. In a few days, the Wyoming Rotary Club was going to come to San Juan del Sur for a week and work with the Library to get all of the things fixed at these schools. We were really looking forward helping them all out in any way we could as well as give the elementary students school supplies. School was in session in a just a couple of days, so we planned on giving back to the schools locally in San Juan del Sur the next day.