September 28, 2017

Corbett and Fikkert are Right!

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This blog was written by Walking Together Learning Leader Roy van Eerden who is working with co-leader Diane Stronks and key Guatemalan educators as part of the Vision for Christ-Centred Education - Guatemala Walking Together project.

When Joel Luis thanked us for making a change in his country, Nico said, "Well, they haven't done anything yet." Unlike the donors to AMG who typically tour the schools and camp, this was our first connection, of course. It made for a good laugh. Truth be told, when it comes to the Walking Together program, it is the teachers and administrators who will make change in the country. We walk alongside, provide some expertise, and try to ask the right questions. Today we started that process.

The purpose of this trip was essentially to build relationships and set a vision. To that end, today was a good day. We met with eight principals/coordinators to run some protocols that they could take back to their schools, but also gave us a framework for discussion.

We had made a good start to the day and decided it was time for a break after about two hours. Sadly, it was during the break that one of the principals, Ligia, recieved word that her father had passed away. After Ruth arranged for a ride for her, and we spend some time in prayer, we decided it was best to carry on with day. Your continued prayers for Ligia and her family are welcome.

It was exciting to work with this group of educators so committed to making their schools the best they can be. They thought critically about what strengths their schools had, what challenges they face and the beginnings of dreams for the future. What was particularly striking was that when we visited the schools, they talked about parental involvement. Today, they spoke of the need for greater involvment from parents. That this is a priority for them not only speaks to their commitment to good education (as Diane pointed out, the research shows that the best schools are ones in which parents are integrally connected), but also the vision for what their schools could be.

Innovative education strategies was mentioned several times today, including doing projects. It was too early and we didn't have time to do any planning on this, but it is exciting to think about the possibilities of project-based learning as a way to engage parents, in terms of making an impact in the community perhaps.

When it came time to wrap up the day, a theme that kept emerging was that it was good to name the strengths of the school. It gave them reason to be thankful, but also hope for what they could do. That is exactly what When Helping Hurts is about. It was exciting to watch it happen first-hand.

Diane and Ruth will head up the conversation about strategic planning. I look forward to seeing where God leads in this. For now, it has been good to gain a greater vision of His greatness in seeing the ways in which his people bringing hope and life to those in need.


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