Access Education Guatemala Trip

Wednesday, February 4, 2015: Pinot sensed Deborah and I were going away and barked like crazy before we left at 11:30 am for the airport. Pinot will be looked after by her dog-sitter, Valerie, who will take her to Innisfil. Our group, led by Adrienne Rosen and Myra White, met at the airport and flew UA to Houston and then onto Guatemala City. Overnight at the Radisson Hotel.

Thursday, February 5: Woke up to find the lobby teeming with Miss Teen Universe contestants ready for the paparazzi.

A bevy of Miss Teen Universe contestants.

Adrienne drove the bus with suitcases lashed to the roof. We passed by fields of pineapple, sugar cane, stands of rubber trees and palm oil plants. The traffic was slowed by huge trucks piled high with cut sugar cane. We stopped in Mazatenango for ice cream before proceeding on to Coatepeque. A four-and-a-half-hour drive.

Adrienne Rosen at the ceremonial opening of the middle school at La Union

A quick change at the Hotel Residentia before driving on to La Union for the school opening ceremony. Our group of Canadians was applauded as we entered the open area with white tents for the parents and officials while the school kids stood around the walls. A local band played, the kids sang "O Canada," and then the speeches started – the Minister of Education, the Mayor and various school officials. Adrienne, whose foundation, Access Education Guatemala, was honoured with a scroll proclaiming her to be a honourary citizen; and she and I (representing Grapes for Humanity) cut the ribbon. We toured the classrooms and the computer room (donated by Telus) and climbed to the second storey to see where the next phase of construction will be.

Students try out their new classroom

Plaque thanking Grapes for Humanity for funding the building of the school

On the drive back to the hotel Adrienne was stopped by the cops. She showed them her scroll as an honorary citizen and they embraced her and sent us on our way.