For those who’ve been on a CoEd tour to Guatemala in the past, you know what it’s like to attend a Textbook Program inauguration, a gathering of people from near and far to welcome a new school into the program.
This past year looked a little different though. Schools were closed and travel was restricted to keep everyone safe. But now more than ever, bringing new schools into our program was of the utmost importance. So we had to improvise and adapt to the world changing around us. We had to find a way to get books to the schools.
The show had to go on.
In a normal year, your bus, filled with your travel mates and new best friends, would roll up the dirt path to a new Guatemalan school. Dozens of students, teachers, principals, and families would greet you warmly as you enter the school grounds. (We can still remember the sound of the cheers coming from all around!) The energy is contagious. Everyone is so excited to be there.
This year, we had to spread things out a bit and mask up, but the energy in the room was still buzzing with excitement and hopefulness. During such a dark year, this inauguration brought light to a new community. Their students would now have textbooks to take home and learn from, improving their ability to continue their education from home!
The ceremony usually starts with heartfelt speeches and the delivery of new textbooks. And that traditional continued on, even during the pandemic. Even though we couldn’t have all hands on deck to carry the books into the schools this year, the textbooks still made it to their new home.
After the ceremony, the celebration normally continues with dancing, cultural performances, beautiful costumes, and people from all over the world coming together to celebrate a new beginning, the start of a new Textbook Program.
Unfortunately, no dancing this year, but the most important thing that has stayed the same is that the day ALWAYS ends with textbooks in the hands of students.
Although our inaugurations looked a little different this year, our purpose and impact remains the same. We are certainly missing the international friendship from our supporters around the globe and we can’t wait until you all can travel with us to Guatemala again to experience the energy of a Guatemalan inauguration celebration in person.
But until then, just know that we are doing everything we can to keep our students safe and making sure that they have the resources they need to continue breaking the cycle of poverty through education!