With Thanksgiving this week, and the start of the holiday season we can slowly feel the year coming to an end. In Honduras, this means it is also the end of the school year. Our team is slowly wrapping up our activities with schools and beginning to mentally prepare for the next year ahead. It is hard to think back a year ago because everything feels so different back then. We had pitched the STEM center in the town of Camasca during the fall of 2019 and we were uncertain when the project would start, we hoped that it would be done for the 2020 school year and that was the plan. God has a funny way of working and 2020 has thrown us all many, many surprises. While the STEM center construction has continued to progress, we now see ourselves wishing the exact same thing, but a year later.
Take a peek into how the STEM Center is progressing
Covid-19 is nowhere near gone and we are slowly learning to coexist among it, socially distancing and wearing masks. Our schools are beginning to build strategies for how to best learn during this time. And we hope that the completion of the STEM center next year will be another added resource to our students’ education.
Pre-covid, one of our biggest challenges was the frequent electricity outages. And during covid-19 this is just another added stress. Now in our third year we have supported students participating in the math Olympics with individual study tablets, another resource for our students. This year the country decided to proceed with virtual math Olympics competitions. After three of our participating students had made it to the final state selection round, they were left without a chance to move forward to the nationals because there was no electricity, and by extension no internet, the day of the elimination round. In fact, no students from the Frontera region were able to move forward because the whole region had experienced outages. This was so frustrating to hear yet it is a reality for our students who continuously face social and economic barriers.
Layout and installation of the electrical system in the future STEM center
One of our dreams for the STEM Center is to have an alternative energy source to try and combat these sorts of instances that limit our student’s efforts. For example, solar panels. Living in a place that receives direct sunshine for about ¾ of the year it could be a way to help our students work whenever they want, whether on the math Olympics, robotics, recycling or building – no matter the conditions outside the center. We are hoping to investigate this and other energy alternatives. Our team dreams big because our students do too. And observing as our regional STEM center gets closer to completion, we are reminded of what we have to prepare for this coming year.
Materials ready for the next construction phase... can you guess what they will become?