What sort of supplies do the local schools appreciate?

by The G-Force, Monday, March 28, 2011, 22:52 (3898 days ago)

Hello - I'll be visiting in about 10 days and am considering bringing an extra suitcase of some random office supplies I've been noticing around my company. But I want to make sure it would be appreciated. For example, a ream of copy paper, various canvas tote bags that everyone seems to collect from the various conferences we attend (school book bags maybe?). Branded pens, pads of note paper, post-its, even stress balls that companies give out at trade shows. It all seems to go to waste here in the States and I'd love to be able to see it put it to use. Would the schools use it?

Many thanks.

G

What sort of supplies do the local schools appreciate?

by Kim in Wa, Monday, March 28, 2011, 23:57 (3898 days ago) @ The G-Force

Your items will be well received.

Here is a list from Laura out at the Childrens Library in La Barra de Potosi.

This list will work for all schools.

spiral notebooks
colored markers and pens
pencil sharpeners
thick crayons
glue/glue sticks
geometry sets
construction paper
art paper
copy paper
art supplies
stickers
index cards
rulers
folders
sparklies are always loved
stickers and glitter glue for their art projects are low.

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What sort of supplies do the local schools appreciate?

by AngelaD @, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 08:13 (3898 days ago) @ Kim in Wa

Great information - how do we contact the schools or where do we take them for distribution?

What sort of supplies do the local schools appreciate?

by Kim in Wa, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 08:45 (3898 days ago) @ AngelaD

Here is Laura's email. lauragecko2@hotmail.com

In Zihuatanejo you can take your supplies to Lupita's Boutique.
Rob and Lupita will distribute your items where needed.

http://www.zihuatanejo.net/lupitas/

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Where to drop off donations

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 08:47 (3898 days ago) @ AngelaD

Great information - how do we contact the schools or where do we take them for distribution?

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My wife Lupita and daughter Valeria will be happy to receive any donations at Lupita's Boutique. If you have a particular destination in mind, such as Barra de Potosí or Troncones, just let my girls know and we'll make sure whatever you donate reaches its intended recipients. If you prefer they distribute your donations as they see fit, we know plenty of very needy schools.

One of the schools we want to help (along with Wil and Belem) is the primaria/secundaria (elementary/high school) in Mesas de Bravo.

[image]

Thank you Rob.

by sparky, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 14:10 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Thanks for your help in getting these supplies to those who need and deserve them, Rob. You provide a tremendous service in helping others provide assistance to those who need it most.

PHOTOS & Trip Report - SCHOOL VISIT

by Tamie in Idaho, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 08:52 (3898 days ago) @ The G-Force

I have a attached a link to my post about my visit to a local Zihuatanejo school just a few weeks ago. It was a wonderful experience. I would highly recommend having Carlos Garcia take you www.tourswithcarlos.com. He made the whole thing very easy, and showed us some other interesting sites along the way, too.

Have fun with the kids. You're in for a real treat!

Click here to see more photos and trip report on my school visit: 8498

[image]

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Careful

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 09:03 (3898 days ago) @ Tamie in Idaho

Tamie, while I can't be sure, it looks like from the photos that this school is located in a squatters' community, which is the type of school foreigners should not get involved with. One of the requisites for getting the land they squatted on rezoned is to have a school, so they've built dozens of "new" schools around our community. One of the consquences is that now we have dozens and dozens of these little dirt poor understaffed and underfunded schools that we will never have sufficient resources for. Our educational system has many flaws, one of them being the promotion of political agendas by allowing all these little schools to exist in all these squatters' communities (in return for votes) instead of investing in fewer larger schools that benefit larger segments of the population for less money (like most of the rest of the world does).

Due to problems such as this, I do not recommend that visitors just visit any old school, even if their favorite taxi driver recommends it. ;-)

Careful

by Tamie in Idaho, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 09:23 (3898 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Sorry Rob, but my reason for visiting just any old school has nothing to do with your political agenda. I simply hope that every child, no matter their circumstances, has an opportunity for some kind of education. It is my belief that education is the first step to solving any problem ~ even this one. I only wish I had more to give.

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Falta de respeto

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 09:33 (3898 days ago) @ Tamie in Idaho

What political agenda? This is a community problem we are trying as a community to resolve and we would be most grateful if foreigners would not make matters worse, thankyouverymuch.
:beatwall:

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by suztamasopo @, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 11:02 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Just a question. Rob, are the schools you are mentioning Federally funded, authorized Federally and are the teachers and administration dictated by the same rules, lesson requirements etc. as any other school Federally funded and authorized school?

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Falta de respeto

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 12:13 (3897 days ago) @ suztamasopo

Just a question. Rob, are the schools you are mentioning Federally funded, authorized Federally and are the teachers and administration dictated by the same rules, lesson requirements etc. as any other school Federally funded and authorized school?

Supposedly licensed schools receive funding from all 3 branches of gov't: federal, state and municipal, though in practice it's quite a different matter. Many of these squatter schools are awaiting their licensing, often with the help and influence of the same politicians who fomented the land invasions to begin with. Depending on upcoming electoral prospects, any number of parties will "come to the aid" to assist squatters get away with breaking the law. As I'm sure you know, for over 70 years one party wrote all the laws to their benefit, and even though they now share power, instead of fixing a lot of those "designer laws", other political parties have simply adopted the same bad practices, often to the detriment and chagrin of the community, especially those of us who actually pay taxes.

Thanks to the influence of their unions, we all know that teachers pay very little attention to whatever rules they find inconvenient, such as a federal law requiring testing of teachers to rate them on their own profession. Many simply refused to take the tests and closed down their schools until the government caved in or simply ignored applying the law to them. Guerrero is one of those states where many teachers refused the test.

The first real squatters' school in Zihuatanejo was practically built with money from foreigners, and their donations caused severe conflict among the teachers and parents and hardship for the students in that school and its community until this year. The whole episode caught locals off guard as most of us were unaware of what was going on until it was too late and hundreds of families took over a hillside and got title to the land they essentially stole.

Now we are looking to remove many of these communities from our hillsides, sort the frauds from the truly needy, and get the latter into a low-cost public housing program off our hillsides where providing them with services won't cost the taxpayers 5 times as much as providing those services cost for the rest of us, which was the reason we initially planned against vertical urban growth decades ago, only to be betrayed when the "opposition" came into power 8 years ago and changed the zoning to appease the tens of thousands of squatters they helped to bring here. We prefer not to repeat all the mistakes of Acapulco, in spite of the shenanigans of certain unscrupulous politicians and the public servants beholding to them.

So whether "legal" or not, in the eyes of the Zihuatanejo community many such "new" schools still remain illegitimate and undeserving of our scarce resources. It is unfortunate that certain folks have used these needy people, but not all of the squatters are what they appear. Many have multiple parcels of land and rent them out, living like relative royalty in comparison. When squatters tried to invade a parcel of land just off the main highway into town from the airport a few years ago, everyone commented on the dozens of late-model trucks and cars these folks left parked on the highway while they cleared the land they planned on stealing. Since they were so brazen about it they didn't get away with it that time, but in less visible areas it continues to this day. And we are all quite upset about it and against seeing lawbreakers rewarded for their misdeeds.

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School Donations

by AngelaD @, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 14:02 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Rob, from what I've read, the money received from the annual Sailfest goes to help the local schools. It has backing from Rotary Int'l, Bellack Foundation and is administered by a local non-profit agency, Por Los Ninos of Zihuatanejo. I have to assume that by participating in these activities and/or making a donation, that the money is used legitimately at the appropriate schools. Any issues with Sailfest that I shouldl know about before participating? BTW, this is a great forum. Thanks so much.

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School Donations

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 18:29 (3897 days ago) @ AngelaD

Initially when I brought this problem to their attention they were mostly unaware of what they were involved in. Nowadays I believe they are quite sensitive to the matter and take care to avoid "conflict schools", though I won't condemn them if they are helping some of the former squatter schools that have since received their federal permit. I believe they mean well and they are certainly doing some good. One thing that can make sorting out the "legal" schools somewhat confusing is that many of these new schools "borrow" the federal operating number of another school while awaiting their own so they appear legal. But too many of our schools here in Guerrero long ago ceased being centers of education and have instead become tools and toys of teachers unions, self-serving bureaucrats and unscrupulous politicians.

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by Emmet ⌂ @, Seattle WA, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 14:45 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Hey Rob, thanks for your insight on this as I think it is VERY helpful and important for us to learn this stuff. Wouldn't it make sense to consider funding a busing program for these kids? I appreciate the idea of getting all children educated but if the school and teachers are in Zihuatanejo, why build another school up in the hills where they can create their own rules and curriculum. We have issues like that with sporting venues here in Seattle. We have a great professional football stadium but insist on spending hundreds of millions to revamp the college stadium a mere six miles away. Why not make one awesome stadium (or school) and add some transportation?

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by D-Loco, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 16:15 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

How do squatters acomplish all this....

Do they buy (or get) the land title before they move on to it?

Does a private party own the land before hand and it is just taken from them w/o any compensation?

Are there dwellings already on the land that people live in and they are booted out so the squatters can move in?

Do the squatters get jobs in the community or are they like Gypsies?

Where do they come from and how many at a time?

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Falta de respeto

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 18:46 (3897 days ago) @ D-Loco

How do squatters acomplish all this....

With the help of vote-seeking politicians and their connections as well as "leaders" who claim to represent the squatters and receive a "quota" from them for "finding" land and taking care of all the paperwork.

Do they buy (or get) the land title before they move on to it?

Nope. Any land is fair game, especially if it isn't fenced in and doesn't have anything built on it. BUT ejiditarios won't put up with their nonsense here so none of the ejido lands have been stolen. Also, the federal government won't put up this crap either since they don't run for local elections, so you won't find one single squatter in federally administered lands of Ixtapa.

Does a private party own the land before hand and it is just taken from them w/o any compensation?

It's usually public lands that are stolen with the help of public servants, including those entrusted with protecting those lands, but all up and down Playa Larga and Playa Blanca there are disputes between people who call themselves property owners and other folks who have moved in during the past 20 years.

Are there dwellings already on the land that people live in and they are booted out so the squatters can move in?

Nope, they clear the trees, dig the earth out of the hillside to level it and put up a shack and call it a dwelling. In many cases they don't live in them or else rent them out to extremely poor people so that it looks like needy people are occupying them.

Do the squatters get jobs in the community or are they like Gypsies?

The great majority have little education and no marketable skills to contribute to our already saturated workforce. Many simply decide why pay rent when they can acquire some practically free land and sell it for a heck of a lot more than they paid for it.

Where do they come from and how many at a time?

Some are from the community, but many have come from places like Tecpan de Galeana, Coyuca de Benítez or Acapulco de Juárez where squatting land to get the title is practically a family business shared among different generations and extended family. They trickle in fairly constantly, often picking choice times such as holidays and right before elections when either no one will be paying attention or else politicians will kiss up to them for their votes. They have caused the population to practically double here in the past ten years or so.

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by D-Loco, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 19:56 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

WOW. Interesting info, thanks for the time.

It's surprising such a crime doesn't draw more violent reaction to them. But if they're supported by those that run the Municipality I guess they are protected.

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Falta de respeto

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 20:38 (3897 days ago) @ D-Loco

It's been a nationwide problem pretty much since the 60's, made even more acute since the 90's by the NAFTA. Here in Guerrero the lack of support for the agricultural sector and the endeavor by some "public servants" to put all our public eggs in the tourism basket (where many have vested interests such as our outgoing governor whose family is in the construction business and got lots of juicy public contracts) have exacerbated the problem. For example in the construction business it is common practice to bring in their own workers from somewhere else instead of hiring local workers for new projects, then they essentially abandon their workers when the job is done, adding to local problems and stressing beyond all capacity local social services, such as public schools for instance.

Falta! Tarjeta Roja!

by Gri-lango, Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 14:23 (3896 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

In Brazil, they have Favelas. In Mexico..."invasion de terreno" is an art form.

Much of the areas in and around what today is DF (and all large cities)was "developed" by squatters (exactly as Rob described). Imagine the impact of a few million squatters on the infrastructure...without out proper sewage, elec, water etc. Nearly 23% of Mexico's population live in one small Valley! Urban planning at it's best!

Throughout LATAM, it is still common (though diminishing) for large finca/rancho owners to "sweep" their properties every few months. It's a long chess match.

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by suztamasopo @, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 17:01 (3897 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

So about how many of these "unlicensed" schools are there in the Zihua Municipio? It seems to me if they are Federally funded and chartered schools they are schools whether or not some of the Zihua community likes it or not.

I had a long talk today with the Directora of our Seconderia and now am much better informed as to how schools are funded, "chartered", teachers tested etc.

As for school supplies. I like to put them into the hands of the kids or a person very closely associated with the school. Wil and Barb in Troncones are examples.

But in the final analysis the really important issue is that many kind folks want to contribute and where and how they do this is entirely up to them. One can walk into any school in Mexico and be kindly welcomed and thanked for any efforts for the kids. I do it all the time and in 25 years have never once encountered a problem. Just smiles and Bienvidos.

Education here in Guerrero

by Ed K, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 21:01 (3897 days ago) @ The G-Force

Cities like Zihuatanejo attract land takeovers not just for the job opportunities for the parents, and a home to be called their own, but also for the parents to get a chance to educate their kids.
About 25% of the under 25 year old people here in the State of Guerrero are functionally illiterate. All banks, contractors, large employer’s, accountants, etc. have an ink pad for a thumb print documentation of the hen scratch signature for any employee contracts or legal papers. This is a standard procedure.
Most women of 40 years old or older, when living in a small community, are also illiterate. And, because the majority of the Mexican people do not live in cities, the 25% illiteracy also conforms fairly well to the national average.
Plus, the “eldest son” situation is very alive and very much revered here in Mexico. If there are three school age children, which would cost about 50 pesos a day for transportation from an outlying area to and from a school, and the family income is less than 200 pesos a day….It ain’t going to happen. One child will go to school and the others go to work. The child will be the oldest son.
Just a couple of miles outside the cities, for instance the area around the airport in Zihuatanejo, it is a major event when a child graduates from 6th grade at the age of 16. The money is not there to send them to school on a regular basis, and the child loses a lot of time to complete a full school year.
Larger towns and cities have a distinct advantage for a child’s education. It only costs about the same transportation for all three kids as it does for one. There is a large percentage of young adults, including young women, who are educated to at least the high school age in the cities. But, “free education” in Mexico is not like the situation north of the border. Basically the government pays for the school intrafracture and teachers. The parents must still pay a tuition, which pays for the janitor, drinking water for the kids, toilet paper, etc. Plus, the uniforms, a few books, all writing material, and transportation are all paid by the parent. At 200 pesos a day income, that is a tough situation for even sending one child to school.
The well-off ranchers in the outlying areas send their kids to school and the worker’s kids are expected to contribute to the ranch. And the cycle repeats itself. It is really spooky on how many kids out there could have been very competent engineers, doctors, lawyers, or teachers, but never had an opportunity to get past the 6th grade (if even that).
Mexico will never pull itself out of its current situation until education is addressed for all children to have an equal opportunity.

Education here in Guerrero

by bb, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 21:41 (3897 days ago) @ Ed K

sigh, Mexico has changed so much in the past 20+ years, yet it saddens me that some of those things that should be on the priority list aren't.
It seems like yesterday when I paid for a hotel room in Chetumal and got more than a raised eyebrow that I was a woman travelling with a man, yet held a credit card in my own name. I had always noticed increased acceptance as a woman in the state of Oaxaca, I trust due to the influence of the Tehuantepec women, and had hoped that this attitude had spread along with the other recent changes I have noted, but as your description depicts, the root of it seems to be more economic than anything.