At 7:45am I was given the honour of opening the doors to the school. I said “Hola" and "Buenos dias” six-hundred times, together with Patty the Head of Education, and I was struck by the smiling warmth of these kids as they streamed through the doorway to their future.
For if you grow up in the cliffside shacks of nearby Vista Hermosa, this is the only doorway there is. Without EFTC, education would be inaccessible to our families, just as it is for over three-quarters of Guatemalans who live below the poverty line.
I shortened my speech, not just because of my pidgin Spanish, but also thinking of the hundreds of children and parents sitting in the hot sun. But I needn't have worried. They loved the ceremony. Perhaps because it’s a unique experience: a day about them, the most neglected corner of the local community.
The ceremony began with a parade of the school flag, followed by the Guatemalan national anthem (which has to have even more verses than most Irish ballads!). Dan read a note from David McKee to a hearty round of applause. Amy, Project Director, Aracely, Head of Social Support, and Patty all made speeches.
And my favourite bit: the point at which teachers and staff were all introduced to the crowd and we find out that 8 of them are former School of Hope pupils.
Something to make our founders and supporters proud.