Soap is a luxury for many mountain villagers. We didn’t want to “offend” villagers by just donating soap (thereby insinuating that we thought they were “dirty”), so at the suggestion of a local friend of ours we started a recycling program with the teacher in El Chilar. Just 20 cans or bottles will get a family a soap of their choice (for clothes, body, dishes…), and this way folks get a bargain for their efforts… a whole different message. We’re going to add bleach to this because dengue is so prominent now.
Well, in Chilar the kids went nuts…. almost immediately they had collected 1000 bottles and cans!!! The first graders count the bottles, older kids have other tasks such as organizing. The truck comes once a month to pick up these items and pays a small fee for them. With this money, the school can buy supplies.
It was so successful that we added La Laguna to the project and WITHIN 3 DAYS, these kids collected about 1000 bottles as well, and moms got soap. Now we are also adding bleach to the donations, to help with the fight against mosquitos and the dreaded dengue. I had to crack up when I saw their bodega so full of cans and bottles that you couldn’t completely open the door!!
This project cleans up the environment, cleans the individual kids and clothes, creates more hygienic and healthy living environments, sets up a microbusiness for the school kids, and helps out the schools with supplies for a cost to us about $7 per month. Our goal is to add more schools soon!! Thanks to the generosity of Good Neighbors Group and many private individual donors who have helped make this program such a success!