GUATEMALA: Improvements and reconstruction efforts underway at the Salesian mission in San Pedro Carchá
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in San Pedro Carchá are making improvements to the physical structures of their mission in the city. Salesians have been working in the Alta Verapaz Department, located within the northern region of Guatemala, since 1935. Carchá and Chisec are small cities in this region that have around 270,000 people, the great majority from the Qeqchí ethnic group. These individuals live across 433 rural communities.
To launch this project, Salesian missionaries developed a team made up of a chief engineer, bricklayers and 30 students from the Don Bosco Center in Carchá. The team first cleared the area, removing weeds and old trees, as well as demolishing crumbling buildings. They also put up a fence around the property. Next, they will begin building new structures.
Once construction is completed, the main Salesian house will have a parish office and rooms. The construction will raise the church roof, reconstruct a large meeting room and replace benches with chairs. There will also be a system built for water storage.
“In the not too distant future, we’re thinking of renting or buying land nearby that has an aquifer. And as a promising dream, we hope to construct a Don Bosco Center near the church,” said a Salesian in charge of the project.
The entire project required significant funds. Salesian houses within the province provided monetary resources. Nearly 100 of the local villages also contributed, even in the face of their own poverty. The Don Bosco Center provided the volunteer student labor to experience practical training of their skills in masonry and electricity. In addition to the construction effort, Salesian missionaries are reviving the Qeqchí Ministry with reorganization and education for its numerous local leaders and committees.
Rural poverty hasn’t changed much in Guatemala during the last 20 years, according to the World Bank. While 70 percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line, the number is as high as 91 percent for its indigenous population. Many rural residents in Guatemala have only completed a sixth-grade education. This is largely due to the expenses required to send children to schools which are often located far from their homes.
Salesian missionaries working and living in the country have been providing for the basic needs of Guatemala’s youth while helping to break the cycle of poverty. They work extensively with poor youth and their families at youth centers, orphanages, parishes, and primary and secondary schools, as well as operate technical schools, vocational training workshops and two universities in the country.
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Salesian Missions – Guatemala
World Bank – Guatemala