It’s all happening very fast. Lockdowns, social distancing, work from home, uncertainty, fear... Amid everything, believe that you have the power to act and change the world during these strange and difficult times.
So much has changed in the last couple of weeks. It has become very clear that the world is entering an unprecedented global health challenge that will greatly impact every area of our lives, the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
In the morning of Monday, March 16th, it was announced that the government of Guatemala was going to start implementing some harsh, but necessary measures to protect its citizens, including canceling all non-essential activities and shutting down borders for a period of fifteen days. This led us to take difficult but necessary measures.
Here's a brief summary of LWH's current status:
- In accordance with national directives, CETC closed its campus. Teachers are still working remotely on grading and preparing lesson plans for when school resumes. As technology and internet access are not fully available to all families in Comalapa, the students have suspended their studies for the time being. Additionally, beginning today, all LWH builders were put on two weeks paid leave. We will continue to reassess the safety of their returning to work as the situation in Guatemala evolves.
- After two wonderful weeks of construction work and learning, the LWH team decided to cancel the fourth Green Building Academy. This meant saying early goodbyes to our students and interns, who made the wise decision to return to their homes with their families and loved ones. Even with some complications and canceled flights, they all made it to their respective countries safely. We applaud them for the integrity they showed in such uncertain times and hope to welcome them back to Comalapa soon.
- The LWH team and Board of Directors have also made the decision to suspend the Volunteer Program for a period of three months, with the hope of being able to resume in the summer. This, of course, is subject to change in accordance with the development of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the decisions made by leaders around the world, and mainly, the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
What does all this mean for LWH?
As you all can imagine, this will challenge the organization greatly, as the Volunteer Program is one of the main sources of income for LWH. However, we are more than willing to take on this challenge in order to not compromise the health and safety of our local staff, builders and instructors, teachers and students, our community in Comalapa, and our international community of partners and volunteers.
How could the COVID-19 pandemic affect the community of Comalapa?
We are aware that this virus is serious and does not discriminate. It is affecting people all over the world. Bu we also know that a situation like this is especially harmful in communities like Comalapa, due to the lack of infrastructure and resources available to respond to a massive outbreak. LWH has always sought to support the Comalapan community, but today, the best thing we can do to support this community that we all love so much, is to lie low and do everything in our power to minimize exposure and hopefully flatten the curve of coronavirus COVID-19 cases.
What can you do to help?
We know that our ability to emerge victorious from this challenge depends a lot on the sacrifices we make as a team and the continuous support of our community. If it is in your capacity, please consider making a donation to LWH. A one time donation is incredibly valued, but if you think you can go further, please consider becoming a monthly recurring donor to help us ensure stability of our teacher and builder salaries during these uncertain times.
We know in our hearts that with your help, we will not only make it through this crisis, but also strengthen our purpose and our work.
Con amor y solidaridad,
The Long Way Home team.
We are grateful for your support! Thank you!
If you prefer to send a check, please make it payable to Long Way Home and send to:
Long Way Home c/o Matt Paneitz
508 Mountain Prospect Ln
Culpeper, Va 22701