The relationship of Construction Volunteers and the people of Roatan is continually evolving. Our 2016 project was exciting for us because of the new ways we were able to work with the community. Be sure to check out the slideshow above.
When we arrived in Roatan we visited our friends in the community of La Colonia, where we have worked before. This area faces many challenges, among them a lack of basic infrastructure. In past years we have worked with local volunteers to construct stairways, bridges, and retaining walls to help address these issues. In 2016, the community asked us to build a new type of project for our organization, a school and community building. In a large gathering of community members we were informed that the local students had a long journey to school on busy roads, and that the current school is overcrowded and in poor condition. We were also informed that there is no space for community meetings.
The overwhelming support of the community convinced us of the need to build the project. We calculated that we had enough funds to buy the materials, but would not be able to hire any workers. Community leaders assured us that there would be many local volunteers, and that those who could not volunteer because of work obligations would contribute to help pay those volunteers.
The site of the project is on land owned by the community organization. It is a steep lot (as is typical for this community), necessitating the construction of a large concrete block foundation. We were able to excavate the foundation providing a second room underneath the structure. Upon completing the foundation, we built a 25′ X 20′ wooden structure. This is to be divided into 2 rooms for classes. In the future two more rooms will be finished underneath making a total of 4 rooms.
There were only 3 CV volunteers able to make the 2016 trip, so we relied on the participation of the local people to a greater extent than ever. The local volunteers worked extremely hard, on several occasions working throughout the night to complete the foundation. As always, working with the local volunteers was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. And it was a successful experience too, as we completed the structure in less than 2 weeks.
We look forward to returning to Roatan to continue our mission of collaborative community involvement in Roatan.