The “Pallet” School

The University of Lethbridge Rotaract Club (ULRC) had raised funds for a school in South Sudan, but the civil war there prevented its construction. Members of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East (RCLE) proposed to the Rotaractors that they fund a permanent structure for a poor school in Mazatlan, that was built out of shipping pallets. The ULRC agreed to this change, provided there was local Rotarian supervision in Mazatlan.
 
Construction of a hurricane-proof school was overseen and completed by a Mazatlan Rotarian who is also a major contractor in town. The school is a busy lively beautiful kindergarten. This school will also serve as a community emergency shelter.
 
BEFORE
 
AFTER
 
 
In Mexico, children must attend kindergarten before they may enter grade school. To enter kindergarten children are required to wear a uniform and have a backpack filled the required school supplies. Many local parents cannot afford the uniform or the supplies, but local ‘snowbirds’ fundraise to ensure these children enter kindergarten. In Mazatlan there is a large group to permanent foreign residents plus snowbirds who organize scholarships and supplies to ensure children complete their grade school education.
 
The school’s new building formally opened in October 2017 and was timed to coincide with the convoy’s arrival. The two Presidents of the ULRC who were both heavily involved in project were also flown down (expenses covered by RCLE) to attend the formal opening.
 
L=>R: Katelyn de Boer and Katie Wilson
 
Katelyn and Katie attended the formal opening and in the evening, were entertained to formal dinner in a private house to thank them for the Rotaractor’s generosity. Mexican hospitality requires that visitors who bring valued gifts are specifically thanked, so the two Presidents also attended the formal dinner which marked the end of the 2017 convoy’s time in Mexico.
 
(Editor’s note: Mexican hospitality can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming to a foreigner, but good manners require that everyone joins in.)