What I Learned on My First PoP Field Trip

In September, our inspiring, enthusiastic PoP Gala Auctioneer joined the team in Guatemala for a #PoPFieldTrip. As expected, CK Swett brought an incredible level of energy to the community members, students and PoP staff.

“Earlier this month, I visited Chicutzán — a pre- and primary-school serving 1,500 T’zutujil and Spanish speaking people in southern Chicacao. Five PoP classrooms accommodated a safe, quiet (special roofs reduced the eardrum-pummeling cacophony of afternoon downpours), cool and dry place for the the 379 students to learn. Everyone turned out for a ceremony honoring Ryan Dunn, a philanthropist who had raised the funds for the most recent build. The brevity of my attention span rivaled most of the 6-10 year olds, and soon we were all clowning around, causing a bit of distress for the assembled adults. But it’s hard to quell such expressions of joy when you see these children, all so voracious to learn.

Exploring Chicutzán, which also features six PoP-renovated washrooms (one of the biggest challenges facing rural Guatemalan educators is providing the kids clean and working lavatories), I realized that I essentially took the structural availability of my education for granted.

A few days later, I found myself at the Xiquina preschool and primary school in the municipality of Santo Domingo, a quintessential site. Our group of Americans got a close before-and-after look at the facilities, and the difference between the five PoP classrooms, in addition to the nine PoP washrooms, was startling. After the tour, we stood at attention for the Guatemalan national anthem and listened to the remarks of a local official. Finally the ribbons were cut, the speeches were finished and the band struck up. True to form — whether in Moscow or Capetown, Bogota or London — I was first on the dance floor. As I spun my partner around, and in turn was also twirled, I registered the bemused look on the kids faces and the smiles of the adults.”

We’re looking forward to the similarly amused faces and smiles that CK will inspire at our upcoming 6th annual PoP Gala. He truly brings joy and excitement to any group of people he meets—and we couldn’t ask for a more spirited, dedicated PoP family member at our big night!

Check out #PoPFieldTrip on Instagram to follow our adventures in Guatemala, Ghana and Laos.

To learn more about PoP’s work, visit pencilsofpromise.org

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