Kids at an underfunded elementary school in Playa Hermosa are getting a new playground thanks to some volunteers from the United States. As part of the service-learning program Global Leadership Adventures, 10 teenagers from San Diego, California, are spending about a month constructing the playground for the school of 42 children.
Gary Lindquist, chairman of the Playa Hermosa School Committee, said this is a substantial gift for a school where most of the children come from very poor backgrounds. Their poverty is in direct contrast with the town’s wealthy tourist and expat population, making Playa Hermosa’s beach community a paradox of fortunes.
Though the elementary school hidden in the trees has been in
existence for about 35 years, Lindquist said it was on very few peoples’ minds when he first arrived. “So many people lived here and they didn’t even know there was a school here,” Lindquist said.
Recently the school has nearly doubled in enrollment, but the kids in grades first through sixth are still instructed in one classroom as the younger children are relegated to a small kitchen. Principle and teacher Javier Rosales and a new instructor are the only two on staff at the school.
Lindquist said the committee has $5,000 in donations saved up to build another classroom, plus money earned from a recent fundraising run sponsored by Delta Airlines. To construct a new room for the school would cost at least $12,000, he said. They are also looking to add an English teacher and computers with additional donations in the future.