Palomas principal appreciates help that makes a concrete difference

school food program

Ford Elementary School principal Angel Garibay displays canned food Border Partners deliveredi

We at Border Partners prefer to partner with existing institutions in order to provide material assistance. Institutions already in place are more familiar with the needs of the people and have also determined the best way to address those needs. One partner institution with whom we’ve developed a warm relationship is the Ford Elementary School in Palomas.

When we were making a short pre-Christmas visit to Ford, Angel Garibay, the Ford principal, seemed delighted to have the chance to thank Border Partners and its supporters for the concrete support his school has received from them. The Principal in fact immediately launched into a beautiful and impromptu statement of appreciation when the microphone was passed to him.

We present to you his statement –translated whole and entire. It is you who make this good work possible through your donations. We want you to know how much it is appreciated.


I appreciate the work that Border Partners has done, especially in education. Their support of us [at Ford School] has been very good.

They have especially helped us in two areas.

First: in the area of computer technology, their “computer team” helped us acquire the equipment. Now the children have a computer teacher, and they also have the machines so that they can work.

The other area—one that’s also very important–is that every month Border Partners supports us so that we can provide food for the students. That means that they bring us eggs, potatoes, fruit, cheese, a variety of canned products—and all of this is for the good  of the children.

The children are eating breakfast here between 7:30 and 8 AM and they eat another meal here at school between 1:30-2 PM. This would not be possible without the assistance you’ve given us.

At this point in the end of the year, hope that God will bless every single person who has helped us through these projects. We also hope that 2013 is filled with fruitfulness for you all.


Ford students at garden

Ford Students are successful gardeners.

Now that 2013 is underway, we’ve begun and accomplished two more important projects at Ford. In addition to the new school garden plots that are already producing (see photo, right) we also installed a solar cooker. The school food program will be able to use the cooker, utilizing free sunshine rather than the expensive utilities of gas and electricity, to provide warm food for the children.

You help allows us to augment the important work of the Ford educators, enriching the lives of the young students. Thanks for your support!

Students Create a Ford School Garden

garden diggingThe elementary school students at Ford School in Palomas are doing-it-themselves. They’re creating a school garden. In fact, they’re building several raised bed plots.

The plots will teach life-learning lessons about gardening, food and nutrition. Eventually, teachers will base curriculum lessons on the gardens–particularly in math and science. Best of all, the students will proudly eat the food they’ve raised themselves at school lunches.

In this photo sequence you’ll see the students building the raised bed frames for the garden plots and preparing the soil. Their intense interest and eagerness to participate in the process can’t be faked–it’s “the real McCoy!”

Our garden coordinators are working closely with the Ford School staff to direct and teach the children. But, the digging, the hauling, the watering, the planting–actually, in every aspect–the students are doing the work themselves.

See this process for yourself on our Flickr set: Ford School Garden! Thank you so much for making the good work possible with your support! [Click on the thumbnails individually to see the full-sized photo for better viewing.]


Ford School Garden, a set on Flickr.

Summer school in Palomas, Mexico: A priceless adventure in learning

La Escuela de Verano

by Bill Charland, Border Partners Board Member

Mention “summer school” to those of us of a certain age and you’re likely to get a groan. We’ll remember being shut up in classrooms filled with rows of desks and chairs, called in from vacation to study something or other we weren’t very good at.

girl loves learning at summer school

Shining eyes reveal a girl’s love of learning at summer school in Palomas.

But this summer in Palomas, an innovative escuela de verano drew some enthusiastic reviews from the students who attended and the dedicated staff who worked with them. The program was conceived by Angel Garibay, Principal of the Ford School, and it addressed the needs of selected students from each of the three elementary schools in town – kids who needed support in a certain subject, or else just an additional positive experience in education.

The three-week summer school provided that, with a curriculum ranging from reading and writing to mathematics and history, from woodworking and gardening to dance and art. Monday through Friday, there were two hours of classes followed by the grand finale: lunch.

The staff included Professor Garibay who taught math and history and his wife, Ismaela Muñoz, who taught art. Their daughter, Aby Garibay – a pre-kindergarten teacher from Mata Ortiz (three hours away) volunteered in the school office. Juana Flores and Juana Lazoya taught gardening. Marisol Guillen, a Border Partners staff member, led an energetic dance class, along with her mother, Maria. Thalia Romero offered instruction in reading and writing and her husband taught woodworking. Gricelda Loya volunteered to run the cafeteria and brought her pre-school-age daughter who was an enthusiastic participant in the dance class.

dance class

Border Partners’ Marisol Guillen leads an enthusiastic dance class at summer school in Palomas.

When photographer Tom Vaughan and I visited the school during the last week of classes, we were struck by the lively spirit that filled the school. With translating assistance from Border Partners’ Marisol Guillen, along with Ruendy Salinas who came over with her husband, Oscar Ledezma, and their infant son, I spoke with about 15 of the students. I asked about their favorite subjects and got a wide range of responses. A number of them had just participated in a dance class, and baile ranked at the top of the list. But there were other favorite subjects – reading (which one girl was practicing in both English and Spanish), matematica, painting, and planting.

summer school lunch

Summer school sudents ate a nutritious lunch each day. Border Partners channeled the funding for lunch that was provided by the Gila Friends Meeting in Silver City, New Mexico.

The summer school had the kind of extended family feeling that I always appreciate in Mexico and it seemed to be, above all, an energizing experience. With the variety of teachers and subjects available, there was something for everyone to love. Driving home, I felt a deep appreciation for Gila Friends Meeting in Silver City, New Mexico, which had donated funds through Border Partners to pay for materials and the daily lunch. But I also knew there was no way to put a price tag on the caring spirit of the staff. The escuela de verano was an adventure in education in which everyone had a share.

More images from la Escuela de Verano Photo credits: Tom Vaughan