Everything and the Kitchen Sink

It’s true: together we make the difference!! Back in May, Virginia Vasquez, Director of Home Economics at the Josue Rogelio Ibarra High School in Bocas, requested funds from BESO for the renovation of the school’s Cooking Center. BESO awarded a grant of $1,250.00. Through Margo Carey of Carenero, funds were also awarded from the Bocas School Project which operates under the umbrella of the One World Children’s Fund (www.oneworldchildrensfund.org) And when the Bocas School project and BESO funds didn’t stretch quite far enough, Virginia and Larry Shane, a BESO member, dug into their own pockets for a little more funding. What has happened since May is simply extraordinary. Since pictures speak volumes, the only additional words needed are those that focus on the many individuals that worked together to make that “Before” to “After” transition happen.

Before

Before

After

After

Of course there is Virginia: directing, coordinating, designing, decorating, encouraging, and teaching. And Larry Shane on top of getting bills paid and seeing that workmen got the job done. And the excellent local builder, Enrique “Chucky” Hudson, willing and most capable. And YOU, all of you, generously making contributions to BESO funds, especially at Annual Auction time.

Beneficiaries? In the mornings, local women are employed in the Cooking Center to prepare lunches for all the high school students. As you might guess, given the poverty level in Bocas, this meal is the only nourishing daily meal for many of the kids. When afternoon comes, Virginia holds her cooking classes, where beginners learn to use, for the first time in their lives, such kitchen gadgets as measuring spoons and cups and to read and write recipes. “They burn a lot of food at first,” says Virginia with a little chuckle, but under her guidance, they soon prepare good food for family and some are ready for employment in local restaurants. The classroom does’t sit idle in the evenings, either: cooking classes are provided for local women, most also starting from scratch with cooking basics.

So, students and community, we all benefit. Viva la difference!

Printed monthly in both English and Spanish with a circulation of 5,000 free copies distributed at airports, hotels, restaurants and various retail locations throughout Bocas del Toro, Panama City, David, Boquete and Costa Rica. Also published on the Internet on a daily basis.

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