Society & Culture

Building a School and a Living Memorial in Guatemala

On January 27th, seventeen All Souls members and myself left for Guatemala to build schools in remote mountain villages. This will be our eighth trip to provide more opportunity to Guatemalan children through the Sienna Project.

siennaThe Sienna Project is a living memorial to my daughter Sienna, who died in 2006, just a few days after her third birthday. My father, step-mother, and brother decided to turn our loss of Sienna into something that would change the lives of hundreds of children for the better. In the Highlands of Guatemala, the national government pays teachers’ salaries, but does not provide funding for school buildings. Because of a lack of classrooms, many children never go to school.

I want to personally thank all who contributed to this year’s trip. Through an offering plate on a Sunday, our 2015 annual fundraiser, and the generous contributions of our members and friends, the Sienna Project continues to build schools where there are few and in some villages, no classroom spaces.

Even though our daughter Sienna lived for only three short years and and never had the opportunity to attend school, through the Sienna Project, her life has a continuing impact on generations of children and families. For me, I am building more than a school this week. I’m building my daughter’s legacy. I’ve learned that when we can turn our trials and tragedies into something of lasting value, it helps redeem the suffering.

We look forward to updating you with stories and pictures of our progress and of the people we meet along the way.

With love,

Rev. Marlin Lavanhar

Check out Marlin’s next post from Guatemala here.

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