A View From the Ground: CEF’s Matthew Pattinson on his Experience Working on CEF Projects

Tuesday July 27, 2010: A Motorcycle Ride to Loma Linda
“One of the great privileges for me in working in development is getting the opportunity to go out to the communities to visit and work with the people who benefit from the projects that we support. Recently, while in Comitancillo, I visited two communities where CEF implements projects.

The two communities where CEF works in Comitancillo are remote and getting transport can be a problem. However, I managed to borrow a motorcycle for the day, which was going to make my trip significantly easier. My first stop was Loma Linda, the village that benefited from the most recent CEF support for school construction. As soon as I arrived at the school the children recognized me from my previous visits and start yelling my Spanish name, "Mateo, Mateo, Mateo!" My main mission was to take photos of the students studying so that CEF supporters can see what the students are up to. This is always a challenge because as soon as the children see the camera, they get excited and want to entertain. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for the best photos so I have to be real sneaky to get photos of the students as they are studying.

The Parent Advisory Council (Consejo) had taken it upon itself to begin construction of a kitchen for the school. This demonstrates how having a school that the community is proud of can be a seed for future community driven development. The kitchen that they were building was to be made out of adobe blocks. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Agatha arrived before the community could get the roof on the building and the storm severely damaged the walls. So much so that one of the walls exposed to the heavy wind and rain collapsed.  I found this very disheartening, as the community had worked so hard to get as far as it did."

-Matthew Pattinson CEF Board Member & Former CEF Project Lead