Expat provides housing for high school volunteers

After a local church reneged on its promise, expat George Berenschott offered to billet 40 U.S. high school students who volunteered to build a schoolhouse in Granada

GRANADA—A group of young students from Connecticut had worked and planned all year to come to Nicaragua and build classrooms for high school students in Pancasan, Granada. Their goal was to put as much as possible of the funding they raised into building materials, rather than spend all their money on their own room and board in Nicaragua.

Arrangements were made for local women to cook their meals, Nica style, and a church pre-school agreed to allow the students to sleep in the classrooms in exchange for installing a large water tank. 

Everything was set up, but two weeks before their start date there was a change in the church’s administration. The water tank was installed by others and the church revoked its permission to use their classrooms as sleeping quarters for the students. 

 

Good times in Granada: Berenschott's 40 houseguests live it up

The project, a collaborative effort between Builders Beyond Borders and local group La Esperanza Granada, was in jeopardy. We were facing a serious dilemma: where to find free accommodation for a group of 40 high school kids in February and a second group of 30 in April?

Schools, churches, empty buildings—every possible lodging options was considered. People wanted to help, but providing 40 beds is a big commitment that takes a lot of space. Then George Berenschott came to the rescue. 

 

Pablo Antiono Cuadra School

George opened his beautiful colonial house, one of the largest in Granada, Casa Kiko, and offered it as home to the groups at no charge. This was George’s contribution to helping education for those who need it here in Granada. 

We completed the projects and on May 17 held the official inauguration of the new classrooms. For the first time ever, students will be able to complete their high school studies in Pablo Antiono Cuadra School. (Previously, they had to find another school if they wanted to continue their studies after the third year).

The plaque on the wall reads Builders Beyond Borders and La Esperanza Granada.  But perhaps it should also include George Berenschott’s name, because without his help the project never could have happened. 

 

Pauline Jackson is operations director for La Esperanza Granada.

  • Rob

    Bravo to Builders Beyond Borders, La Esperanza Granada and George Berenschott! I always is a great sign when the expat community works to improve the entire community.