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Touch The Jungle High School Construction

Grand Opening for TTJ's school will be the start of the Fall 2014 School Session!

Below are photos of the school building construction in progress during late 2013-mid 2014. Check back for new updates and photos, and be sure to check out our Facebook page for the latest news!

All of the work done on the land site and building construction was done by local businesses, the students, and other local residents that support the school. We did not use any outside contractors, workers, or businesses to complete this project so that this school truly belongs to the community. Whenever possible, students and their families helped out doing work on the school site and building construction for anything they were able to do, such as cleaning the work site up, painting, clearing the land, etc. They have put their hard work into this project to make it their own and something to take great pride in for this community!

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Students and other local residents had a "minga" or a volunteer work day to clear the land for the school site or brush and grass---all by hand, using tools like machetes.

Another volunteer work day, students and local residents clear small to medium size rocks from the construction side by hand, forming a conveyer line to move the rocks out.

Over 120 local volunteers, made up of students and other residents, showed up for this work day. Here they are in line for lunch!

Lunch is provided for the volunteer workers on minga days

No road to the school construction site yet, so big equipment has to cross the rocky river to get to the construction site and build a road.

Clearing a lane from the road to the school site.

Putting in drainage pipe by the river under the school laneway

Large equipment moving larger boulders from the construction site that could not be moved by hand. The construction site was leveled for construction to start.

First delivery truck of construction materials!

Delivery of concrete blocks, unloaded by hand.

Concrete pillars for the school building being poured into these forms. Concrete is mixed on site by hand in wheel barrows.

Concrete building pillars, dried ones in front, with freshly poured cement in the back ones with their form frames still on.

Forms put in on the top of the columns to pour concrete verticals to support the roof and walls.

Getting the vertical forms ready for the concrete that will support the roof and walls.

Putting bathroom plumbing in the floor before concrete is poured in for the floor.

Blocking in the bathroom walls.

Concrete base floor completed. Ceramic tile will go in over this later.

Custom welded steel window frames and roof support frames being delivered from a local shop.

We opted not to put glass in the windows for several reasons. The weather is very temperate and mild here, so it does not get very cold nor very hot. There are also not a lot of bugs to bother you in this area of cloud forest as there is in the Amazon Jungle.

Glass also breaks and gets dirty, so no glass means less cleaning and maintenance over the long run. These steel windows will instead provide security for the building and also allow some air flow through the classrooms. Students also like to play volleyball in the school yard, so less chance of balls breaking windows!

Roof panels going in.

A completed roof!

There is the roof of the school building from the road. If you look closely, there are 2 men on the roof working. (look for a blue speck) Wouldn't you love to go to school in this setting!!!

Our custom designed steel doors.

Another volunteer work day, students paint sealer on the concrete walls of the school and clean up the work site.

Building the septic system.


July 2014 : School building almost complete, two teachers come by to check on the progress. The classrooms are on the end beyond the teacher wearing red. The near end is a wash area and the bathroom entrance.

The name of the school is "Sienta la Selva" which is a rough translation in Spanish of "Touch The Jungle.

Touch The Jungle first met with the local school association about their proposal to get a school built here in 2011. It took nearly 2 years to raise the funds to build the school. Then there was plenty of red tape to maneuver through with the government to get the land title and all our permits. Finally we started construction in late 2013, and completed construction in July 2014. There have been many obstacles to overcome during the process of this project, from things like getting big equipment and trucks into the construction site (many got stuck on these rural narrow rough roads from carrying heavy loads), rainy season to slow work down, to funds being tied up for months at the small local bank waiting on international checks to clear. In August and September 2014 we are busy getting the classrooms equipped and ready for students to start school in September.

The school building is designed to have 3 classrooms. The classrooms will be separated using partitions. The partitions can be removed as needed to open up the classrooms into one big room is needed. We planned for this building to be used for other community events, not just for school use alone. We even plan to setup a small kitchen with left over building materials so that students can prepare meals when they need to or food can be available for community gatherings.

The school is a government recognized school with government provided curriculum and teachers. There just was no government funding to provide a building. Before this school was built, there were over 300 students enrolled for this school, who met at various locations to have school wherever possible. These kids and young adults were determined to get an education, if it meant having class in a soccer field. And that is exactly why Touch the Jungle wanted to help them out, because of their determination to be educated and their commitment to be environmentally conscious as a community. We expect enrollment to go up now that they have an actual and regular place to have school!

We'll post photos of the classrooms completed and ready to go and the students first days of school soon, so be sure to check back!

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