Special Tribute to Lori Hutchinson and Her Work with Seeds of Learning
Lori and Las Minas
Twenty-five years ago a Sonoma friend of ours, Todd Evans, started a nifty non-profit with the aim of rounding up church groups and student groups to build schools in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and named that outfit Seeds of Learning. Since then, 2,000 volunteers have planted those little schools like blossoms of hope in the most inconvenient places imaginable to afford employment for 200 teachers and education for 20,000 students.
In the year 2000 Lori and Tucker signed on to a construction team for a build in Las Minas, a town north of Chalatenango, El Salvador, to haul cinder blocks and mix concrete with shovels while perspiring like linemen under the tropical sun. Neither of them saw the finished product — subsequent teams installed the windows and doors and roof — but I saw it last Monday.
After Lori died on January 27, we suggested to friends like you that memorial gifts to Seeds of Learning would be fitting. And you responded . . . to the tune of $15,000. And counting. Prompting wonder and gratitude in this family and at Seeds of Learning.
And so it was that Seeds of Learning had a weather-proof metal plaque fabricated with Lori’s picture and these words. Lori Hutchinson : 1952 – 2016 : A great friend of Las Minas. She was part of the construction team that built this school in 2000 in collaboration with Seeds of Learning.
The school principal found the right place for that plaque, just outside his office, then picked his best reader, Graciella, to help me when the teachers and students assembled for the national anthem and some traditional dancing and words from the tall gringo. The kids loved hearing about how the Norteamericanos came to their town, then Graciella and I read from Esperanza y la Nueva Escuela, the bi-lingual book written by another member of Lori and Tucker’s team — Sarah Donnelly — when she returned to Sonoma.
Apparently love does make a difference. The little plaque that will soon be affixed to the school in Las Minas gives testimony to that, and to my beautiful girl.
She made the world a better place. Click any image to enlarge.