Starting the foundations of education with the Jesuits

By Casey Callais, 6/17/2016 — This week we have been honored to have a 21-person strong group of dedicated volunteers from the Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon working with us. And when I say work, I mean hot, muddy, dirty, fun work. 


Getting started is always the hardest part, so we are happy to have the Jesuit volunteers here to help us get this project off the ground. Or get the ground off the project might be a better way to put it. We have spent all week taking dirt out of 6′ x 6′ x 3′ deep holes with the plan to fill them back right back in. No, it isn’t an exercise in humility, it’s science.

Kids digging foundations in El Jicarito

Kids digging foundations in El Jicarito

Before any construction can begin we must make sure we are building on solid ground. To do that we have to dig down past the sticky black clay until we get to the solid layer of hard dirt that we can build on top of. Except we won’t be building on top of that per se, rather, we will be filling in the holes with MORE hard dirt that will be compacted and then we will build on top of that. Make sense? Dig out the bad, replace with good and then we construct.

Getting started on the foundations for the first row of columns

Getting started on the foundations for the first row of columns

We have removed approximately two and a half dump trucks worth of unstable black clay so far, all with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. The Jesuit group has been in such good spirits despite the large amount of hot, sweaty work involved. They know when it’s time to pick up the shovel and dig and they know when it’s time to pick up the WSJ and supervise.

Rereading the sports section

Kids building their own school

I have always said that there is something poetic about kids building their own school. Wouldn’t we all have appreciated our time in school more if we had helped build it?

The Jesuit experience is one that promotes service work and education, and the Seeds of Learning experience compliments that philosophy. Not only is the Jesuit group helping to build the new school but also helping to educate the kids in the old school.


dice game

helping kid learn

Our hope is that one of the things these kids and their parents learn is that coming together to work as a community lends itself to progress that can’t be had working with just two hands.

We will be posting regular updates about the project as construction continues. In the meantime we are offering an amazing deal for people who are interested in this project. Donate to help buy whiteboards, desks, computers, etc. and receive Knitknot’s architectural plans, Precision Structural Engineering’s structural design (compliant with the 2012 International Building Code), Seeds of Learning’s complete construction report AND a 2-hour phone call with the Seeds of Learning team. This is ideal for anyone who is interested in building their own super adobe project and the money goes to cover school supplies and resources. Donate

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