Quite a Quarter!

It’s high time for an update to Chaptops’ generous donors and friends on what’s been happening. The answer is “a lot”. For me, it included a four-and-a-half-week trip to Guatemala. For the very first time, I shook hands with our three board members in Guatemala – Byron Cap, Fredy Oxom, and Greg Schwendinger -- and I had many interesting and moving experiences. Upon return, I had another moving experience -- to a new home -- which was time- and mind-consuming. I hope to finish a fuller report on my trip soon.

When I tell people here at home about Chaptops, I typically get a comment like “Cooll, nice idea”. Everywhere I went in Guatemala, I heard: “Thank you for helping Guatemala!”– in hotels, inns, taxis, buses, and the language school where I brushed up my Spanish. Of course, the thanks really belong to Chaptops’ supportive donors of computers and money, so: "Thank you for helping Guatemala!"

- Rex Dwyer, Executive Director

Chaptops Center Opens in Tactic!

Cristian: Visitor #1!


... During...


The Chaptops Tactic Tech Center is now a reality! Board member Byron Cap signed a lease for a 30 m2 (320 sf) storefront in mid-March. With the help of volunteers Marlon Rey and Milton Cap, renovations were completed on March 31, and the Center opened formally on April 10 as students returned from Santa Semana vacations. The facility has 10 computers on site for students in town and another 75 available for village students to rent, all donated by Syngenta’s Greensboro, NC site. Friends Francesmary Modugno and Jeff Eppinger provided major financial support for start-up costs. Tu Caja Express provided support for shipping. Byron will be traveling to villages in surrounding Tactic County (municipio) to make students aware of the opportunity. We’re all very excited! We hope the center will be a model for others.


Chaptops Tactic

April 10-15

with student ID

Visit Chaptops Tactic on Facebook!


IMACK's classroom building

The computer lab

Principal Candelaria Choc coaches an IMACK student in the use of Microsoft Word.

Assembly of students and faculty. Left of RD is Fredy Oxom, IMACK cofounder and Chaptops board member. To right, Augusto Ba, President of Asociación Q'eqchi' "Xch'ool Ixim". Spiritual Guide Roberto Caal is on front row, far right.

Instituto Maya Comunitario K’amolb’e is a cooperative middle and high school in the isolated Q’eqchi’ village of Nimlah’akok, Alta Verapax. Board member Fredy Oxom drove me for a visit from Cobán, the capital of Alta Verapaz Department. It’s a 50-mile drive – and it takes three hours. The computer classroom now has more than 20 computers, all donated by Metabolon, Inc. The level of impact of and gratitude for the computers can be measured by the fact that a school assembly was devoted to symbolically receiving the computers


Greg Schwendinger, Alice Lee, and Rex Dwyer before opening ceremony.

CasaSito girls meet a rockstar.

A Mayan spiritual guide leads CasaSito sponsors in a ceremony.

CasaSito operates a comprehensive after-school extracurricular program in San Cristóbal Verapaz. Board member Greg Schwendinger and his wife Alice Lee invited me and representatives of other organizations to the energetic San Cristóbal opening ceremony for the 2023 school year, which began in January. ("Energetic" includes a conga line passing between the legs of stilt-walkers.) Casasito distributed Chaptops’ computers to four girls in mid-2022, and another 14 arrived for a computer lab in early January. Greg and I spent several hours on site at CasaSito installing software, and we met with CasaSito San Cristóbal Director José de la Cruz and staff member Lisbeth Bac to discuss potential future collaborations.

Instituto Básico Comunitario Cañón Seacacar

Students accepting computers on behalf of the new boarding students.

Classes in the hotel.

IBCCS is a middle school located in Seacacar, a small village near El Estor. Although El Estor is relatively easily accessible from the village, the village itself is in a lovely canyon without internet or phone signals. Ramiro Caal, Director of the school and vice president of the Asociación Civil No Lucrativa Aaqakar, also oversees operation of an ecohotel that supports the school. I delivered computers for five new girls attending as boarders. The computers connect by Wi-Fi to a huge array of instructional material on an innovative off-internet device called RACHEL. Internet service has arrived at the school since I visited! It was my pleasure to stay at the hotel, but the association expressed thanks by steadfastly refusing to allow me to pay for my lodging.

Centro Educativo Betania

CEPROCOBE, a large Catholic charity based in Cobán, operates Centro Educativo Betania in San Benito, a village three hours from Cobán near the Mexican border. The school provides middle- and high-school education. Shortly after my departure from Guatemala, Byron delivered 10 computers to CEPROCOBE offices in Cobán. Kramden Institute sold us these computers at a steep discount. This school was brought to my attention when I made a presentation to the board of Guatemaltecos Unidos NC (North Carolina Guatemalans United) several months back. AGUNC assisted with shipping costs. I’ll be sharing some pictures of the deployed computers soon.

The Inevitable Ask

Financial Situation

Although we did not meet the $10,000 fundraising target we had set for opening our center in Tactic, we did get the generous $500 match offered by an anonymous donor, and we also received $800 from Google employees, which Google doubled. We ended the year with more than $5,000 on hand, and the board decided to proceed with a more modest center of 10 instead of 25 seats. Our focus right now is on producing results in Tactic that will help make our case to our donors and prospective donors. But we have many ideas, and more cash on hand will help us explore them. We hope you feel like we've helped you do some great work. We hope you'd like to do more. Here's the button!

Donate Securely

Equipment Donations

We’ve been reluctant to accept laptops from individuals due to concerns about private data. But I am now up to speed on how to wipe computers to military standards. I’m interested in ideas from friends about how to collect old laptops efficiently. If you have a laptop to donate, please contact me to discuss.

The many who have benefited are grateful for your past support!

Final Note

I hadn’t been to Guatemala since 2006, and even then, had never gotten off the tourist track. There was a lot to process. I hope you’ll be able to have a similar trip someday if you haven’t already. I will never again wonder if Chaptops is really having an impact. I’m so excited about some of the ideas we discussed and hope to share them soon.

Please enjoy these memories from my trip.

Cardemom seed pods being dried in Nimlah'akok.near IMACK

Home of an IMACK student

Masked dancers in Xela.

Fishing in Seacacar

Ancient Mayan cacao deity, Museo Popul Vuh.

Chi-Ixim Church near Tactic

Marimbas (and a tourist), San Cristóbal Verapaz.

Wholesale produce market in Tactic

Hoeing peas in Chialli near Tactic.

Seacacar Canyon near El Estor

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