Author Archives: Mary Lee Stephens

Roads vs. Schools in Developing Countries

In developing countries policy makers are struggling to find an even parallel between physical and social infrastructure. The economic returns of physical infrastructure (i.e. roads, highways and railroad transportation) are much faster than those of social (schools and hospitals). Because of this, political policy makers in developing countries typically lean towards fast acting economic growth by improving infrastructure as opposed to having an educated work force. The author of “Roads vs. Schools” suggests that financing social systems through grants and government funding would be a key turning point for the long term success and improvement of developing nations.  This investment in education is the fundamental mission of GLXi in Guatemala.

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Developing countries should invest in schools before roads—at least for now

Meet The Billionaire Philanthropist Placing Big Bets On Early Childhood Development

“Every $1 invested in early education is worth $8 in social benefits, including savings to government service and improved economic potential.”

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Why I Love the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Tradition, by Dave Barford

Day of the Dead is sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Halloween,” but the focus of the two holidays is different.  With its emphasis on remembering and honoring the dead, Dia de Muertos is in some ways more similar to the American observance of Memorial Day or the Catholic tradition of All Souls Day.

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Amy Gets Jelly on her Hands


Amy Inman with her uncle Fr. Joe who spent decades in Guatemala serving as a priest, educator and friend.

Amy Inman, one of the newest additions to the GLXi board, reflects on the different types of people that must come together in order to make a difference in the world, and shows us the importance of having dreams of a better future, even if they aren’t always practical.

There is a Peanuts cartoon strip by Charles Schultz that features Lucy and her brother Linus. Linus is eating a sandwich and is being his usual reflective self. He looks down at his hands and says, “Hands are fascinating things. I like my hands…I think I have nice hands. My hands seem to have a lot of character.”

He goes on: “These are hands that may someday accomplish great things. These are hands that may someday do marvelous works!” 

“They may build mighty bridges or heal the sick or hit home runs or write soul-stirring novels.”

“These hands – may change the course of destiny!” he cries out to Lucy.  

Then, Lucy looks at him and says, “Yeah, but you’ve got jelly on them.” 

I love this strip.  In changing the world, to be effective, we need both Linus’ and Lucys. We need dreamers to dream how our communities can be better and pragmatics who figure out how to take the dream, look at the realities and get it done. Without the Lucys, dreams would stay dreams. However, without the Linus’, there would never be the possibilities. Because, yes, Linus, the hands that change the world need not be perfect—they are sometimes calloused, sometimes scarred and sometimes come with jelly.

Global Issues Club at NC High School Chooses GLXi

September 2015 — Members of the Southside High School Global Issues Club in North Carolina chose Global Learning Exchange as their nonprofit partner this year.

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  • “Knowledge will destroy ignorance.”

    Karla Pena, GLXi teacher

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