In The Press


Published: The Oregonian, Washington County Weekly, Neighborhood Round-up, August 9, 2007

Beaverton resident Wayne Hess was recently honored by having a library named after him.  A new electronic library is the latest addition to the La Pedrera School in Guatemala.

Hess, a retired CPA, was largely responsible, through the help of several generous donors and his own tireless efforts, for equipping the school with more than 18 computers, and the over $4,000 needed to build an additional story on the existing structure.

La Pedrera School is attended by approximately 100 students whose families are among the poorest. Hess became acquainted with the Mayan school in the western Highlands area while serving with Habitat for Humanity several years ago, and has been helping them for the past four years. On June 27th, he attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Wayne Hess Electronic Library and a special lunch which followed. Having access to high speed Internet is expensive and uncommon in Guatemala. The children were, however, undaunted. They got right down to the business of experiencing their first time on the Internet with relative ease. “It was incredible,” says Hess. “I was showing the kids how to use the laptops. I was setting up the second one and they already had the first one figured out.”

Hess plans to continue helping the school. He is currently working on obtaining tax deductible status for the La Pedrera School Project and is hopeful that a second instructor can be hired soon. You can learn more about La Pedrera and how you can make a donation at

Hess will be returning to Guatemala next February with Habitat For Humanity. The organization is looking for volunteers for the trip. If you are interested, you may visit or call Wayne at 503-641-1009.


Press Release: Casa Xelaju, Guatemala, May 23, 2007
By: Casa Xelaju and La Pedrera Community Project

Casa Xelaju is proud to announce the opening of the Wayne Hess Electronic Library for La Pedrera Community on June 27 in a special ceremony. The construction of this Electronic Public Library is possible thanks to the solidarity work of Wayne Hess, a former CX student from Beaverton, OR.

Wayne Hess, with his tireless work and the help of Rotary International, was able to obtain a donation of more than 18 computers and more than $4,000 to build a 2nd story on top of La Pedrera Community building.

Casa Xelaju, for its part, has donated 30% of the new library cost. It has also donated the hardware to connect the E-Library with the internet via WIFI with its building in the city of Quetzaltenango. Casa Xelaju will provide internet access to the community for free and will maintain the network.

On behalf of La Pedrera Community Project, Casa Xelaju greatly appreciates the tremendous effort Wayne has put into this project. Without his help, this new electronic library would not have been possible. For this reason the community unanimously named the E- Library after him.

High-speed Internet access in Guatemala is very elitist because the service is very expensive. By providing this service to the community, we hope we can educate and prepare the community members for a better life in the future with more opportunities.

Finally, if you wish to help to maintain this project with volunteer work or donations, please contact us.

Photos »


Published: The Oregonian, Metro West, Sunrise Edition, Thursday, October 26, 2006
Byline: Michelle Mandel

A Beaverton man gets supplies, raises money for a school with impoverished studentsWayne Hess of Beaverton has traveled to Guatemala four times since 2003 to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. Wanting to learn Spanish, he hooked up with a school in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.Through that connection, he was introduced to another school—for Mayan children—in La Pedrera. That launched 71-year-old Hess, a retired certified public accountant, on a new life journey. Now he spends much of his time finding clothing, school supplies and computers to benefit the 90 or so impoverished children who attend the school. Here Hess talks about his quest.

Q: What inspired you to help this school?

A: Right away, after meeting the children, I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to help further their education. Their parents, who have migrated in from the highlands, are unskilled laborers, most who do menial tasks for the lowest wages possible.

Q: What are the children like?

A: They range in age from 6 to 15 or 16. Usually at that age they’re almost forced to go to work. They live in what we would consider a slum area. Their homes have dirt floors. Some have thatched roofs. There are no bathroom facilities. Their water is trucked in and placed in 55-gallon drums.

Q: How did you first start helping?

A: I brought down school supplies, anything I could think of. Then I discovered I could buy the supplies cheaper in Guatemala. What they do is buy one textbook, then copy it on a copy machine.

Q: Where do you get the money to help?

A: I use my personal resources, to the extent that I can. Then I turn to friends, family and business acquaintances. I make a lot of phone calls. When we took clothing to Guatemala, my wife made almost 80 dresses. And my dentist and hygienist donated toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Q: What motivated you to seek computers for the school?

A: I was talking to the leader of the school, trying to figure out their greatest need. Early on, she wanted to put a toilet in the school building. But the children are used to not having a toilet. The school leader decided they could use a computer more. So I raised enough funds to buy a desktop computer. Then I raised funds to take down four good laptop computers.

Q: You’re headed to Guatemala again in January. How many computers are you taking this time?

A: Four more laptops and 15 desktop computers donated by the Portland law firms of Barran Liebman, and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. The Portland Rotary sends down a container of goods to the same area. The computers are going with that shipment.

Q: What’s your next goal for the school?

A: I’m raising money to build a second story on the schoolhouse. So far I’ve raised about $1,000 of the $4,000 needed for the materials. Families are donating the labor.

Q: How has this project affected your life?

A: It’s given me an absolute, total appreciation of how well off we are in the United States. It takes so little to satisfy these people. And whatever they have, they’re willing to share.

Q: How can Oregonians help your cause?

A: By making donations. People can reach me at or by calling me at 503-641-1009.