Monday, September 29, 2014

A Celebration of School Spirit

Every year Chiclayo’s national schools celebrate their anniversaries. The extent of the celebrations is determined by the financial resources and determination of the alumni. Most are modest and take place without public notice. On the other extreme are the celebrations of schools Karl Weiss and San Jose. Both schools stage a weekend extravaganza.

Activities begin on a Friday night with outdoor entertainment performed by various musical groups. In between performances the crowd sings school songs and there is a lot of ‘rah rah’ cheering. As the night wears on the crowd becomes younger and the beer flows.

Activity on Saturday involves meeting at the school where former students occupy their old seats in their old classrooms and are lectured to by retired professors. Next there is food served and lots of conversation takes place among people who may not have seen each other in years. Later in the afternoon former students take part in friendly soccer competition.   

Sunday starts with a huge parade that other schools and organizations are invited to march in. The parade begins at the Plaza de Armas and ends at the reviewing stand on Balta Ave. City and other dignitaries applaud the marching units and award prizes. Following the parade classmates usually meet in a restaurant to unwind and eat ceviche. Later that night they’ll meet again for a repeat of Friday night’s activity. 

San Jose celebrated their 155th anniversary this past weekend…. the school goes back to 1859. Individual graduating classes march in the parade and given the age of the school we wondered what year the earliest graduating class would be. After some searching we located this gentleman. He is 90 years old and is believed to be the last living member of the 1942 graduating class. He has problems walking but otherwise is in good physical and mental condition. Though there may have been others, the next earliest class we saw was 1953.

These men graduated in 1959. That has a special significance to me because it’s possible that on the same day they were graduating in Chiclayo I was graduating in Milwaukee, never dreaming that 55 years later I would be watching a different graduating class march in a parade in a place called Chiclayo Peru.

We look forward to these events. There are always large crowds at the parades and lots of infectious enthusiasm. It’s hard not to get caught up into the spirit.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

An Act of Kindness in San Jose

San Jose is the northernmost of the four beach/fishing villages in the Lambayeque Region on the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It is not the most well known. Pimentel is far and away the most popular with tourists and local Peruvians. Next would probably be Santa Rosa (my favorite), followed by San Jose and lastly Puerto Eten. You need to be a certain kind of person to appreciate the brooding, almost ominous quiet of Puerto Eten. I think Hemingway would have liked Puerto Eten. And maybe Bogart.

San Jose lacks the pizzazz of Pimentel and doesn’t have that busy fishing village feeling of Santa Rosa, but it’s got enough going for it to justify the 30 minute combi trip from Chiclayo.

It has a kid’s park that is one of the more attractive and better equipped in the region. The walls surrounding the park have alternating comic book character and historical 3-D murals that show a high degree or artistic talent and imagination.

From the park we walked two blocks to the beach where we watched fishing boats being launched. The machine first pulls the boat to the water’s edge, and then gets behind it and pushes it into the surf. Smaller boats like the one in this photo nearly stand on end when a breaking wave catches them. They have to run the gauntlet of crashing waves for about one hundred yards to smooth water.

 There are hundreds of boats of all sizes and shapes on the beach. Most are lying over until their crews are ready to go back out. Some are being refurbished. And some, like these two will never see the water again.

There aren’t any major attractions in San Jose. There is a church worth looking at, and a street market where vegetables, fruit and of course fish can be purchased, but for us it is San Jose’s colonial heritage still seen in much of the town that we appreciated most.  

After about two hours of walking through the town we got hungry and looked for a restaurant. Todo El Sabor Del Norte met our need nicely. The guy in the photo is the owner. When we entered the restaurant there were two young boys standing at the entrance. After about 15 minutes the owner asked them what they were doing there. They said they were hungry. He asked if they had eaten breakfast. When they responded no, he told them that he had breakfast and wasn’t hungry now so they could have his lunch, but only today. 

He sat them at a table and gave them bread, rice, some pieces of chicken and a bottle of pop. The kids ate quickly and quietly, and when finished thanked the man and left. Watching this scene unfold, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t the first time this guy has fed hungry kids. When we complimented him on his action, he quickly passed it off with the wave of a hand.

Maribel ordered Parihuela and I had fried fish with yuccas. The quality of service and food was very good. We’ll probably go back to San Jose again to walk some streets we missed, and to patronize the Todo El Sabor Del Norte restaurant. The owner is a class act.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

And then there’s the Village of El Pavo

El Pavo does not appear on the municipal map of the Tùcume District. That may have been an oversight, but the villagers say it’s just another example of being ignored by the district authorities. We were in El Pavo at the invitation of Ana Angelica Azalde, the president of the parent’s association. She had learned about us from the school director of the pronoei in nearby Payesa.

After riding in a mototaxi from Tùcume for what seems like hours but is only 15 minutes through a maze of corn fields, El Pavo suddenly appears and the path stops. You are literally at the end of the road. We were told that the farm fields surrounding the village are owned by wealthy people living in bigger cities like Chiclayo and even Lima, not by the villagers. The villagers work in the fields for wages, and often work is not available.

In several ways El Pavo is unique from other villages, beginning with its unusual name. El Pavo translates to “The Turkey.” We have no idea how or why it got that name. Secondly there are no roads in the village…not even a walking path. There is no discernable pattern to the house locations…. no grid pattern, no directional orientation and no relationship to each other. With every step you’re treading on someone’s property… walking through an opening in a fence to someone else’s lot. I felt like a trespasser and kept expecting to be attacked by dogs or by an irate woman with a broom. The pronoei we had come to visit – “Angelitos de Maria” – Little Angels of Mary, was hidden amidst the maze of houses and gardens, and there was a sigh of relief when we found it.

It’s called a pronoei but it’s really not in the sense that the government didn’t build it. It is an old private house that is being used as a kinder for Amelia Valdera and her 15 students. It is constructed of adobe brick, with tree and bamboo logs supporting a leaking corrugated roof. The furniture inside is in terrible condition. We actually saw two kids fall to the floor when a table leg collapsed. The casual attitude toward this incident displayed by the teacher and kids would seem to indicate that it’s not unusual. Amelia told us that there are 7 more kids of kinder age in the village but the school doesn’t have chairs or tables for them so they don’t attend. 

This school, as it is equipped now does not provide a decent learning environment. Fifteen kids clustered around 3 broken down tables sitting in chairs held together with string and tape is not only unacceptable but dangerous.  We’d like to properly equip this school. Chairs and tables are a priority, along with storage shelves and a whiteboard. But there is a complication. The owner of the house wants it returned as soon as possible. Ana and Amelia have gone to authorities in Tùcume several times in the past year asking for a new school, but were told there is no money.

One possible option the village is looking at is the purchase of this lot (that's Amelia on the left…Ana in the center). It is owned by Ana’s father-in-law who will sell it at a reasonable price if it is used for a pronoei. Authorities in Tùcume have indicated that there is the possibility of providing money for the lot, but not for a building at present.

Whatever the classroom solution turns out to be, chairs, tables, shelves and whiteboard are needed now, and they can be moved to wherever the next classroom is located.

What we’re looking at is:

1 whiteboard - $80
2 metal storage shelves – $65
5 wood tables – $125
25 plastic chairs – $100
Transportation - $70
Total - $440

Please consider helping us. A donation of $4 will provide a chair…$25 a table. Please visit the Promesa Peru webpage to donate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You can join us in Tùcume Viejo

At the conclusion of every project we often comment that it would be great if those who contributed to the project could be there with us. Now, in a way, you can.

When Andres, the school director in Tùcume Viejo called last night and asked how we liked the video, we didn’t know what he was talking about. It turns out that two of the teachers put together a video of that morning in Tùcume Viejo on Thursday, September 4th and put it on YouTube. It doesn’t show everything, but it does capture part of the look and feel.

We hope you enjoy the Tùcume Viejo video.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday Morning Musings

[This post actually did start in the morning and was prompted by thoughts of breakfast. I kept getting pulled away from it before I could finish it. I had about decided to delete it before going to bed when I thought – why not post it as a sort of ‘a day in the life of’ type thing? Anyway, here it is.]

Even after being in Peru for over six years I am still occasionally asked what I miss most from the United States. There are a lot of things I miss… a ton of things. But on Sunday mornings what I miss most is a big, greasy 8,000 calorie American breakfast.

This is Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast. It’s torture for me to look at this photo. I last ate this breakfast in March in Monterey California. Bacon, eggs, ham, sausages, hash browns, toast, pancakes and all prepared in a way that is unmistakably American, as is the waitress who appears at the table every ten minutes, pot in hand asking, “…more coffee, hon?”

Now, in truth Maribel can come very close to duplicating the Grand Slam right here in Chiclayo. The pancakes and syrup, toast, bacon and eggs (if she uses white eggs – the brown are the norm here because they cost less but to me they have a musty taste and odor) taste nearly identical. A thick slice of ham is difficult to find in stores, and she has to make the hash browns from scratch, so it’s a lot of effort  but I sure appreciate it, even if she doesn’t do the, “…more coffee, hon?”   

Forget about finding a Grand Slam breakfast in Chiclayo restaurants. A few restaurants offer what they call ‘desayuno americana’ – American breakfast. It consists of a piece of toast, one egg scrambled or fried (fried eggs are always burned around the edges and the yoke is hard), and one square slice of what is referred to as ‘hamòn’ – ham. If it wasn’t labeled ham on the menu you wouldn’t know what it was. It’s sliced so thin that it’s nearly transparent. You could use it for window material. If you rolled it and folded it, it would be smaller than a sugar cube. I have had pieces of ham bigger than this stuck between my teeth after a Denny’s breakfast. With scrambled eggs the ham is cut into ½ inch squares. You don’t notice them so you can’t be sure if you’ve eaten them or if they’re still on your plate. The entire breakfast, minus the toast amounts to about ¼ cup in volume, about the same amount as the crumbs the waitress would wipe up after a real breakfast.

We’re looking at a trip to the States in November. I have already scoped out the Denny’s, IHOPs and Perkins restaurants in the area we’re planning to be. Next I’ll look at museums and other attractions. I like to do the important things first.


Another subject we’re talking about this morning is a phone call we received yesterday from a school director in the village of La Esperanza in the Sechura District of the Lambayeque Region. Chiclayo is on the southern edge of the Sechura Desert… one of the driest, most inhospitable places on earth. The village of La Esperanza sits smack in the middle of it. We have not been there, and were surprised to learn that the school director – Jayò, had heard about us from a school psychologist in Chiclayo. Jayò had some interesting things to say over the phone about the village and her school.

La Esperanza (in the center of the photo) has about 25 families living in or near the village. There is no electricity. Water comes from a community well. The local economy is based on raising livestock – always an iffy business in the desert. Annual rainfall is less than 4 inches, and this year the rainy season didn’t happen, so there is no natural food and the cost of buying feed is prohibitive. As a result many animals are dying and the families are suffering. Parents are getting up at 5:00am to make the two-hour trip to the city of Olmos to work, leaving their kids to fend for themselves. That means no breakfast at home for the kids, and no lunch because the school has no means to feed them. They eat an evening meal when their parents return from Olmos.

Jayò’s school is a one-room building where 20 primary students from 7 to 13 years old attend class from 8:00am to 1:00pm. She said that when the desert wind blows hard, half of the school’s roof “…flaps like a bird’s wing.” The classroom is where Jayò sleeps weeknights, on the floor in a sleeping bag. On weekends she lives in Chiclayo with her husband and daughter. She joked (I hope) about waking up with desert coral snakes and scorpions as companions.

She has invited us to visit the school. That would involve a two-hour combi ride to Olmos. In Olmos, as I understand it, there is a man with a truck who makes the two-hour daily trip to La Esperanza and other caserios IF he has sufficient passengers. Which means that Maribel and I would also be sleeping for at least one night on the classroom floor.

We’ve been in caserios without electricity, but never at night, and have never slept over. The prospect sounds both intriguing and daunting. We need to talk more about it.


It is now Sunday afternoon, and the Green Bay Packers have just been defeated by the Lions. It is going to be a long, long football season for us Packer fans. Maribel and I both need to do something entertaining to pick up our spirits. Maribel has an idea.

Perhaps you’re thinking that playing bingo on a late Sunday afternoon at the Jesuits’ House for retired priests is not exciting. What if I told you that 1st prize was a sack of rice? Second was a bag of sugar, and third a bottle (large) of cooking oil. Would that get your heart pumping? We didn’t win, but it was fun watching the faces of the winners…grins as big as if they’d hit the daily double.


It’s 10:30pm and Pittsburgh has just beaten Carolina. I like that. The Steelers are one of the original NFL teams. I root for them unless they’re playing the Packers.  Now I can finish this post and go to bed with a smile on my face.

Monday, September 15, 2014

December in Peru means Chocolatada….

…but what does chocolatada mean? Googling ‘chocolatada’ results in information about chocolate. Searching ‘chocolatada Peru’ produces more references most of which essentially describe a chocolatada as... a Peruvian custom where people with the means to do so organize an event the week prior to Christmas at which poor people are given hot chocolate, sweet bread and a gift.

I don’t know how many Peruvians would agree with that description, but I do know that in the desert villages of the Lambayeque Region, that definition is not even close. In the villages of San Miguel, Puerto Arturo, Monte Hermoso, Payesa, El Faicalito, Collique Alto, Las Colmenas and hundreds of others a chocolatada is supposed to be a school event in December marking the end of the school year and graduation to the next grade. The intent is also to recognize the achievements of individual students, teachers, and contributions to the school by members of the parent’s association. Most Peruvians would add that it is also a celebration of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, though of all the chocolatadas I’ve been to I have never heard a prayer spoken or seen any religious imagery.

A chocolatada is normally staged in a large classroom or schoolyard. It begins in the late morning or early afternoon and lasts for about two hours. Speeches start the event, followed by a meal consisting of hot chocolate, paneton (sweet bread) and a piece of chicken.  During the meal it is common for some of the students to sing or dance. After the meal some form of entertainment involving the kids takes place. It is during this time that awards are presented for individual accomplishments. Finally, toys are handed out and while the kids play the parents and school staff clean up. The event is funded by the parent’s association through direct contributions and/or fund raising activities.

That’s what a chocolatada is supposed to be. In reality it is always something less and frequently doesn’t happen at all. Let’s look at a real example of an attempt to organize a chocolatada that's happening right now.

This is Rosa Lopez. She is the director, teacher, caregiver and custodian of Pronoei “My Sweet Home” in the village of San Bernardino. She is responsible for 26 kids ranging in age from 3 to 5. She is also responsible for organizing a chocolatada. She’s facing an up-hill battle.

At an April parent’s association meeting it was agreed that the parents of each student would give Rosa four soles ($1.45) each month to pay for a chocolatada. That would have amounted to $265, but that has not happened, nor did she expect it to. Two families have lived up to the agreement but most have contributed much less, and in the case of the four girls indicated in this photo (the two on the left are sisters), nothing at all. Their parents told Rosa they could not afford to contribute and that their girls would not be attending. Rosa told them that food would be provided for their girls but apparently pride has made up their minds. Those girls not attending is just not right, but the issue may be academic. There probably won’t be a chocolatada, though Rosa is still holding out hope that there can at least be hot chocolate and chicken for the kids. That’s not a chocolatada.

This is what it would take to put together a very basic chocolatada for Rosa’s Pronoei in San Bernardino…

1 box Chocolate = $7
1 six-pack Milk = $7
2 kilos Sugar = $2
1 box Paneton = $43
80 Empanadas = $7
Total = $66

This assumes that the 7 chickens needed would be donated, but with a value to a family of $6 per chicken that’s not a sure thing. Anyway, that’s $66 Rosa doesn’t yet have. And that does not include entertainment or toys for the kids. In our experience it is the clown and toys that make a chocolatada a special and memorable event.

These kids are from 3 to 5 years old. They don’t need sophisticated expensive toys. They would be very happy with toys ranging from $5 to $7. At $7 x 26 kids the cost for toys would be $182. A clown would add another $75. We’re talking about $323. Add in $70 to transport everything from Chiclayo and we’re looking at $400. That’s a lot of money for nothing tangible. That money would pay for 25 school uniforms or school supply kits. It would buy 5 whiteboards. From that perspective, is a chocolatada worthwhile? Yes it is.

It may not be tangible, but the smile on a child’s face as they receive what is probably their first real toy is priceless. So is the look of joy in the eyes of the parents and teachers. And the shared feeling of camaraderie and success at the conclusion of a chocolatada lasts for a long, long time.

There are two pronoeis within sight of each other in San Bernardino with a total of 48 kids. It wouldn't be right for one to have a chocolatada and not the other. A joint chocolatada would cost about $650 - the clown and transport costs wouldn't increase. A donation of $15 will provide a toy, food, entertainment and a very special day for a child. You can do that at the Promesa Peru webpage

We didn’t sponsor a chocolatada last year because we didn’t have the money. San Bernardino and most of the other villages mentioned didn’t have a chocolatada last year for the same reason. All of us are hoping this year will be different.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Village of San Bernardino

There isn’t much to say about San Bernardino. It’s a village that slowly formed around a primary school. About 30 families live there and like their neighbor El Horcòn earn their living from growing corn. Also like El Horcòn there is no church, park or businesses. It does have a dog. And two kinders and one primary school. The blue building is primary school I.E. 10227.

William Acosta (left) is the director. To me he seems young to be a primary director. He told us the school was built about 65 years ago. It has serious structural problems. The plan is to build a new school 100 yards to the east starting next year. There are 5 teachers and 6 classrooms to serve the 142 students ranging in age for 7 to 11. Upon graduation from primary the students attend secondary in either Tùcume or Tùcume Viejo depending on where they live.

The school has a computer education classroom with at least 25 computers in very good condition. A class was in session when we entered. One group of students was working on a pollution report and were researching the subject on Wikipedia. Another group was researching nutritional foods.

To be expected with a building this age, the classrooms, offices, kitchen and restrooms are not in great condition. With the plans to construct a new building, there is no maintenance on the present structure. 

Across the road from the primary is Pronoei “Mi Mundo Maravilloso”…My Marvelous World. I hope for the kid’s sake that’s what it is. To me it’s anything but marvelous. The exterior looks like something that has been purposely forgotten and buried in shrubbery. The ditch between the school and the road is the restroom.

The interior is dark. There are few windows and no electricity. There are too many kids (22) in too little space. I don’t know how teachers like Viviana Cajusol  keep coming back day after day to face these conditions, but they do, and the kids seem to be happy and they learn and life goes on.

Pronoei “Mi Dulce Hogar”… (My Sweet Home) is a stone’s throw from the other schools. There is a different feeling when approaching this building… a sense of life and vibrancy though I’m hard pressed to say why. Exterior conditions and appearance are not that much different from the other pronoei.

The sense of life carries through to inside the classroom. It’s bigger, brighter, cheerier and has more ‘stuff’. I don’t know if that translates into happier or better educated students. Probably not. Teacher Rosa Lopez  has 26 students.

Speaking of ‘stuff’, the government a short while ago began distributing items to every pronoei and kinder in the area, and I assume all of Peru.  The items consist of vinyl covered foam in various shapes and colors, hula hoops, and folding wooden assemblies to climb on and exercise with. We’ve gotten mixed reactions from teachers we’ve talked with. Some say the items are useful, others say they take up too much space. We’ve never seen the items in use.

We’ll probably return to San Bernardino. We’d like to talk with the teachers and parents of the two pronoeis to see if we can somehow put together the chocolatada they asked for.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Village of El Horcòn

A ‘horcòn’ is a sturdy forked tree limb used to support a horizontal beam...usually a log. The term implies strength and the ability and willingness to ‘carry the load’. There is a horcòn to the left in this photo. Whatever it once supported is no longer there. Sometime long ago this tiny little village was christened with that grandiose appellation. No one we spoke with could tell us when or why.

El Horcòn and other near-by caserios sit in the middle of corn country. I’ve never understood why, when traveling around the Lambayeque Region I can be surrounded by sugar cane fields, and then 20 minutes later rice paddies dominate, and then change 30 minutes later to a different crop. With the many rivers in the region it seems that irrigation opportunities are equal, and I see no difference in drainage or the soil. Anyway, I assume that corn is the reason that cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, ducks and chickens running free in the village streets outnumber the people.  

One distinguishing feature El Horcòn has is what remains of an ancient Moche temple.  A thousand years ago it was probably the site of extravagant ceremonies with Moche nobility and religious practitioners in attendance. These days it’s the domain of pigs and goats.

El Horcòn is not picturesque by any definition. It is typical of most (not all) caserios that appearance doesn’t count for much. If there are rocks, bricks, the remains of a collapsed mud hut and other rubble in the streets…so what…who cares? Interiors are clean, organized and maintained to the best of the owner’s ability. Outside appearances don’t matter.  

That same thinking applies to primary school I.E.10800. Judging from the exterior we expected to see malnourished kids in breechcloths scribbling their school assignments on the floor with pieces of charcoal. That’s not the way it is at all. When you step into the school you leave the village behind. 

Victor Chavez is the school’s director. He has been there 8 years. He and his staff of 5 have a progressive ‘can do’ collective attitude that is reflected in the physical condition of the classrooms and the enthusiasm of the students. Notice the huge whiteboard on the wall behind him. It’s really not a whiteboard in the classic sense. There is no hardwood frame, metal trim or rails to hold markers and erasers. It is a thin sheet of acrylic laminate screwed directly to the wall. Every year each school is given a small amount of money to be used toward maintenance or improvement. This year Victor used his money to buy the acrylic sheets. The sheets were also used to refurbish the table tops the kids are sitting at. The same improvements were made to each of the 6 classrooms.

Our biggest surprise occurred when Victor escorted us to the computer education classroom. There were 12 computers, and each looked like they had just come out of the box. In 2010 during the administration of Alan Garcìa a program was implemented to put computers into every primary school in Peru. The program was reportedly completed the following year. This is the first time in all of our school visits that we have seen these computers or even heard them mentioned. I can only assume that during the past 3 years the computers in other primary schools have either been stolen or stopped working and were disposed of, and yet here were 12 computers looking as if they’d just been issued. El Horcòn does not have internet access, and even if it did it is doubtful that the school or parent’s association could afford the monthly cost. Applications on the computers included Wikipedia, math, language and writing programs.  

Another condition that caught my attention was the windows. All of the classrooms and administrative offices have windows facing the interior schoolyard and in the exterior wall. Of all the hundreds of glass panels, not one was broken or missing. We have never seen that before in any primary or secondary school.  

The only problem Victor has is identical to one that we recently resolved at the school in Tùcume Viejo…he has government donated food but no cooking equipment. At present lunch is prepared in individual parent’s homes and carried to the school. The problem is that the time is not coordinated and occasionally mothers do not show up causing the child to go home to find out what happened.

We’d like to supply the school with 2 pots, 1 pan and two skimmers. That would be about $100. The problem is we’re broke. We blew the budget last week in Tùcume Viejo and Payesa. If you can help us please visit the Promesa Peru webpage. We’d appreciate it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In the District of Tûcume today…

…there are two happy villages. We began loading the truck at 8:45am and by 10:00am arrived at our first stop - Tùcume Viejo. Waiting for us were 290 students and faculty.

There had obviously been a lot of preparation for this day. Each class, beginning with the third grade approached the school yard in formation carrying signs. After everyone was assembled speeches were made, thanks were given, and we were treated to an excellent Marinera performance by two students.

The school director Andres was pleased with the cooking equipment; his staff appreciated the whiteboards, storage shelves and educational material. The students were playing with the soccer and volleyballs while we were digging into to a very good dish of ceviche prior to leaving. 

Our welcome at the Payesa kinder was much more subdued. Nothing had been orchestrated other than three women holding a sign. There were no formalities at all, which is something we appreciated. I think that the teacher Gloria Damian was skeptical about the promised donations up until the time we began unloading. As each item was brought in she visibly relaxed until a broad smile appeared on her face. She remarked that finally the students were sitting in their own chairs at their own tables…no more borrowing. She said that village men would mount the whiteboard and assemble the shelves this weekend. We also gave her a bag of used clothing that had been accumulated by Promesa Peru member Herlinda.

Before we left, Gloria made a brief speech of thanks, and then presented two presents to me from the student’s parents, and I want to talk about that a bit. Payesa is an exceptionally poor village. In my opinion, unless you’ve been to a Payesa or similar community you don’t know what poor means. In Payesa, giving a gift may mean an orange; a couple of eggs or a single piece of candy. I was given a bottle of chicha (a corn beverage), and in the box was an entire cooked chicken. These are generous gifts, and to me show more the appreciation by the villagers than any speeches or ceremonies.

 Our final stop was at the Payesa primary school. We delivered the promised items, got the proper documents signed and were gone 10 minutes later. I will say no more about that, other than to comment that usually over the course of several visits we develop a rapport and ongoing friendship with a school’s director and staff. Occasionally we don’t.

It was a good day. We believe we’ve helped three schools to help their students. Those who helped us to do that include Chris R., the Alice Cool Foundation and others. Thank you.

Monday, September 1, 2014

We’ve got a Good Start….

….toward our goal of helping the schools in Payesa and Tùcume Viejo. Today we purchased abacuses, tangrams, and the cooking equipment asked for in Tùcume Viejo. Those 50 liter pots are big! They brought back unpleasant memories of my basic training days in Uncle Sam’s army getting up at 3:30am for a fun-filled day of ‘kitchen police’.

Tomorrow we hope to purchase most of the remaining items. The cost for everything originally asked for totaled over $2100. We didn’t feel we had a realistic chance to accomplish that so we pared the list down to something we feel is doable. For the primary school in Payesa our goal is:
1 whiteboard - $80
2 storage shelves – $65
2 volleyballs – $7
2 soccer balls - $7
6 abacuses - $19
6 tangrams - $9
Total - $187

For the kinder in Payesa we hope to provide:
1 whiteboard - $80
2 storage shelves – $65
5 tables - $270
31 plastic chairs - $125
Total - $540

And for the primary and secondary schools in Tùcume Viejo our target is:
3 pots - $87
1 pan - $31
4 skimmers - $15
3 whiteboards - $240
3 volleyballs – $11
3 soccer balls - $11
6 abacuses - $19
6 tangrams - $9
Total - $423

The items on this list will go a long way toward properly equipping these schools. We haven’t ordered the whiteboards yet because we’re $300 short of the $1150 total. Please help us to help these schools. Visit the Promesa Peru webpage to donate. Any amount no matter how modest will help. $4 will buy a soccer or volley ball. $3 will put an abacus in a classroom. It would mean a lot to the schools and kids.