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.

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