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.

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