Saturday, October 25, 2014

Papa Noel has an Empty Sleigh

We’ve never been very successful at raising money for a chocolatada. We assume a donation of $10 or so isn’t going to bankrupt anyone, so either we’re not doing the job of describing how important a chocolatada is in the life of a village community, or the cause simply doesn’t appeal to potential donors.

A few years ago we routinely sponsored one and sometimes two chocolatadas each December. We would ask for donations but never received much and usually ended up paying most of the cost ourselves. We could do that because the cost of a chocolatada was half of what it is today. Today, except for ‘hot wheel’ cars it’s difficult to find a $3 toy, even in the mercado modelo. Toys in Tottus or Plaza Vea start at around $7 and go up to as high as $125 with an average of probably $17. There is a whole new middle class of Chiclayanos today that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and they are paying those prices. But they’re not the people who are asking us for a chocolatada. The people who call us are the school directors in small isolated villages like Payesa, Horcòn, El Pavo and San Bernardino where a ‘toy’ is a can swung on a string, or straddling a broom and pretending it’s a horse.

We’ve had 11 phone calls in the past 3 weeks…. two this morning asking if we can sponsor a chocolatada. In each case we’ve had to say no, explaining that we committed some time ago to trying to raise money for a chocolatada for two schools in San Bernardino. What usually follows is, “I understand, but if you could just donate the toys….” We can’t. We’d like to but we can’t.

We spoke yesterday with Rosa Lopez, the director of one of the schools in San Bernardino. She said she’s collected just $10 from parents so far toward a chocolatada. The goal of the parents association was to raise $265. Several of the parents who work at a sugar cane factory in Tùcume have promised to pay their share at the end of the month when they get paid, but that’s probably not going to happen. So Rosa hasn’t been successful and neither have we. We’ve received $115 in donations…far short of the $650 needed to put on a real chocolatada for the two pronoei schools in the village.

Most of these kids have never been to a bigger city like Chiclayo. Many of them have never even left their village except to walk to school and back. A full blown chocolatada with toys and a clown would be the biggest event of their young lives, and probably for many of the parents.

We’re going to return to San Bernardino next Wednesday to talk with Rosa to see if there is something less we can do that would at least resemble a chocolatada. If you can help us…if you have $10 to spare please visit the Promesa Peru webpage. It would be very much appreciated.

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