Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Village of Los Reynoza

Los Reynoza is a very small agricultural village located six miles west of the city of Tùcume very near the Chancay River. The river is a good source of irrigation, thus every inch of soil not occupied by a house is under cultivation with a variety of crops. Yesterday the men were working in fields close to the school we had come to visit. Hundreds of egrets were patiently waiting their turn to get at the insects unearthed by the workers.

Los Reynoza, like many of the villages we visit is named after the family who founded it, probably in the early to mid 1900s. As these communities grow outsiders move into them but the family name usually remains dominant. For example, of the eleven students in this class eight of them are descendants of the original Los Reynoza settlers.  Notice the slight difference in the spelling. That happens because most of the adults in these small villages are illiterate, so when births are recorded or the kids are enrolled in church or school whoever is doing the recording has to guess at the spelling…the parents can’t tell them. Thankfully illiteracy in even the most remote villages is slowly disappearing, but it takes keeping the kids in school day after day. We’d like to think that Promesa Peru is helping to do that.

The school sits off by itself surrounded by farm fields. The students come from many different locations and distances. The school is well maintained inside and out. According to Fulgencia Lizana, the director and one of two teachers, the parent’s association does a good job of pitching in to help with school maintenance and projects. The concrete surface fronting the school and overhead shelter were the result of the association from monthly dues, and plans are to slowly extend that project the full length of the school.  The fenced-in area is a small vegetable garden to teach responsibility and to augment government donated food.

The work of the parent’s association is also visible inside the two classrooms. Fulgencia explained that last year the village decided to use part of the budget to buy paint and lumber to construct new chairs and tables. Apparently they were enthusiastic about the project because this is one of the few schools we’ve visited that has more chairs and tables than students. Of the three classrooms two are being used; one with fourteen students in grades one through three and the other with eleven students in grades four through six.

Los Reynoza is one of those villages that ‘feels good’. The people are friendly, hard working and responsible. Their involvement with the school is very apparent and is a good example of people helping themselves. Fulgencia has asked for two storage shelves, uniforms and some cooking equipment including a two-burner bottled gas stove. Just like our previous project in Los Riojas earlier this month, the purpose of the cooking equipment is to keep the kids at school for lunch instead of them walking home.

We’ve had several recent requests to donate stoves but haven’t done it because we weren’t comfortable with the answers we got when we asked how the gas would be paid for. We can see the potential for saving time (and trees) but don’t want to donate stoves that won’t be used if the village can’t afford bottled gas. Fulgencia told us the parent’s association promised to pay for the gas from their monthly dues. We believe her.

Sport uniforms for the 25 students would cost $495. Two storage shelves are $50 and the cooking equipment (1 pot, 1 pan, 2 serving spoons, 25 cups and plates) will add another $85. We can buy the stove in Chiclayo for $57.  We’d like to donate the stove as a sort of experiment and check back occasionally to see how and if it’s being used.

We need about $725 including transportation. If you would like to take part in eliminating illiteracy in Los Reynoza please consider making a donation. Any amount will help. Thank you.

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