Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Village of Sapamè

Sapamè is located about 25 miles north of Chiclayo in the Tùcume District. It’s an old village dating back over 100 years. The origin of the village’s name is lost in the past, though most agree that it probably came from the nearby Sapamè Mountain. There are 40 families here, all earning a living in agriculture. Like most small villages, the people who work the fields don’t own them... they’re paid a modest wage to tend and harvest the mostly corn and grain fields surrounding the village.

Juan Valdera has lived all of his 84 years in Sapamè. He’s seen good and bad times. He has never been rich but has earned enough to get by. He’s watched helplessly as the weather phenomena El Niño ravaged the village, the last time in 1998. The high water lines from that flood are evident on the school behind him and on his house to the right. Juan is worried about the forecasts for a severe El Niño this year, predicted to begin next month. During the normal rainy season the ditch he is pointing to fills with water. To get to school the kids most walk across a slippery log. He has urged the parent’s association to build a bridge but can’t seem to get anyone interested in the project.

Some years ago when the need for a school in the village became apparent Juan donated part of the lot his house occupies to the district to build a school. An adobe building was constructed and when it became overcrowded three years ago two more classrooms were built on the property. With the additional space more students were brought in from surrounding villages and crowding is once again a problem.

Alcira Romero (woman on the right) has been both director and teacher for the past year, coming from the town of Salas far to the north where we were invited to visit several months ago but haven’t yet found the time. Alcira has 11 kids in grades 3 through 6 while Maria (white blouse center) teaches 16 in grades 1 and 2. The third classroom is a kinder with 21 kids taught by Celinda (orange blouse left). The man is Juan.

When asked how Promesa Peru could help them, Alcira spoke for all three saying that they would like a new classroom. Like Juan, they justifiably fear that the next flood will bring down the old building. Other items they asked for are 6 storage shelves, 2 tables with 8 chairs and, for what has fast become a standard request, a gas stove with 2 pots and serving spoons plus plates, cups and utensils for the students.

We don’t think we can help with the building of a bridge for Juan or a new classroom, but the rest of it is doable and we believe would improve the quantity and quality of classroom time. The shelves, tables with chairs and kitchen equipment would cost about $400. Please consider helping us with this project. A donation of any amount will help. Thank you.

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