We had planned to return to the village of Posope Alto and their pronoei four weeks ago but two things happened to delay our visit. First, the pronoei teacher disappeared. One day three weeks ago she simply did not show up and no one has seen her since. She had made it known that she would be leaving at the end of the school term but apparently decided to leave early. And, with the absence of a teacher the owner of the house where the pronoei was located took it back. Fortunately another property owner stepped up and offered her vacant house to be used for one year and possibly longer. The new location is 200 meters from the former. The name of the pronoei is Los Pimpollitos which translates to a bud beginning to open or sapling tree beginning to grow.
The area surrounding Los Pimpollitos …in fact all of Posope Alto looks raw and wounded. The farms where the men work are located several miles distant in a narrow valley where water for irrigation is present. Women usually stay home to care for the kids, and the goats and chickens that are sold in nearby Patapo.
The interior of the school mirrors the communities’ raw look. Maria (left) is the new teacher. She had previously signed a contract to teach beginning next March when school reopens but has stepped in to finish the year. She has over 10 years of teaching experience with pronoeis.
There are 23 kids registered but only 10 to 14 are attending regularly. This photo pretty much explains why that is. They’re using flat rocks and pails as desks and chairs and they don’t have enough of those. The only real piece of furniture is a long bench serving as a desk. The building has the room to accommodate all of the kids registered but it needs to be completely outfitted. This is what it would take to create an acceptable learning environment:
1 whiteboard with markers - $60
2 storage shelves - $46
6 tables - $225 to $375
24 chairs - $300 to $450
Teaching aids – tangrams, books, abacuses - $80
School supplies for every student - $234
The total is between $1095 and $1245
We are still looking at furniture prices. After our visit to the school we spent the rest of the morning with the teacher Maria and her husband talking with several carpenters in the city of Patapo. Prices for tables ranged from $37.50 to $62.50. For chairs the numbers were $12.50 to $18.75. It’s possible that with me being present these are inflated ‘gringo’ prices. Maria and her husband will continue to talk with carpenters this week to look for better prices.
We’re going to defer the teaching aids and school supplies to next March when school begins so that’s $314 we don’t need now but we’d like to equip the classroom now so that everything is in place for next year and so the parent’s association can make improvements now to the room based on the volume and placement of furnishings.