Friday, June 3, 2016

Things always seem to work out

It was a good plan. We had worked it out earlier in the week. The taxi driver we normally use would pick us up this morning at 8:00AM along with three whiteboards and six storage shelves, destined for three schools in different villages. He would drive us to the carpenter’s shop in Tùcume, where we would unload the items from his taxi and place them on a flatbed moto arranged for by the carpenter, along with the tables and chairs the carpenter had promised would be completed by today. Because a flatbed moto has no passenger seating Maribel and I would follow in a standard moto. Our route would be first San Antonio, then Moyocupe and finally El Carmen. From El Carmen we would return to the combi station in Tùcume, and be back in Chiclayo by noon. That was the plan. 

The first indication of a potential problem happened on Tuesday, when a bothersome tooth demanded immediate attention. My dentist insisted that if I did not listen to her this time and have it extracted, I should find another dentist. She pulled it last night. I was thinking that I would not be feeling like traveling today, but surprisingly there is no discomfort at all. The only problem is that my tongue keeps gravitating to the gap, which at the moment feels slightly larger than the Grand Canyon. Let me stay on this topic for a moment.

Occasionally I will get an email from someone; usually a middle-aged man who is thinking about retiring to Peru. Many of the questions are about the cost and quality of health care. My dentist is available for private practice after 5:00PM because she teaches dentistry at two universities during the day. Twice annually she attends conferences in the USA and Lima to keep up to date on the latest technology and procedures. She knows her stuff.

I was in the chair for just under two hours, first to have a chipped front tooth repaired, and then to have the molar removed. Everything was completely painless. The total cost was $17.85.

The second indication that our plan was unraveling was when the carpenter phoned last night to say that his paint sprayer quit working. The classroom furniture would not be finished until Sunday. Maribel and I decided to go today with the items we had as planned and deal with the furniture next week. Our normally reliable driver didn’t show up this morning.  His wife answered his cell phone, saying he had forgotten it and she didn’t know where he was. It took us an hour to locate another driver willing to go to Tùcume.
In Tùcume is where things got back on track. We were shocked when we pulled into the moto station to find that the three teaches, several mothers and students were waiting there for us. They had arranged for moto transportation for themselves and the donated items to their schools. All Maribel and I had to do was get into a separate moto and visit the schools, unencumbered by anything.

San Antonio had asked for chairs, table and storage shelves. Thanks to Promesa Peru member Yescenia they also got a whiteboard and some used books and toys for the kids, as did the other village schools.

The mothers at Moyocupe already had a good start on assembling the shelves when we arrived. Thanks to Judy Berkow they also had a whiteboard. The mothers at all three schools gave us gifts of food, but Moyocupe really piled it on. We left two huge bags of non-perishable items to be picked up later. We’ve grown accustomed to these gifts, but I think I will never lose the respect I feel for these people brought about by the look of pride on their faces as they hand a bag to me or Maribel and say, “This is food from our land.”

El Carmen had both shelves assembled when we arrived. Saida (blue blouse) is the teacher and it was she who mobilized the others to meet us in Tùcume. She also volunteered to pick up her furniture on Monday so we would not have to return, and said she would tell the teachers at San Antonio and Moyocupe to do the same.

All in all it was a very good morning. We plan to return later next week to see the classrooms in action with the new furniture and other items in place. Our thanks to Chris Raupe, the Alice Cool Foundation, Clif Brown, Judy Berkow and Yescenia for their generous donations. You really are making a difference..


  1. Those pictures of smiling faces make my day.

  2. Clif...we wish you could be with us to share the grateful hugs from those kids. Thanks for your help.