Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Village of Olleria

An ‘olla’ is a largish pot. An ‘olleria’ is where ollas are made. The village of Olleria in the Morrope District takes its name from the artisans who hand craft decorative ollas. We didn’t see any ollas or evidence of their manufacture but we’ll take the villager’s word for it. What we did see was fields of corn, beans, and plaster manufacturing. We also saw lots of farm animals.

Olleria is on the edge of the irrigated Lambayeque Valley. Less than three miles to the northwest is the Sechura desert; one of the most arid and forlorn places on earth. The people here are more traditional in terms of clothing and customs than those in the Tùcume district where we’ve been involved for the past several years. Many women wear typical dresses, and old customs such as a boy not having his hair cut until baptism are still preserved.

We were in Olleria along with the school’s coordinator Dora Nuñez to visit the pronoei Divino Niño Jesus. Dora visits this school and nine others every 15 days to monitor status. Mirta Chapoñan (pictured) has taught here since the school opened one year ago. The classroom is in a private house of a woman whose son attends the school. Though there are 30 kids in the village who are eligible to attend, Mirta has only 11 of them. The others are attending a government kinder in El Romero approximately one mile south. It is costly for the parents to have their kids in the national school but there is no room for 30 kids in Olleria’s pronoei, and there are concerns about the kid’s safety in Olleria. Immediately outside the classroom door is a main road with lots of traffic on it.

The community has a clear title to a lot dedicated to housing a pronoei but like so many other villages in similar situations the district government has turned a deaf ear to appeals to build. A delegation of parents showed us the lot and asked for our help in getting a pronoei built (school coordinator Dora Nuñez is extreme right). We talked about possibilities and agreed that the first step is to determine the cost of erecting a modular building on the site and what the district is prepared to contribute toward it. The school coordinator Dora Nuñez volunteered to go to the Morrope city hall this afternoon to see what she can learn. She will phone us when she has information.

Tomorrow we will be in the village of Redondo in the Olmos District. This will be our first visit to that district. We don’t have to concern ourselves with how to get there. The pronoei Education Management Unit of the Lambayeque Province has put a truck and driver at our disposal. He picked us up and returned us to our home today and will do the same tomorrow. Traveling just got a whole lot easier.  

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