Tuesday, September 20, 2016

San Jose’s Mayor…a Different Breed

Regular readers will probably remember that at nearly all of the schools we visit the common complaint is that "the mayor will not help us”. Teachers and parent association members often go to a mayor’s office requesting help of some sort for their school but the response is always “…there is no money”. Today we met the exception to that rule.

This is Macario Fiestas Fiestas, the mayor of San Jose. He is the first and only mayor so far to phone Promesa Peru to ask for help for his schools. He is in the second year of a four year term and based on what we saw and the people we talked with he could probably be elected for life.

During his first two years he has:

Established a therapy clinic for handicapped people

Created an artisan’s association to export products to Italy.

Formed a mother’s association to make products for sale in Chiclayo and elsewhere to augment household income

Started training classes for motor repair so fishermen can repair their own boats and motors

Badgered regional authorities into building a new kinder in San Jose that will be completed soon

Macario was born in San Jose as was his father who was an eleven-year mayor until he was killed by terrorists in 1985 during Peru’s communist uprising. Macario was a fisherman prior to being elected mayor.

There are seventeen caserios (villages) in the San Jose District and Macario can talk at length about each of them. He knows the locations, teachers and condition of each pronoei. He and three of his staff members took us to visit some of the poorest this morning.

Pronoei Rayito De Luz (Ray of Light) is located in the village of Bodegones. The school opened last March with Karina as its teacher. The building was donated to the parents association, whose members cleaned it up as best they could. Karina has nine students and tentatively has fifteen registered for next year. She also has an incredible amount of creativity and imagination. Every toy...every teaching aid was hand-made by her.

She created a ‘store’ to teach business and math. The ‘kitchen/bedroom’ is used to teach household skills. Classroom furniture consists of a few plastic chairs. She didn’t know we were coming so wasn’t prepared when we asked her what she needed. We would very much like to provide what has come to be our standard package; a whiteboard, two storage shelves, four tables, sixteen chairs, and a selection of teaching aids. The cost of these items will be about $600.

The mayor impressed us by saying if we can donate those items he will find the money to provide a door and window for the school. We don’t have the $600. We need your help. Please visit the Promesa Peru webpage to support the pronoei Rayito De Luz. Thank you.