Friday, January 6, 2017

Promesa Peru 2016 Year in Review

The year 2016 is in the books, and it was an active 12 months. Promesa Peru sponsored seventeen activities, including four chocolatadas. As usual most of the school project activities occurred in the first and second quarters. This is what we’ve come to refer to as the ‘panic period’ when teachers discover they have more students than anticipated and don’t have enough classroom furnishings, teaching aids and general supplies to accommodate them. Remember, when we say ‘school’ we’re usually referring to pronoeis that are not government funded. It’s up to the community to supply the pronoeis, and that is usually a financial impossibility.

The average school project cost was $359, a bit below previous years’ averages, largely because transportation costs were reduced. These projects generally involved donating whiteboards, storage shelves, tables and chairs. Noticeably absent this year were requests for uniforms and school supplies. We donated uniforms just once; to the primary and kinder school in Las Salinas. We were asked for and did furnish teaching aids to several schools, including puzzles, tangrams, books and games, but were not asked to supply the basics like pencils and paper. We’re not sure why that is but would like to think that perhaps Peru’s economic growth over the past few years has finally started to trickle down to the small villages, allowing parents to provide at least those few basics for their children.

The average cost of the four chocolatadas was $178. That figure is somewhat misleading because the San Francisco-Campodonico and Los Bances chocolatadas did not include entertainment, and Los Bances has only fourteen students which reduced the cost for toys. And speaking of entertainment, we’ve about decided not to hire professional entertainers for next year’s chocolatadas. These kids are from three to five years old. They live in remote villages in safe, familiar environments. They become frightened of the clowns we've typically used. This year we used a mother and daughter team who specialize in entertaining kids in this age group, but still the kids took a long time to relax and understand what was being asked of them during the games. Even the entertainers commented that the kids were more difficult to work with than city kids. Wherever we go kids seem to immediately warm up to Maribel, so we think that, with Maribel leading, we can come up with a half-hour program of simple games and activities that the kids and parents would understand and enjoy. We'll do a trial run to see what happens when we start visiting villages in February.

Twelve of the seventeen projects took place in the Tucume District. We had hoped to focus on other districts, but Tucume is where the phone calls came from. We believe we’ve pretty much saturated that district and would like to target the Mochumi (moe-chew-me) and San Jose districts this year. The mayor of San Jose has shown a strong interest in partnering with us to provide for the pronoeis in his district. We plan to visit the city hall in Mochumi soon to introduce ourselves and get information about the villages and pronoeis in that district.

This was our best year ever in terms of number of villages and students served, and donations received. Every year at year-end we tell ourselves that we need to cap our activities; that we’ve reached the maximum we can handle, but every year we do more projects than the previous year. Part of the reason is that increased donations have allowed us to do more, but also because we’re aware that there are still so many schools out there who need help. It would be nice if we had a regular core of volunteers we could call on to help with the purchase, organization and delivery of donated items, but volunteerism isn't the custom in Chiclayo. People expect to be paid for their work. We don't fault anyone for that, but no one working with Promesa Peru including us will ever be paid, so we'll continue on with the occasional volunteer help we do get. Instead of trying to put an arbitrary limit on our activities in 2017 we’ll probably just keep going until we hit the physical, mental or financial wall.

Absolutely crucial to our continued work are people like Chris Raupe, Amy Brown, “a friend in America”, Johany Glen/Webster University, Denny Wallette, Judy Berkow, and the Alice Cool Foundation. Without you folks, nothing happens.

We and they thank you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

San Jose’s 160th Anniversary

Though the area presently occupied by the city of San Jose was populated before written history, it was on January 2 1856 that a resolution was officially passed recognizing San Jose as a district. At that time San Jose was the only port city in the entire Lambayeque Region. And given Peruvian’s penchant for formality we can assume that a ceremony not too different from yesterday’s activity took place, perhaps on the same spot.

The day began with an 8:00 AM mass at the city’s only church, located directly across the street from city hall. The mayor, local dignitaries and invited officials from neighboring districts were in attendance.

Following mass the event location shifted to Miguel Grau park; the city’s main park, where an officer stiffly marched to the mayor’s front and asked permission to begin the day’s activities. Permission being granted, a band began playing martial music while officials were introduced, and citizens who had made contributions of some sort to San Jose during the past year were recognized.

Maribel and I were presented with a plaque in appreciation for Promesa Peru’s donation to the pronoei in the village of Bodegones last October. We are looking forward to working with the mayor and his staff this year to help other needy schools in the San Jose district.

Other attractions yesterday were displays of local artisan’s crafts, music by a band that had recently formed in the city, food – there is always lots of food at any Peruvian activity, and two very good marinera dancers, shown in the photo along with our friends Juanita and Mark who said they enjoyed the experience.  

San Jose has not seen much progress since that day in 1857, and it could be said that it has regressed as it is no longer a port city. New houses are not made of adobe anymore but they are of the same design and simplicity. There are no hotels or commercial enterprises. It is first and foremost still a fishing city, backed up by boat builders and net makers. Life is simple, and one gets the feeling San Joseans like it that way.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Promesa Peru 2016 Financial Report

During the year 2016 Promesa Peru took part in seventeen activities. They were:

Month            Activity                                                                       Expense  

April              Patapo pronoei                                                              $53.13

April              Monsefu pronoei                                                          331.52

April              Las Salinas primary                                                     545.77

May               Los Sanchez  pronoei                                                   587.64

June               El Carmen pronoei                                                       357.33

June               Moyocupe pronoei                                                       330.01

June               San Antiono pronoei                                                   286.34

June               Alto Peru                                                                        357.72

July               Tabacal pronoei                                                            355.68

August           Los Sanchez pronoei                                                   112.59

August           Surupampa pronoei                                                   604.66

September     Bodegones  pronoei                                                   533.78

October          Los Bances  pronoei                                                   204.86

December      San Francisco, Campodonico chocolatada            140.49

December      El Carmen chocolatada                                              216.16

December      Alto Peru chocolatada                                                238.72

December      Los Bances chocolatada                                              85.69

December      Misc items for the four chocolatadas                       30.86

                                                           Total expenses                    $5,372.95


Source                                                                                                Amount

Public donations                                                                             $5,166.41

Promesa Peru board member donations                                          65.00

                                                          Total donations                      $5231.41

                                                           Beginning balance                    505.57

                                                           Total funds available            $5736.98

                                                           Total expenses                        5,372.95

                                                            Ending balance                      $364.03

This was our best year ever in terms of number of villages and students served, and donations received. Our thanks to all who contributed.