Day 5 was a combined day where half of us continued to work on the second story of the school and half of us spent the morning at a local elementary school. Work today was mostly finishing building the rebar column supports, putting the rebar in place and laying brick. We all agree that laying brick is very satisfying work as we are able to see results immediately! We managed to complete half of one wall, about a quarter of a longer second wall and we started a third over the last two days.
In addition, because the roof is only so large (and we don’t want anyone to fall due to overcrowding) some of us worked around the yard cleaning up broken glass, cardboard and rocks. This brought back many fond prairie memories for some of the group, but at an altitude of 12,000 feet, bending over for too long can lead to extreme dizziness! Our Grandma neighbour from next door also stopped in to visit and brought her grandson. She is a marvelous lady and stayed to help pick rocks - she also talked a mile a minute in Spanish and confused all of us!
The school visit was extremely touching but it also reinforced for us how much of a struggle life can be for underprivileged children in Peru. The school we visited were children from kindergarten to grade three. The school had three teachers who split classrooms and grades between them. The students were mostly being raised by grandparents or single moms and many did not have clean clothes or school supplies. We were greeted with hugs, kisses, and much hand grabbing as the children eagerly tried to show us their classrooms and look at their photos after they posed for pictures. The children were preparing for a parade next week and they also eagerly tried to share popcorn with us!
We visited each of the classrooms individually and were treated to songs, riddles, and a stream of questions about our names, ages, children, Canada, animals that live in Canada, the size of our houses, the cost of plane tickets, and why one of our team members was so tall! The children eagerly answered questions we posed and a huge thank you to our translator (and Peruvian guru), Violeta. We left the children with a pencil and crayon set each and the smiles on their faces were unbelievable. We left a few additional supplies for the teachers and were warmly thanked and welcomed back anytime. It was a truly rewarding experience and hopefully the school we are helping to build will lead to similar smiles on the faces of many more children!
Pam & David
Hablamos luego …