Ahoy hoy everybody.
The last you heard, Vicki had just got out of hospital from her bug and we were about to start working at the school. Well, Vicki was still a bit ill from her adventure so I went to the school without her on the Monday and was introducted to the kids and teachers and spoke with Professor Jose who was to be our main point of contact for the week. We made plans that Vicki and I would create some abacuses for the younger kids to use. That afternoon Juan, our guide, and I went on a shopping trip to get all the neccessary wood, beads and metal wire we would use to create the abacuses.
The school itself is not run by the Peruvian Government but by a German charity. As far as we could make out it was actually a church group who had set the schools up (there's more than one in Peru) specifically for working children. The children who attended the school, due to their circumstances at home, needed to work to help support their family. The classes ran from 8am until 1pm, at which time most of the kids would head to do their jobs. These jobs included, busking on public transport and shoe cleaning to name a few.
The next day Vicki came in too and we made a start on our abacuses painting them with various designs. We were encouraged to take influences from our home so there were saltires and loch ness monsters among the designs. Professor Jose, who we think was the headteacher, joined in with the painting and took his very seriously. We think he was a frustrated artist!!
The kids came into the room where we were working at playtime and set about trying to help us but proved to be quite a hinderance, especially with saws and other tools about. We decided to take them all outside to get some excercise and to get them out of the way of the abacus. Vicki entrhalled the girls by letting them plait her hair while I demonstrated some scottish football skills. It was possibly the most violent game of football I have played in and I quickly decided that going in goal was the safest option.
Over the next couple of days we managed to complete a total of 8 abacuses which are now hopefully being used by the kids. We also started to join in with the kids' classes giving our expert assistance in maths. Fortunately this was for six year olds and we were not embarassed.
We noticed that the youngest kids would start the day with a cooking class which had educational benefits as well as ensuring that they would have at least something to eat that day. The cookery would focus on measuring and quantities and colours and once the class was finished the kids would then go over the numbers they had used to reinforce their learning in a practical manner. We dont know how well it worked but it certainly seemed like a nice way to start the school day. We also got to buy some of the biscuits for our playpiece.("tuck" for those of you who aren't scottish)
We had brought a few resources to give to the school (jotters, coloured pencils, crayons and the like) and we divided these up between the four classes and then presented a set to each class. We were taken around the school by Professor Jose who made us stand up and say something (in Spanish!!) to hand the books etc over and then a child from each class stood up and thanked us for what we had given them and for coming to the school.
On our last day we travelled to the school with some sadness as we had really enjoyed working with the kids and I think many of them had become quite fond of us too.
We had been asked to attend the school's assembly that morning so we started the day with a rendition of the regional anthem, to which we had to hum, and then the school's song, where we at least joined in at the clapping bits. After assembly we helped with one of Professor Jose's classes, giving an impromptu english lesson to 20 kids. We also brought along some postcards showing various locations in Scotland and a bagpiper and the kids thought this was terrific and fell about laughing at the kilts and the fact that I have one at home.
Later that morning we were taken down to the youngest class where we presented them with the abacuses to thunderous applause. The kids then surprised us by presenting us with two lovely books essentially saying thank you to us for coming and being with them for the week. We were both very touched at this and will cherish our books as a momento of our time at the school.
At the end of the day we said our sad goodbyes and got lots of hugs from the kids and the teachers too. Some were not too keen to let us go and insisted we came in on Monday....had we not already planned our trip to Chile we would have.
We have decided that once we return to the UK we will try to continue helping the school as they really are desperate for resources, so I think that is us both now committed to at least one more 10 km road race each.
The next instalment of our blog will be about our time in Chile where we drank lots of cheap tasty chilean wine, visited a winery, and drank more wine!! We had a great time!!
The picture attached to this blog is of a nice building in Dunedin that we have yet to explore. We have just arrived and are now going to go out & about and attempt to climb the world's steepest street!
We hope that this finds you all well and not too cold..... if it makes you feel any better we have had to put camping on hold tonight as the weather has changed and it is a little stormy out there!
Take Care, until the next instalment..................................
A & V Xx