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Letter from Zapallal: April 2014


March started very hot, something I didn’t really appreciate when cleaning the library windows but at the end, literally with sweat and blood, they were finished and looked almost presentable. I also washed the floor with the help of a hosepipe but I felt a bit badly done to when we had very heavy rain the night before the start of the school. Normally when it rains, there are plenty of puddles on the balcony outside the library. This time the rain was so heavy that it flowed from the balcony and entered the library and several classrooms by the gap under the doors. It was not simply a matter of sweeping out the water because the floor is so uneven that as you push the water in one area it comes back from another area. A great test of patience and a marvellous penitential act on Ash Wednesday!

The heavy rain did not augur well for the official inauguration of the new school year but it cleared up and was actually more comfortable than having the assembly in the full force of the sun. It was nice to see the 5th formers, hand in hand with the little ones of the kindergarten, leading them into the assembly. With the introduction of all the personnel of the school, the new teachers, the form tutors, words of advice, the assembly went on quite a while – much too long for the little ones. Another nice thing was a big banner of a photo of some of the teachers with words of welcome to the pupils - who actually appreciated it.

Despite some worries about stationery materials, as mentioned before, the year got off to a good start. A very welcome initiative this year is a pause of activities at 12 noon and 5 in the afternoon for just over a minute. During this time there is a beautiful song, beautifully sung about entering into the presence of God. The peace and calm are a lovely experience.

No one seems to know why, but we had an invasion of lots of municipal workers who cut the grass inside and outside the school, pruned the trees and generally tidied up. One could cynically think, if inclined that way, that there could be some connection with this year being election year.

We have two new workshops: personal aesthetics and fish production. The first is not only for pupils but is also part of adult education. Its two basic ingredients are hairstyling and make-up and can obviously lead to good employment. I have promised to visit the workshop to take photos. The teacher of fish production is supernumerary provided by the local department of education. The idea is to make full use of our facilities. I haven’t seen the workshop in action but I’ve paid visits to the site. The fish have certainly come on with the hot weather. Unfortunately the photos I’ve taken are not very good but I live in hope.

I mentioned last time the work on improving the laboratory. Work has gone on well and there will be the official opening on 14th April, so photos next time.There is plenty of activity on Saturdays. Basketball teams are training really hard for the Lasallian games in October when all the Brothers’ schools in Peru compete in various sports, art, oratory, singing. There are various pastoral groups.

The 5th year have just finished with me Project GB when they choose aspects of Britain to present to their companions. There was plenty of hard work but not the flair of some other years. One group decided to do typical English food and I must say I have never seen it in England. Their bangers and mash had no connection with the real thing! Impressive though were the costumes they produced from recycled materials. The large sacks used for rice are great for making clothes but are not easy to walk about in and certainly not to sit down in. Particularly striking was a model of Big Ben which they obviously don’t want to destroy and they don’t want any individual to have it! They would like me to keep it as a permanent exhibition.

There will be more activities in school as we get nearer to Holy Week and Easter but more of that next time.I would like to wish you all the blessings of the marvellous season of Easter, especially the peace with which the risen Lord greeted the apostles. May you have a wonderful spring after the very hard winter. I do miss the daffodils.

God bless,
Brother Mark

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