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Letter from Zapallal: July 2014


The month started off with a long, powerful earth tremor at 4.35 in the afternoon of the 3rd. We have many earthquake drills and they are more or less well done but there is always the knowledge that they are only drills and so not treated as the real thing. On 3rd there was an instant response, long before the alarm went and classes quickly emptied and assembled, much quicker and more efficiently than during drills. The rumbling and shaking had a great effect.

Early in the month the 5th year started their English project “Going Shopping”. The main purpose is to get them to try to speak English in a type of ‘normal’ setting but they always go beyond this and turn the library into supermarkets or department stores or a fashion parade. Lots of imagination and creativity with good attempts at English. I also insist that if they want anything in the library they have to ask for it in English. For some, “May I borrow...” seems a bridge too far and normally the boys get the girls to ask.

We had the inauguration of our sporting year based on the World Cup. Each form had a country and also the strip, with teachers allocated to each form. The opening ceremony was very colourful and boisterous and the following matches were extremely partisan. My favourites are the little girls of Inicial playing football. Everyone is where the ball is and they kick whichever way they are facing. The fathers who are watching tear their hair out.

The pastoral group had a reflective vigil of Pentecost, even if a bit bleary-eyed in the morning.

On 13th we celebrated Father’s Day, i.e. we had a lunch for all the staff. It’s all much more low-key than for Mother’s Day.

We were informed that we had gained 1st place in an initiative organized by our municipality of Ventanilla. It is called Happy and Integrated Schools, encouraging good management practices. It covers the quality of teaching, participation of the school in the life of the community, health nutrition and environment, efficient organisation in concert with the community (safety, violence, drugs), rights of children and an infrastructure that is safe and conducive to good teaching. The success speaks well for the contribution of staff, parents and pupils.

Price Waterhouse Coopers once again selected us as the only school in Peru for the project Emprende Tú, which encourages entrepreneurs and initiatives in business. It is for the 3rd year and they have to form groups based on their workshops and produce a scheme of work. For five Saturdays volunteers came from PwC to guide the groups. They also provided the elevenses. I was impressed by their dedication and obvious pleasure in helping. On 28th the six finalists out of twenty two groups were named. On 4th July three luxury coaches came to transport the 3rd year and their teachers to the headquarters of PWC in Lima. After various speeches and thanks the two winning groups were named and given a cheque for S/.1000 for each group. Their workshops were electronics and agropecuario (plants and animals). In October they will be called to another meeting to discuss the possible marketing of their ideas. Afterwards everyone was treated to some fine refreshments and a tour of various departments. It obviously was a big day for them all.

On 3rd we celebrated the Day of the Teacher. The 5th year were in charge of everything and did a very good job. There were dances, poetry, songs and quotations. Afterwards 5th year students served the staff with lunch, at the end of which presents were given to each teacher. The actual date is 6th but as this was a Sunday this year the celebrations were anticipated.

The weather has now become more wintery – dull, damp and chilly. Many of the houses are not geared to this kind of weather and there are plenty of colds, coughs and sore throats.This letter is a bit later than usual but I was in the process of writing it when the computer just went dead. Checking cables, putting it on battery, leaving it for a while over some days did not produce any result and then the technician came this morning and it started immediately. So sorry for the delay.

I suppose many will be thinking of summer holidays. We will have two weeks at the end of July. I hope the summer break will be pleasant for you all, with weather to match. As always, thank you for your interest and support.

God bless,
Brother Mark

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