Letter from Zapallal - June 2011
As always, there are plenty of events going on in Peru. Zapallal - Sharing the Struggle is a charity set up by Delia and Michael in the 1990s. They are always hugely grateful for donations: if you can spare anything, please do (details of how to donate are at the bottom of this page).
Read about Delia's charity in Peru
Brother Mark writes:
May, from a weather point of view, has been dull and chilly but these conditions have not prevented lots of activities.
Mother’s Day was duly celebrated in school on the Friday before the actual day – second Sunday of May. Mums were invited, escorted to their places and given a rose by 5th year pupils. They were then entertained by song, poems, dances and sketches. Each class produced a hamper from donated goods and a draw was made to find the winning mums. Afterwards all the personnel of the school had lunch and the mums received presents.
We hosted a meeting of groups of pupils from the five Fe y Alegría schools in the area and, as always there was immediate integration as one big family. The meeting was organised by our pastoral group of pupils and they did an excellent job
15th May is the feast day of our Founder (Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Patron of Teachers)and the following day the senior school had a very impressive mass, with great singing, helped by a couple of our former pupils who are part of our famous group Sonqo. Later in the week the primary pupils had a procession with the statue of the Founder. It was a very prayerful event with representatives of the various forms taking turns to carry the statue. There were stops at various places where forms had set up a form of tribute to the Founder and prayers were said. All finally formed a circle holding hands and sang hymns. The enthusiasm and creativity were great to see.
The most colourful, lively and noisy activity took place on 30th when we inaugurated the sporting year. All forms had their different coloured shirts, mascots and banners. The march-past was a vibrant blaze of colour. The pupils then started their inter-form games. The primary pupils had been allocated footballing countries, so they were dressed in either the official strip or the national colours. The march-past was delightful, especially with the younger pupils. Then they had their inter-form games. It was great to see the youngest pupils playing as all fourteen would be chasing the ball, like a shoal of brightly coloured fish.
The above shows that the school is just like any other school with its activities but they don’t hide the obvious underlying problems and worries.
There are the common, one might say universal, problems of bills to be paid, often with little money coming into the house. The cutting off of water and electricity are frequent with a hefty charge to reconnect. The piling up of debts can lead to the appropriation of goods or even the house.
It is in the area of health that many have great problems. Costs are high. A 5th year girl collapsed the other day and the third hospital she was taken to said she needed two special scans, which came to two months’ wages. The father had to go around looking for people who could help. The 1st year brother of a girl who helps me in the library is waiting for an operation for fluid on his lungs. The doctors will not operate until the costs have been covered and while this is being attempted, he is in hospital running up a daily bill. Cases like these can be multiplied. The medicines afterwards also are often beyond the means of the family. While you can buy a single pill, it doesn’t really help if you have to follow a monthly programme. As I have said many times, I’m always impressed by courage, perseverance and hope of the people.
Soon we will be entering winter. Already people are complaining of the cold. Many houses are not adequate to keep out the damp, chilly conditions so colds will abound. May you all have a lovely summer.
If you'd like to make a donation, please send a cheque, payable to Zapallal Sharing the Struggle Ltd, to NC Internet Ltd, PO Box 1124, Knaphill GU21 9AA; there is no minimum amount. Alternatively, if you'd like more information, or if you want to set up a standing order, please contact one of our team, Lynda, on firstname.lastname@example.org - Lynda has visited the school and knows that every penny you donate will help to make a real difference.
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