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Letter from Zapallal: March 2014

 

I mentioned last time that possibly I would have some photos of the fiesta of the leavers but despite asking some of them to put out the word on facebook nothing has been forthcoming, so I’m afraid there will not be too much to read or look at.

The difference in the weather was very noticeable when I returned from England – hot, sunny days after the rains, high winds and resulting floods. My poor garden looks a bit the worst for wear but is recovering.

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The most obvious thing in the school was the amount of people in it. There were some pupils taking exams. Lots of parents and former pupils were doing all kinds of manual work. The whole school has been painted on the outside while the classrooms have been livened up inside with brighter colours. The problem in virtually all the classrooms is the dark, varnished bricks that dominate and make the spaces quite cheerless.

I believe there is a moving programme to plaster the bricks and then paint the new walls. There is also a programme to put tiling on the classroom floors. So far three have been done. The classrooms are certainly brighter, despite the bricks, but I think the noise factor will rise as many of the desks and chairs have metal legs. They will be a bit chillier in winter and will definitely show the dirt more than the present concrete floors.

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Improvements have been made to the kindergarten (Inicial) block. These classrooms were also quite dark despite all the colourful displays. Now holes have been knocked in the external walls to put in new windows. Should be quite an improvement.

The biggest piece of work is in the laboratory. A wall has been knocked down to increase the size and there are plenty of large concrete blocks being made on site. I have not yet figured out what they are actually doing and I certainly can’t see it being ready for next Monday’s opening. I’ll send photos when it is finished.

School starts on 10th, so on the 9th there will be hundreds of parents here doing a general clean-up and getting classrooms ready. I have the pleasant prospect next week of cleaning the library windows. 456 panes to be done inside and out. It’s not one of my favourite jobs but must be done. A fairly busy road runs down one side of the building so there is always a lot of dust. As we are on the first floor it means stretching (and scraping) arms to clean the outside. The window frames are of rough concrete. It’s work for the morning as the sun would make it very difficult in the afternoon.

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The last week has seen the ending of the matricula process as I mentioned last time. There are lots of disappointed parents as the school is over-subscribed – e.g. 40 applicants for 4 places in one of the years. We also hosted primary teachers from the various Fe y Alegria schools in Lima (more then 30) for a week’s course in the teaching of mathematics. They all seemed to work very hard.

May you have a pleasant, faith-restoring spring after the ravages of winter.

God bless.
Brother Mark

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