Letter from Zapallal - September 2011
It will soon be spring which is celebrated here as the time of Youth. The weather is changing a little but is still damp and chilly and with the change we have earth tremors. On 1 August there was a strong one at 9.30 in the morning. On 24th there was one measured as 7 on the Richter scale at 12.45 just as the pupils were finishing classes. It was very obvious on the balcony outside the library and we were 500km from the epicentre. This was in the jungle. There were only nineteen people lightly injured as the quake was 146km deep and the area was scarcely populated but it did bring back memories of the devastating earthquake of a previous August. It was interesting that on the 26th, we had a lovely warm, sunny day.
Classes re-started on 8th and we were able to welcome back our pupils who had gone on the misión to the Sacred Valley of Urubamba. They were tired but very pleased at having taken part in work and came back very conscious of the problems of the people in these poor areas who live in great poverty.
On 22nd the primary pupils celebrated the Day of Folklore so their assembly was graced by children in traditional costumes from various parts of the country. Peru is a country rich in culture, traditions, dances and food. I have mentioned before how our mayor loves his name. There was the inauguration of the newly Tarmacked main avenue and the new sports complex with and artificial grass playing area, a place for children to play and adults to rest. It all looks very nice and to make sure we didn’t forget to whom we owe it all, the mayor’s name was plastered all over the place as on all the posters telling us about the new lorries for collecting the rubbish. But he can be allowed his vanity as his deeds do help the people. At the moment a lot of the side roads are being prepared for surfacing. This has caused some inconvenience to us as we can’t use the much safer side gate especially for leaving. There was a delay as much of the heavy machinery was broken down but it is now up and running again. Their first work blocked off the main bus route with huge piles of earth but it isn’t as bad as a previous time when they worked with great enthusiasm and found themselves blocked in so that the lorries transporting the earth couldn’t get out. The finished roads will make life much easier for all.
SENCICO, a government agency to provide apprenticeships in the construction industries, recently held an exam for possible candidates for a limited number of places. Not only did all fifteen of our applicants get in but we achieved first and second places. They are very worthwhile apprenticeships as all expenses are met and the successful candidates are almost certainly guaranteed employment afterwards. This academic success was followed by our winning the district football championship and we now move on to the regional finals.
As part of the English programme, the 5th years have been giving demonstrations, which means showing how things work or how to make something or what something means. We were treated to making Christmas decorations, explaining electronic appliances, the intricacies of Hip-Hop, the acoustic guitar, beauty salons and origami, this at a level I hadn’t seen before. The most popular demonstrations were connected with food. Traditional dishes were explained; fruit salads and juices were produced; cakes and pies were described with the usual, “Here is one made earlier”. The enthusiasm and effort were high, compensating somewhat for the difficulty of the English. As yet I don’t think we offer a serious threat to Delia’s website!
Tuesday 30th is the feast of St Rose, Patron of Lima, Peru and Latin America, and is a national holiday. To encourage internal tourism Monday has also been declared a holiday, so no classes for us. It is a bit naïve to expect a big increase in people travelling in the country, especially as many coach firms bump up their prices considerably.
September will be a busy month with Youth activities, the start of the former pupils’ sports tournament and final preparations for the 20th anniversary celebrations, but more of that later.
I finish on a wet, dismal day hoping that your coming autumn will be a mellow one and for those with children of school age a successful start to the new school year. There is not a lot of variation here with the seasons but the mimosa is beginning to show and so soon we´ll have riots of yellow all over the property.
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