Letter from Zapallal - September 2012
From a school point of view, August has been a short month as we re-started classes on 13th after our two-week mid-year break.
The highlight was the return of our thirteen ‘misioneros’ from their work in four very poor villages in the mountains near Cusco. They returned tired, not only from the long trip back (about 18 hours) but also from the hard physical work. They had been involved in, (among other things), improving roads, restoring an old church and making adobe bricks. The method has not changed over the centuries, mixing straw and mud by trampling on it and then forming the bricks before letting them dry. While the work produced lots of laughs and falls, it was quite tiring but they were proud to show their legs covered in mud up to their knees. They also were quite involved with the children, helping them with studies, playing and singing with them and showing a general interest and care. Blisters and strained muscles were soon forgotten. They are proud to wear their very distinctive jackets in school.
On the 16th there was as official national bus strike but it looked as if most drivers ignored it as it was business almost as usual. Sometimes this can produce some very nasty and violent incidents but not this time.
Our pupils acquitted themselves very well in a district exhibition of work produced based on the science course. Our two 5th year girls came out as joint firsts and younger pupils received honourable mention. Intellectual loins are being girt for the national maths Olympiad on 29th. All the secondary pupils will have a two-hour exam and then I’m not sure how ‘winners’ are found – average mark across the school; marks of top ten? Prior to this the top two of each year have been selected so perhaps they will be in a different contest. I hope I’ll be a bit more informed next time I write.
The sporting competitions of the Houses have started with lots of enthusiasm and noise. It will be interesting to see how they compare with previous competitions based on forms.
August was shortened at the end as well. Thursday was a national holiday in honour of St Rose of Lima, patroness of all the Americas. To promote ‘internal tourism’ Friday was also be a holiday, though this one has to be made up for. Obviously this produces a very long weekend but certainly the people round here will not be flocking to the coach stations to go visiting family or places of touristic interest.
Now we come to September, Month of Youth, as it the beginning of our spring but more of that another time.
Our weather is very confused and confusing. It can be damp, chilly, windy and warm and sunny all on the same day.
Perhaps spring will bring something more clement.
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