Letter from Zappalal - August 2012
We started the month with celebrations for the Day of the Teacher which is a big occasion in Peru. It was also linked with the inauguration of the House system and so it turned out to be a boisterous, noisy and competitive celebration. There were songs, dances, poems and games for the teachers. It was a real family affair. One of the highlights was a dance by the 5th year primary, with huge hats covering their upper body and their face drawn on their stomachs. After the bustle, the staff had a lunch and then danced for hours. Part of this was the hora loca, the mad hour, when there was lots of energetic dancing, balloons etc. inspired by a group who specialise in horas locas. The next day, the actual Day of the Teacher, was fortunately a free day!
The 5th Year were fairly busy. As part of their literature course they had to enact some scenes from plays of Shakespeare. As always, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Othello were the favourites but they did have two presentations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a good one of The Merry Wives of Windsor. As participation was obligatory the standard of acting was patchy but thought went into costumes, props and scenery. In addition to this, the 5th year also had to produce what they call dril gimnástico – groups performing gym movements to music. It really boiled down to a sort of aerobics. It was fairly obvious which groups had done only a little practice.
The 4th year, as part of their history course, produced dishes special to various parts of Peru. It was colourful, informative and possibly tasty. I can’t guarantee the latter as I didn’t try anything, not being tremendously interested in food. (Can I say that on a website devoted to food?). The pupils were very proud of their achievements.
At the moment we have some French scouts here, reinforced with some from Lima. They will help our newly formed troop. They have also taken upon themselves to construct an area for the storing of materials for recycling. This is part of a much larger project in the school on the environment. I don’t think the scouts realised how tiring it can be to mix large amounts of concrete.
This first half year ended with the celebrations for Independence Day (191st anniversary) which is on 28th. On the 26th the 3rd year primary put on a display of dancing, singing and poems, and the next day it was the school celebration. This followed the same pattern but with more items. These days are very important in Peru. Everywhere there are flags, bunting, huge rosettes. In school we have large stand-up posters showing the beauty and diversity of Peru as a country. All the pupils have rosettes, in metal or material, in the national colours (red and white, chosen by one of the liberators when he saw a flock of flamingos fly by). On Sunday there will be a massive march-past in Lima.
I’ve just said goodbye to a group of ten 4th and 5th years who have gone to Cusco for their two-weeks break to work in the very poor villages in the area. They will come back pleased at having taken part, tired with blistered hands and chastened by seeing such poverty and need. It was a key concept of our Founder, St John Baptist De la Salle, that the poor should help those even poorer than themselves.
I hope you all will have a pleasant holiday season, with weather to match.
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