Zapallal April News
The first two weeks of March saw the staff in school for in-service training. They were quite intense days with long hours but on the last day there was a very pleasant celebration, with cakes, for the staff with birthdays in January, February or March. While they were working there was a large group of parents doing a lot of tidying up of the grounds which meant moving the accumulated rubbish I mentioned last time.
On the 12th there was a general assembly of the parents – the first time for many to see the new head, Brother Augusto. After the assembly all the parents then did a very big clean-up of classrooms and work areas in preparation for the start of the school year on the next day.
At the beginning of the opening assembly on the 13th, the 5th year pupils accompanied our youngest pupils - a few tears but generally they looked ready for action. Again it was the first opportunity for the majority of the pupils to see their new head and also eight new teachers. The assembly ended with the 2016 leavers presenting a plaque with all their names. They then proceeded to the library for a very enjoyable get-together with drinks and nibbles and a re-living the past year by means of hundreds of photos.
On the 14th March there was heavy rain from about 5 pm till midnight, drenching many things in my room. The 15th started cloudy and muggy and we had no power till 5.30 in the evening. It was sunny and all the pupils were in class waiting for the start of lessons when the official announcement was made that all classes in the schools of Lima were cancelled for the day and 16th. There was no evidence of a problem here but most of the teachers had been unable to get in because of serious flooding, with the resulting traffic problems. The TV news showed the extent of the disasters with floods, mudslides, bridges destroyed – with the spectacular though sad pictures of a hotel being washed in to the river. Lima was very badly hit. It was finally decided that all the schools would be closed for the following week. Nearly 100 people had died. There was a massive response to the various appeals for help – food, clothing, equipment, materials etc. The two rivers you pass on the way in to Lima are still high and very rapidly flowing but there doesn’t seem to have been further major problems, though on the 21st there were two hours of very heavy rain. Schools have to make up for the lost lessons so that will mean Saturday classes.
The break from classes allowed work to be done on finishing the change of windows in three classrooms and also installing a new gate system at the school entrance. Entry is pretty closely controlled but this is to discourage people who have entered from just wandering about. It’s not all that popular - or the rule that IDs must be shown. Furthermore the education department has ruled that no one can enter wearing shorts or miniskirts – but we have a big sign at the school entrance saying: “Bienvenidos” – “Welcome”!
On the 26th March there was another general faena – communal work. The school does look smart. Classes re-started on 27th. 28th did not look too promising as there was very heavy rain at 5.00 am but it had stopped by 7 and we had a very sunny day.
This day also saw the start of refurbishing our audio visual area. Again the old type of windows are being replaced, the walls plastered and painted, the lighting system improved, new curtains. It should be quite welcoming when finished.
Apart from the extremities of the weather, it is changing to slightly fresher temperatures, though people are still complaining of the heat.
Next week is Holy Week leading to the great feast of Easter and I wish you all blessings of this lovely season, especially, as the gospels mention that consoling word of Christ – “Peace”.
God bless. Brother Mark
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