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Entries about school

Bye for now Huanchaco

View London - before the off! on Rebecca Heller's travel map.

My two months in Huanchaco flew by so fast, it's hard to believe I'm back in Lima for the next part of my adventure.

I ended up working on many different projects, which meant I got to see even more of Huanchaco life than otherwise. As I mentioned I spent a month teaching at two schools in towns just outside of Huanchaco. It wasn't always easy, the mixed age classes and lack of help from the teachers made it challenging but for the most part, the kids made up for it (and when we had things like the rain simulation!). For the end of term we took 4 of the oldest kids from one school who had done their homework, to the cinema - it was one girl's first trip to he cinema! At the other school, we brought the cinema to the kids, plus so much food we were giving it away at the end.

I then took on the role of interim coordinator at NAFE Peru for a few weeks. This is an NGO who provides after school activities for local kids and on Sundays, a big lunch. I was responsible for organising volunteers and activities for Monday to Friday, and since it was the holidays, we opened mornings and afternoons. We had 40-50 kids nearly every morning and afternoon, which was slightly crazy but in our minds, a big success.

This role involved visiting many of the houses to talk to the parents and certainly gave me an insight into their lives that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Many of the kids at NAFE have very little in life, but are so full of love that it's difficult not to like even the harder to manage kids. Our Christmas party was chaotic with 90 kids, but it was a joy to see them enjoy themselves and I was sad to say goodbye (whilst also slightly relieved when it was quiet again!).

The other project I ended up helping with was getting Otra Cosa started with a database. They already knew they wanted to go for Salesforce, so I put on my former professional hat and helped them prepare and apply for the non profit grant, and then with the initial set up. I may not have cracked the system before I left, but hopefully they're in a good place to continue to build the database and make it truly useful for them.

I met some great people here. I know I'll see some of them again (I have some new places on my travel hit list now!) and the others I'll remember fondly. I'd like to go back and visit Huanchaco again some day, I don't know when, but it would be good to revisit when I can.

For now though, I'm in Lima and about to join my tour of the south for the next 3 weeks.

Posted by Rebecca Heller 08:01 Archived in Peru Tagged children parties school teaching huanchaco otra cosa nafe Comments (0)

Preparing for El Niño

A rain simulation on a sunny day


In my mind, when there's an impending natural disaster, that you know about in advance, preparing in any way you can seems reasonable. With this, and the fact that I said I would cover El Niño more thoroughly, in mind, it seems right to write about preparation for El Niño.

Despite all that is known about El Niño, the preparation in Huanchaco has been distinctly minimal (and although I don't know, I suspect it's been minimal in much of Peru).

Just two weeks ago they started clearing and strengthening the dry river, which was a product from the last big El Niño in 1997-8. Many houses remain without a full roof, as per the design rather than lack of funds. There even seem to be new construction projects that are hugely unlikely to be completed by the supposed start of serious rainfall in mid January.

In the shanty towns around Huanchaco, almost nothing has been done physically, although schools have finished a month early and children have been taught about the phenomenon in schools. This leads me to probably the single best bit of preparation I have witnessed.

Imagine the scene, we are teaching a second grade class and the teacher is sat at her desk cutting out arm and head holes in black sacks. 20 minutes before the end of the class, with no warning, the teacher tells everyone to pack up and put their bags on. My natural assumption was that we were moving on to a whole class craft activity.


It turns out the whole school were packing away their books and donning homemade ponchos and hats from black bin bags, filing into the playground in groups. When they were all ready, the headteacher proceeded to spray them all with water from a hose. This was no craft activity, no this was a rain simulation.

So if nothing else, one primary school near Huanchaco are ready for the El Niño rain. They think it's going to be super fun, will cool them down on a scorching day and that black bin back ponchos will protect them. Perhaps the headteacher just needed to work something out of her system...

Posted by Rebecca Heller 08:04 Archived in Peru Tagged rain school nino Comments (0)

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