Saturday, March 17, 2012

Start of the School Year

March madness is upon us, and I'm really feeling the effects. I had Project Design and Management (PDM) and In-Service Training (IST) the first week of March, and the first day of school happened sometime in the past weeks too*. PDM was a real brain buster for me. Each volunteer had to invite a leader or soccio (a person who works with you on your projects) from their community to participate in a three day workshop on project design. So basically, it was three days of lectures in Spanish, where my soccio and I focused on problems my community faces, and how we can address the biggest issue. I brought a teacher from my special education school, and we decided to focus on the lack of regular school attendance shown by the students. It was very taxing for all, and not too much fun, but very useful.

Following this, the soccios wen home, and the volunteers stayed for 2 more days of training addressing how we a PC volunteers can promote leadership and volunteerism in Peruvian youths. This training was much easier, but also very useful.

Here are a few pics from the training:

Andrea, my soccio, working hard at the training.

Me not working hard, showing off how I completed the "cube". 

Andrea presenting our final project idea: Community training on what is the CEBE (Special Education School) with the end goal of increasing community support and awareness, with the hopes that this will increase school attendance.  

Our trainer Louis awarding Andrea her certificate. Certificates are a BIG DEAL here in Peru.

* The first day of school was technically the March first. However, when I arrived to school, I found chaos. The school renovations the director was doing during my vacciones utiles were not completed, the teacher's classrooms were in disarray, the school textbooks Lima had not arrived, and to cap it all off not a single student showed up (typically parent's don't get around to sending their kids until 2 weeks into the school year... don't ask me why, but I've heard it has to do with nothing happening until the second week). So, with the teacher pissed, and the director caught off guard, I found myself sitting in one of the most awkward school meetings I've ever seen (and trust me, I've attended some pretty awkward school meetings). Basically it was 2 hours of the teachers telling the director that he is too old, he's the reason the kids don't come to school, and that they we're going to denunciar (ask for his resignation) him in front of the APAFA (Parent's Association) and OGEL (School Board/District Office); eventually, the director caved and announced that he was going to look at retiring this year. It was really hard to watch this, has he's been a great source of support for me, and is one of the few people at the school that is consistently willing to work with me. I spoke up once  in his defense, but then decided that it wasn't my fight and it's best that I stay neutral. Pretty tough to see.