Ms. Ball is taking a small group of students to visit Peru for Bodwell’s annual trip to help communities around the world by building infrastructure and facilities. It’s a labour of love that is often very challenging yet rewarding for those that go along.
Here is the info from Developing World Connections: Bodwell International High School is working with Developing World Connections (DWC) to sponsor the building of new and extended school facilities in an impoverished community in Peru. The village itself is called Jicamarca and is located in the district of San Juan de Lurigancho just outside of Lima. One of the most populated districts in Peru, San Juan de Lurigancho is home to over 1 million people and 10% of the capital city’s population. Although it has some areas of economic activity and acceptable living conditions, it is also home to numerous slums and extensive urban poverty.
This year, Ms. Ball and the student volunteers have been sending photos and updates via their blog page: Bodwell Peru Crew. Here are some selected excerpts up to and including the final day at the worksite on April 23. To find out about the hike to Machu Picchu and read about more adventures, go direct to the blog.
Huaca Pucllana is the seven layered pyramid that is amazingly preserved because of the desert climate here in Peru. It is 200 meters from our hostal! Its literal translation means “the place for ritual games”. It was used by the Lima and Wari cultures starting in 200 CE. Since Mayeli and I got up early, we wandered around the ruins and joined a Spanish speaking tour group. Our first mini adventure.
We built a wall! Almost!
We built a wall! (Well, the foundation for a wall). The hole was dug. We mixed cement: powder with sand, then built a sand castle with a spiral moat and poured water in it to let the cement slowly making a mix. Nikita and Dominik poured the cement in the trench while Jax,Jeremy and Allan laid the foundation rock. Mayeli continued to mix the cement with water. Bill sawed rebar, Anthony collected more rock and poured fresh cement. And after a long day’s work, we have a smooth foundation on which to build a wall.
Final day at worksite & saying goodbye
A week of hard work later and we have 3 mostly completed projects. Miguel is going to put the final coat of red paint on the school and take the retaining boards off the wall once our freshly poured concrete dries.
We had a lovely goodbye ceremony by the students in 6th grade and then distributed to books we brought for the classroom libraries (thanks Jana White and Jenny Gallant!). We also donated a large KitchenAid mixer to the kitchen. Every day they have after school sessions teaching kids how to prepare healthier meals.
San Jose Obrero – work day
Lima is a city built for a million currently housing 9 million people. This has multiple effects of course. After a long journey in Lima’s rush hour traffic, we arrived in San Jose Obrero, our worksite. This community has been built by the hands of its inhabitants, many of whine have come from the provinces searching for work and a better life near the city. Rock. Dust. Epic colors and beauty nestled in the hills. This is what foreign eyes notice upon arrival in SJO. We had a beautiful introduction to the school by the Director, and lots of interaction with the students. And then we got down to work. Pick axes, shovels, and our hands were the tools. We dug and we moved rocks and earth to create a path and make a foundation for a wall.
Here are a few pictures of us still looking fresh before the sun and the dust and the ache of muscles wore us down before dusk.
Sometimes we feel like big moose going up and down the school staircase, while we watch nimble children navigate the angles (with no railings all week). Today, Jeremy in particular can feel some success because he was determined to see that project through to the end. The railings are up!