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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Pachanta Pampa, Peru

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Pachanta Pampa, Peru
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: Miami
Posts: 1
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“The Rainbow School Project”
Pachanta Pampa, Peru

I designed and completed a self-led community service project which supported a school system in one of the last remaining indigenous villages in Peru. Throughout the year I had collected $1,000 as well as sent out letters to a group of 150 tourists traveling to Peru asking each of them to bring winter clothes and school supplies to donate. I traveled to Peru and went on a high mountain expedition to deliver the supplies and meet the people.
The summer before my Junior year I completed a community service project I had begun a year earlier. I asked my friend Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., Director of The Four Winds Society for an opportunity to work with his organization to create a project that would support education in the rural areas of Peru. Each summer The Four Winds Society leads expeditions to Peru to study the ancient culture and healing practices of the Andes. Motivated by the struggles of the indigenous people who were being forced to abandon their traditional culture due to the poor quality of educational system available to them, I worked to develop a project to help them. Families in rural areas are forced to send their children into the city where often, instead of attending school they are forced to work for their room and board. The children left with the tribe receive poor education and are unable to support their families later on.
Throughout the year I had collected $1,000 from friends and family as well as sent out letters to a group of 150 tourists traveling to Peru with The Four Winds asking each of them to bring winter clothes and school supplies to donate. I flew to Peru with the money and spoke before 150 American and European tourists telling them about my
project before collecting all the clothes and school supplies they had brought. I took half of the donations to a special school I had found in a nearby city where volunteers taught night school for children. The school was designed for a group of students called los regalados (the gifted). They were not gifted in the American sense but had been given away by rural families to live in the city were they had to work all day to pay their board. This school was their only chance for education. Every night the children received a basic education and a full meal. Each child was able to receive at least one new outfit and a bag of school supplies.
The rest of the donations went to a rural village high in the Andean mountains. It was a community scattered through the hills, some homes as far as a two-hour walk from the school they were centered around. Supporting the school there allows these children to remain with their families in one of the few remaining indigenous villages and keep their ancient culture intact while receiving a modern education. The people live on Alpaca meat and tiny potatoes, the only crop that grows in this harsh, cold climate at an altitude of 14,000 feet.
I learned that a dearth of food and supplies was only part of the problem of supporting an education program in this developing country. Transporting goods to this remote village high in the mountains over rough terrain was challenging. The language barriers (I am fluent in Spanish but not the native language Quecha), were managed with smiles, sign language and a sense of humor. Through closed roads, and supply trucks that broke down, our five hour trip ended 14 hours later as we rode into the village in the dark on horseback. The people accepted us openly and shared many secrets about their lives. We gave each child school
supplies and clothes and later gave each family staple foods of rice, pasta, salt, and cooking oil that we had bought with the donated money.
I was disappointed to see the school yard littered with plastic water bottles. It was then that I noticed how many of the school supplies that we brought were wrapped in plastic. Not wanting to contribute to the problem, I took all the plastic off the supplies we brought. It filled four large trash bags. More importantly, when the village leader asked me why I was doing this, I explained to him how long it would take mother earth to eat up all the plastic. He had no idea, and was so concerned that he explained to the problem to the villagers who then cheerfully cleaned the school yard of all the plastic. We carried it all down the mountain.
These friendly and grateful people treated me as an ambassador. I wanted to contribute to improving the world by supporting education. When I got to the village, I wished my project was more sustainable, so this past summer, funds were raised again and used to build a green house in the mountain community. This project not only employed the local people to construct the community green house, but also provides them with a self-sustaining source of vegetables that grow year-round. I am very proud of the work I did for these schools. This experience has increased my appreciation of education tenfold and reminded me to be thankful for all that I have everyday of my life. As I consider the whole world my community, I hope this project made a contribution to improving education opportunities for others less fortunate than myself.
· Date: December 27, 2008 · Views: 3768 · File size: 62.3kb, 266.5kb · : 1500 x 1125 ·
Hours Volunteered: 220
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 to 51
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 450
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