I look for ways to be creative. In a place where resources are scarce, and the budget is slim, it’s key to look for new ways to make change happen. Take the students at the school; they are good kids, but there is a lack of discipline, responsibility and confidence that I have never seen before. I look at the school, I see peeling paint, classrooms with broken desks, atrocious bathrooms, and a staff of teachers that may or may not show up for class. They say the way you feel about yourself is a reflection of your environment. For these kids coming to school means something, but not the same as it does in our middle class institutions in the US. It is a place to be, more than a place to learn. These are my first impressions.
What can I conclude in regards to working with these children? I don’t want to give more of the same, forced curriculum (that lacks context), humiliation (both kids and teachers talk down to each other), and low expectations (graduation levels are probably at about 50%, from my calculations). I ask myself, what is new and fresh for kids growing up here, in the distant mountains of Peru?
I seek inspiration; I ask questions, I want to find a new path. The Peace Corps has given me some tools, manuals, etc., but the most important piece must be generated within me, my attitude and perspective in living in this community is the springboard upon which I’ll be able to get anything done. While there are some serious issues that impede learning here, there is also a handful of committed staff that show up and do their best with the little resources available; I admire this. I cannot do this alone. For now, I’ll keep going, step by step to the peaks that surround me to inspire my creativity, my heart and shed any fears that keep me from trying something new.