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English teacher in Chincha

Enough of seeing, already 10 months on the road, I felt like DOING! One can get tired of being in vacation I can assure you... So I took this opportunity to help in Peru, in Chincha.

Chincha is a small city, south of Lima, a town lacking of development that was hit in 2007 by a terrible earthquake (8.0 on Richter scale). It has condemned the poor population of this provincial city to even more poverty. After the catastrophe, help has come from everywhere in the world and ended, for the biggest part, in the pockets of corrupted politicians. Still today tents offered by UN are used as shelter by entire families and many schools are closed.
This school has been re-built by "Happy Hearts Fund", a non-profit organization founded by Petra Nemcova, a world renown top model (never heard from her but she seems to be rich and famous...).

So, it's in Chincha, in this environment, that I became a volunteer, teaching english to unprivileged children. I had to teach 5h daily to children from 5 to 12 years old, 2 different classes each day.
It felt strange to go to work every morning at 7am, it was a long time... :-)
I don't have much knowledge in teaching, and had to improvise my course without any book, I don't think I was a good teacher but anyway the kids were very good with me, responsive and eager to learn. These children had only one change of cloth, were coming to school with empty stomach, and many of them missed classes because they had to work for their parents (weaving mats). It was very difficult for me to witness so much deprivation, especially that these kids were so attaching!

The 3 teachers of the school were as attaching and welcoming. One of them invited me to her house to live with her family. She was quite poor but offered me all she had, with open heart. I then lived with them for the 2 weeks of my short teaching career. To give you an idea, they had no shower, water only 3 days a week, no hot water of course, "manual" toilet (flush with a bucket of water) and no washing machine obviously (we spent the whole saturday afternoon washing cloths and bed sheets by hand). The weather was quite cold, around 10deg and getting a bath with a bucket of cold water in the garden was quite an experience for me! In the house the floor was of dusty soil, no heating system, no fridge, in summary, not much of anything.
Rossillo, my teacher friend and host, explained me that she earns 200US$ per month as a teacher, no wonder why she can't afford any luxury in her life. Peru is not that expensive but still.
The city itself is very poor, there are no roads but dusty tracks, no bus system but improvised collective taxis, trashes are everywhere along the road, or in the fields. The conditions of life are very difficult. No touristic attraction, nothing to see but dust and poverty, so I was most probably the only tourist around.

Despite..or because of this poverty, the warmth of the population was incredible, people were paying the taxi for me ignoring my protestations, offered me lunch, and most of all took care of me as a member of their family.
It was such a lesson of generosity, I learned much more than I taught in the end...


Oxymoron. said...

So nice that you were able to help out a bit. Wow. so many stories you have.


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About me

About me

Travelling to learn, learning to travel.