I am finally back in my beloved Peru and on Tues.went straight out to the Pachacutec site of the new school (in case there is anyone left in the world who still hasn´t heard of it!). Thanks to my partners “Coprodeli”, we have managed to put up 4 concrete block classrooms, incorporating flush toilets and a small office, instead of 2 having to be in wood. It has been tremendously expensive to start this small school, due to the rise in the cost of building materials since last year´s earthquake and the hostile environment….the foundations are of hand-mixed concrete, some 3m deep! I was so pleased about this, because it has always offended me that poor people are not supposed to mind eternally having 2nd best, broken offerings that richer “others” have cast aside. Theirs is a very hard life indeed in the deep sand of Pachacutec, but better than where they have arrived from, as it is sea level, not as cold as up in the mountains and holds the slight possibility of work and creativity.
Sadly, whilst leaving there at the end of the day, a sudden fire started up in the densely populated housing lower down the hill from the school. We stopped to see if we could help, but the voluntary firemen had been sent for and the local guard was doing its best with donated water and sand. Imagine, the temperature that day was over 30degs….and people were throwing water on the fire from bottles. At least 3 families lost their cardboard and wood homes – a very good reason to be grateful for concrete structures.