email: volunteer@otracosa.org

Blog

16
Jan

Change: by Karno: Volunteering at a Sugar and Coffee Cooperative

!Hola Karno!’ the mother and daughter of my host family welcomed me by giving me a hug at the roadside where our Piura – Sicchez bus had stopped. We hadn’t seen each other for one year. This was my second summer in Sicchezpampa.  There was little change.  The mother, the little girl, the donkeys which take us to Sicchezpampa, the dogs, the turkeys, the house, the host family, the villagers, the farm work (mainly harvesting organic fair trade coffee in summer) … all haven’t changed much.

However, there are still SOME CHANGES.

1.    KNOWLEDGE

‘?Cuantos patitos tiene?’ the new OCN manager, Alton was telling the ‘Ugly Duckling’ story.  He was using one of the story books that we brought from Trujillo.

‘Hmmm… Un, dos, tres, …” The kindergarten kids were pointing to the picture in the story book and were counting seriously. They were very cute.

‘Ma, Me, Mi, Mo, Mu’  The primary teacher was using the newly bought pronunciation cards to teach the primary one kids.  The kids were attentive and were trying their best to learn.

This summer both the primary and kindergarten had small CHANGES – Book Corners.  They were large book shelves containing newly bought teaching materials, educational toys and books.  The teachers were very happy with the Book Corner especially with the teaching materials because they lack these things.

The kids in Sicchezpampa are lovely, well-behaved and intelligent.  However they lack access to knowledge.  I hope that this CHANGE (the Book Corner) can help them to know more about the world.

There is still a lot of space in both the Book Corners.  Next time if you volunteer in Sicchezpampa, we would be grateful if you bring some children’s books (in Spanish) or teaching materials or educational toys.  !Muchas Gracias!

2.    NO MORE TEARS

Wow!  Cerviche!  Yummy!  Mothers of primary and kindergarten kids took turns to prepare nutritious lunches for the school kids.  Today the mother of my host family, one other mother and I prepared Cerviche.  The school (i.e. the government) provided rice, cooking oil, salt and something like soya milk powder while the families provided corn, onion and fish.

Thanks to the CHANGE – the newly built stove as shown in the above photo. We can stand cooking there. We have fewer tears because the smoke is drawn up the chimney.

3.    BLACK TO WHITE

Last year, the freshly picked red coffee beans were put under the sun to dry.  Then the dried black coffee beans were sold to the local market.  This year, there is a small CHANGE.  The skin of the freshly picked red coffee beans was immediately peeled.  Then the inside white coffee beans were washed many times before being brought out under the sun to dry.  This white coffee was sold to the international market (e.g.Germany) with 3 times the market price of the black coffee.

4.    PRODUCTIVE

There is a CHANGE in the number of members in my host family.  The new members are Violeta (the cute puppy), several chicks and little turkeys. The mother turkeys took several weeks to hatch their eggs.  They were very patient.  They always protected the eggs.  They were GREAT mothers.

5.    NO MORE SWIMMING SUIT

I could not take off all my clothes and enjoy a real shower until the middle of my stay.  Before this, I had to wear my swimming suit and use a bucket to have a ‘shower’ as shown in the photo left.  Thanks to the CHANGE – I had a real shower.  I like this environmentally friendly and creative ‘shower room’.  All the materials in this ‘room’ except the pipe and shower head are made from recycled bags, recycled plastic sheets and tree branches.  Having a shower surrounded by plants is really ENJOYABLE!

I missed the life in Sicchezpampa.  Every day I woke up at 7:00 and went to bed at 21:00 (10-hours sleep)!! The farm work was not tough.  Usually it was the harvesting of organic fair trade coffee beans which took about 5-6 hours.  There was no internet in the village, so I had plenty of time to read books and play with the kids.  I had exercise for 45 minutes almost every day because I had to walk down to do the farm work and then walk back up home.  This kind of life is not possible in Hong Kong!!  The Sicchezpampa life is so RELAXING, SIMPLE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!  !Muchas Gracias!

 

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