Day by day…like play by play, but with broader strokes.
This past week was filled with meetings and Charlas (chats) around the city of Tacna. We got to see all the places that JVs will be working and then some. It was a great opportunity for us to get a feel for all of the Jesuit works in Tacna. I could write whole entries about each, but here are snippits.
Founded in the 80´s in the Habitat community where the JVs live. Serves many students from poor families and the majority of students come from the Habitat community. It is an incredibly warm and welcoming envrionment and the students seem to enjoy being here. It is a typical Jesuit school in the sense that the over-arching goal is development of the whole person and not simply what the students can regurgitate in class. The school motto is ¨Simpre más alto¨ or ¨Always higher¨…essentially you can always be more or be a better human being. We never stop developing and no one achieves perfection. This hopefully becomes ingrained into the students, and pushes them to break the cycle of poverty and avoid the drugs and alcohol you find on the streets. Cost is 18 soles (2.78 soles to the dollar) per month for the first child in a family, 5 soles for the second, and the third+ go for free.
Colegio Cristo Rey
More of an upper class school run by the Jesuits. Founded almost 50 years ago by Fr. Fred. It has grown so much in the last 50 years and is now a model of education around the world. The Cristo Rey netowork of schools (many found in the US as well) was modeled after the one here in Tacna. The school is known for academic excellence and they kids are wicked smart. The English instruction there is also really good…the kids are really capable in their english skills. The cost here is 300 soles per month I think.
Fe y Alegría
Another school founded in part by Fr. Fred…This one is currently run by the sisters of St. Joeseph and it had quite a different feel to it. The education level isn´t quite the same as Cristo Rey, but the relationships between the students and the teachers seems to be much friendlier. There wasn´t as much distance between the two. And the sisters are so amazing. They are warm and welcoming and every student knows that they´re in a safe place because of the caringness of the environment. Or at least that´s how it seemed when we visited. I´ll know more later this week since we´re going back to talk more about the campus ministry there.
Centro Cristo Rey de Niño Trabajador
I don´t know too much about this place because we were only there for a few hours and no one gave us the overview necessary to really get a good feel for the place, but just threw us in with the mix. We ate lunch with the secondary kids and then played with the primary kids on the playground. Later we all got placed into classrooms to help outfor a bit. I was inthe special needs class and it was cool to watch. I wasn´t able to do much, but I got a good feel for how the class worked. We´re going to go back next week to talk more about the mission there and all the other work that they do.