We traveled out for our second trip to the Yanesha communities. Bumpy roads, thick jungle and mountains out in the distance. There’s a lot of selva (jungle) in central Peru with very little development in comparison. We had spent time the previous month in the high schools teaching religion courses and English. There are a lot of children in Villa America and the school is quite a buzz. You can notice the changes in demeanor (and class size) from the playful younger middle schoolers to the more solemn upperclassmen. It seems like as impoverished jungle life becomes more real, it systematically takes its toll on the young children turned young adults.
What will they be doing in 1 or 2 years when their primary education is formally over? Many have floating question marks around the conversation of secondary education. The list of barriers for these communities isn’t short. However, some can actually respond with direct certainty regarding the future. “I’ll be in the chacra (family farm)”. Yes, many have concluded further education is not even in the cards for them and they’ve known it for a while.
But we were excited for this trip. We expected it would be a time of close community and hope. We had scheduled a community gathering that had 2 main events. We had the opportunity to present, to many community members and their leaders, what we had planned in constructing a CETPRO (Centro Técnico Productivo) right in their community. The second half of the day was a meal all together of Pachamanca. Pachamanca is a form of cooking meat and vegetables underground covered in banana leaves and a layer of earth and it was amazing!! Check out the video!
But the big idea for the day was the clarification of the CETPRO to a curious community. The CETPRO will offer a first step toward secondary education with a focus on agriculture (primarily optimizing your crops and managing it well as a business). This is going to be a big deal for this community. Many people travel long distances to attend school which takes them away from their families for extended periods of time. It also creates a whole cost of living expense category to the already expensive education. However, this option will be in their backyard!
Villa America, where we’re building the CETPRO, is a larger Yanesha community and serves as the economic and educational hub of 12 surrounding smaller communities. Many students are already traveling just to go to high school. They will be able to attend here with minimal barrier to entry and learn content highly applicable to their lives. Also we have the liberty to oversee about 40% of the curriculum which we can craft to biblical worldview instruction and discipleship. After 2 years of studying, anyone who wishes to continue their education further will have greater opportunity through government partnership with CETPRO’s to attend state institutes. Any who do not go any further will still be highly equipped practically and spiritually to continue an agrarian life in the beautiful jungle among their own people.
We are excited to see things coming together and also excited at the community response. Your support financially is vital to continuing this project. Please continue to pray with us for God’s guidance as we work to make this a reality.