This was originally published on my old blog, Rebel Catholic that recorded my adventures doing a nun run in 2013. I’m republishing it here in honour of the third anniversary since I returned home and the beginning of life in the calling that I discovered on that trip.
Part 2: World Youth Day 2013
Originally Published: Wednesday 17th July, 2013
Lima is home to 10 million people, one third of Peru’s population. Its unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in years at 20 percent, insulated from global financial troubles with its resource based economy.
Today we went to Pamplona, a distinctly poorer area of Lima, but not the worst area. We traveled by bus south to Pamplona and watched the gradual change. Like I said, this wasn’t the poorest areas of Lima and had a surprise vibe to it. The streets were dusty and pothole ridden, but clean and generally rubbish free. Construction was going on everywhere and people were bustling in and out of shops. There was a distinct vibe of a place that was halfway through being developed, got stopped and was starting to crank up again.
We arrived at the school. For the life of me I cannot spell its name or even say it! But it is a public school that covers primary and secondary. The principal is an incredibly dedicated and intelligent woman who has fostered overseas relationships to help fund and build the school. All up there are about 600 kids which are divided into morning and evening sessions. These kids only get half a day’s school to accommodate the kids who have to work and because they don’t have enough room to accommodate all of them at once.
Her name was Bianca, she’s a Hannah Montana fan, her favourite colour is pink and she has a twin sister.
We showed them how to brush their teeth, gave them a tooth brush and then we put fluoride on the teeth that didn’t have cavities and sent them to learn how to wash their hands properly and get a tube of toothpaste.
We did three classes each. The second was a kindergarten class with several bouncing kids. One of the girls drew me a picture!
We then had a late lunch and a break whilst the afternoon session kids came in. Little Bianca came and sat with me and Jamie for a while and learned to use the camera.
We were then thanked by the teachers and the principal. Apparently groups don’t stay for the evening session and we were the first. I didn’t want to leave! They were such beautiful children despite how rough many of them had it. A large proportion of them were orphaned or abandoned and most would not get breakfast if the school didn’t provide it.