This morning we drove up to the Chancay hot springs. It is located further into the hills from Santa Cruz and has a beautiful vista across valleys. The hot springs are reported to be medicinal mineral baths. The baths are organized by rooms which accommodate anywhere from 2 to 20 people. Our room for two had a changing area and a pool that was probably 3 x 9 yards. It was very relaxing and we soaked for about 20 minutes.
On our way back to Santa Cruz we stopped in the small village of Chancay for something to eat. We sere servers a soup made from Casga, a river fish that has a hard "shell" like a lobster but looks something like a small catfish. The soup was very tasty and getting to the meat of the casga was interesting as well. All in all, quite a tasty meal.
Upon our return to Santa Cruz, we were offerred lunch. All three of us declined, as we felt the fish soup had served as lunch. If nothing else, our hosts wanted us to be well fed!
The second course of the bullfighting came this afternoon. The same three matadors competed with very different results! One of the bullfighters from yesterday that had such a poor performance had the best performance of the afternoon. He earned two ears as well so there was a tie for first place.
On our way home from the bullfights, there was a minor accident involving the truck carrying the matadors. In the back and hanging off the rear were their helpers. Apparantly, someone bumped into the truck from behind which could have been serious if one of the helper's legs had been inbetween the bumpers. Tempers flared and the matadors were out of the truck and attacking the driver. However, it was all over in a matter of minutes. The girls in our van were both excited to be in such close proximity and concerned for the welfare of Fernando, the famous Peruvian bullfighter. Such teenage idolatry. " Ohhhh, Fernando!"
After dinner we gathered in our hosts living room and drank beer and visited. The principal of the school came by and we discussed what the most urgent needs of the school might be. Most of the classrooms had ancient chalkboards and the chalkdust was creating some health problems for the teachers. Even more ancient were the computers in the lab. The school has a total of 14 computers for class sizes of 40, which meant that there were 4 students per computer during a class. They did have internet access which was controled by the ministry of education and was pulled from a satelite. None of this was very reliable. They were also hoping for a language lab where they could teach english. The ministry sent them the CD's but the school doesn't have a way to deliver these lessons to multiple students at a time. After much discussion, we proposed the following;
1. Doug and I would look into buying white board material in the states and transporting along with our household belongings.
2. Our friend Ed was going to try finding donations for more up-date computers or people willing to donate the cost for a new one here; $350.
3. Ed was also going to check with local schools in his area to see if they had out-dated language lab materials that might work.
4. We also offered to begin a fund for "speedy" internet access. The problem being that once they declined the ministry's satelite service, they would never be able to go back to it. So Ed and I donated a total of $1500 to be used for this purpose. That would guarantee them three years of service. That would give everyone some time to think about how to maintain that balance for them.
5. I also volunteered to return in March or April to teach a week of english.
After visiting the school, I realized how easy we had it in Wilsonville. We did our share of complaining, but these teachers deal with what they have and are still cheery.
After some hours of visiting and discussion, we went to bed early.