Orellana at the Amazon basin

Orellana is a little sleepy town and lays at the Ucayali River of the Region. One can get there with a ship or a Speedboat Bus. Ships take a little bit more time to travel and the fee includes meals inside the ship. Traveling with a ship it is much more relaxed! one can enjoy the day and the people traveling. Usually at the afternoon at the dusk people get together for talking and enjoy a beer. Meanwhile the nature just show the twilight of the afternoon and birds whatever it moves are looking for shelter. If there is a lucky day one can enjoy amazonian pink dolphins surfing with the waves of the ship. All around it creates an unbelievable experience with a good atmosphere.

Orellana it´s just a small town with around 2 000 houses. Most houses are build with material out of the region which give them a typical amazonian landscape in between trees.

The place is in ever changing process since in early years it was the center of extraction of coca leaves, after the military brought security to the town it became to be one of the bases for tropical wood extraction. Both activities carries its legal and illegal parts. The extraction of coca leaves is legal only if farmers are subscribed in an association who controls the trade and farmers are post to sell to this association they are limited to a certain amount of harvest area. In Peru one can find products of coca leaves such as flour for cereal meals, ice cream, sweet candies, mate or tee and other derivates of the product. It belongs to the tradition specially in the Andean regions due to the Incas heritages to bless with coca for the beginn or end of any event.

The transport security is selected. Usually one can travel without thinking that any thing can happen. But in some cases transport at the Ucayali River needs a certain security due to pirates in the region. Police is only provide at the bigger cities such as Iquitos and Pucallpa. Most certainly are harmlos against passengers but they still usually the gathered income of the transport.

The town is at the shore of the Ucayali River goes along the river from north to south. In the way when the sun rises, illuminates the town along the shore and by the dust brings the shadow of the houses at the promenade making it at the afternoon much more lively. The river becomes an important element of life and landscape of the people living there.

In the very early morning the market is open until around 9:00 in the morning. This is done in a informal way. Mostly extracted products out the river or the Jungle. The lively of fruits and vegetables self made food are on the table to sell. Amazonian animals are rarely seen, nevertheless not completed banned. Even though people have understanding of shifting of consume behavior, there is still some preference to consume amazonian meet.

Usually people would hang around at the „plaza de armas“ a square to sit down and chill out for youngster and older people. This also is the opportunity for small seller, who sells home made food and amazonian fruits. Probably the heart of the afternoon is at the place where people join for volleyball. This is, besides Football, one the most games people play passionately.

In many cases and no matter how the ground looks like people just have to close the streets and make a break when a motorcycle pass by. When playing at the promenade it happens that the ball is hit with high power and it ended up in the river. As the river flow is high the ball is collected after few kilometers after the town. And requires the ability of people to paddle and swim. A game with nature after all.

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I. E. 64261 in Orellana: a impulsing school at the Amazon

The school is situated at the shore of the Ucayali River in the Amazon region of Peru. It has barely around 400 pupils and around 20 teachers. This primary school follows the Peruvian education system teaching from grade first until sixth. Children are every day spectating from what the daily class is to be. The school share the day in work shifts. The first three grades assist to school in the morning form 7:30 until 12:30 and the fourth, fifth and sixth grade from 13:00 until 17:00. The school is two-handed school and if parents are collaborating with firewood and willing to participate cooking, there is breakfast and lunch every day, to make sure that education is not being affected by low nutrition. Every Monday and Friday morning the Peruvian flag is hoisted in the schoolyard, here is also a time where the memory to important people of the Peruvian history is honored. A really old tradition, that in this times brings contradictions specially when Peru is tackling corruption at the government.

Scholars playing football

Children go to school compulsorily. Teachers live in a way that they have to follow the governmental lines to teach at schools and to be updated with tests every year. These tests are supposed to assure the working place as a requisite for future contracts to work at any school. In any case, this kind of regulation for quality of education is facing its critics local and in the media. Then tests are strictly academic and little have to do with pedagogic matters. On the other hand teachers are very much updated with new regulations of education offices. But this indeed is facing its skepticism around teachers trying to work with the new curricula and being faced with an ever changing regulation of curricula.

At the primary school go children from class one until class six. The secondary school is next level where children get education until class 11. Further education get youngsters at the so called „institute“ or get a year for preparation for university.

Children get along with education system. Although the basics settings to assist school is not always being handled, there is a extrem will of children to learn and socialize their insights. These basics settings such as meals and an appropriated day home for schoolchildren in the afternoon are facing its difficulties or it is not even existing. In contrast children have much more time for participation for what it is happening in town. Just to mention Solstice celebration in which children and youngsters participate with traditional dancing and sport activities, the school anniversary invites them for plenty of activities in which children get to be engaged in town. Thus also discovering and developing their own abilities outside school.

So, in that way, education for children is almost carried not only from schools but the environment in which children grow up seems to be more informal and consequently requires the participation of the community at this region of the amazon.

From here I would like to thanks the school director Prof. Jacob Ramirez and the class teachers at the school for their collaboration and accessing to the school children for teaching and learning from each other.

A long way…

The sunset at the Ucayali river in Peru

After having to travel from Berlin to Lima via Madrid the journey did not finished there. The flight from Lima to Pucallpa was quiet after all. Just getting involve with people in my country reminds me again where do i come from.

The first thing to do was shopping to get the materials for the work with pupils at the school. And I release that many things needs to have into consideration again. To watch after my bags for pickpockets to have a safe environment when getting close to a ATM and to watch the working time schedules. At midday every office and shop is closed for two hours for the midday lunch and rest.

Sunset at the Ucayali River

On my way to Orellana, I got a small ship to travel trough the River and just to enjoy the beauty of nature and its surroundings.

Now in Contamana city another town in between before arriving to Orellana. I spent here two days. Teachers are having a Workshop to the new curricula and I was with very much eager to get the new insides of the topic.

To be continue…

In between, Getting Ready, Already!

There is a complement after all efforts being involved in this noble actions in our home countries. After a weekend of networking with professionals living in Germany and being the main actors of their own project, there’re loads of expectations growing in every activity. A weekend seminar organized bei CIM as a preparation stage, would just increase the confidence in our purpose or maybe for questioning, readjust our objectives and to take into account possible challenges we probably face at the study place. At the same time I´m just having a look with an eye the reality Peru is facing.

At the end of Mai, 2019 was an earthquake in the amazon region of Peru. It shake literally not only houses standing and people in the surroundings but also the purpose of my work. Some challenges are not foreseen and we’re aware of it. And reminds me the wise words of the moderator “ Meanwhile you concentrate in your projects, the world moves around it“. Well, projects are not static, though! if we find something static then it is time to manage it. Please, not by delegation. You would never be sure is there is something going to move. Luckily the earthquake did not leave anything to regret, besides the fear of its mighty.

Just reacting to the situation in my country, I can figure out children expecting that the expertise would give them a little portion of hope to rich a future of wellbeing and being able to become a responsible person to cope with this ever changing world. For this I nearly feel not getting in touch too much with their topic and getting involve into the school in those three weeks activity. This short period of time also raised expectation on my cooperation partner. In any case, the month of July is focused to search our future vision of the primary school 64261 in Orellana, and the main stream of what the school is searching for to enhance education in young generation. And before I continue with the purpose I would like to take you through some facts of the region.

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The school 64261 in Orellana has around 300 pupils. As a public school is being supported by the Ministry of Education and the alignments are also given, trough regional offices, by the central Peruvian Government. Children have to visit a pre school at the age of five and at the age of six begins primary school until class six. Orellana is a town belonging to the department of Loreto. And according to the last national Census the estimated population in Loreto is around 891, 732 in which 65,4% people are living in urban areas and 34,6% of the total population in rural areas. Young population until the age of 15 increased in the last decades, and represent 38,6% of the population in this department (INEI, 2007). This reflect the population structure of this region looking much more as a Christmas tree. Having a strong basis from young people and a small representation of elder population. And of course almost equally represented by men and women.

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For more information about Peru I would really recommend to visit: https://acei-global.blog/2018/04/06/40-facts-on-peru-the-country-its-education-system/

Out of these facts, we find out that there’s a strong base of a future young generation who will contribute in many ways to this sustainable world. So here is the question raised what is the stream of education in Peru?. Looking back, after the Independence of Peru in 1821, the education system in Peru focused on the interest of European countries since its implementation as feudal-system lasted until the decade of the ´60s. In the last decades the vision of education changed and mostly was followed by radical events, from revolts as the military coup in 1968, or the economic crisis on 1990, establishing a neo-liberal education reform. Nowadays, Peru implemented an education system according the lines of Education for Sustainable development (ESD) as part of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG) „Quality of Education“. There´re still challenges to tackle, specially regarding the principles of ESD and being apart of focusing education only for economics purposes and rather to find the balance between economics, ecological and social issues.

Besides the perspective of the guidelines and purposes of this plan, a challenge teachers face is to be able to develop or even to adapt their own methodology, or their own classroom activities into class teaching. Decisions was very much paternalistic through out history and this seems not to change in a certain period of time specially in mind of generations who already accepted traditional education system. This accompanied with a strong patriotic feeling, just to tell every Sunday pupils have to participate to the traditional flag-raising ceremony wearing uniforms just like a a normal school day. No wonder when youth, specially by ending school, would loose interest for choosing higher education instead quickly enter as labor force into the market. Though, Peru would profit having more prepared professionals at main interfaces of the market.

Im very much convinced that efforts to introduce a more humanized education without having to loose the objectives and purposes requires actions that also can bring into an awareness of our own actions.

Education for Sustainable Development – Connecting People Connecting Worlds-

After visiting the Alumna conference in the north of Germany, ANESCo 2019, there was much to report, that the few pages for our papers wasn´t enough to describe our thoughts and experience that we had with 35 Alumnus from around the world in a exceptional place like Vilm Island…or maybe I rather spend time discovering  the beauty of Rügen and the surroundings.

Visiting two free schools in Greifswald and Rügen and the tree top walk at the Naturerbe Zentrum in Rügen, developed a critical point of view and reflexions of education system in our home countries. Environmental education was strongly addressed for a better understanding of the approach of ESD.  But, bevor I continue with this report I would like to begin with the background of the topic:

ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) goes beyond its acronyms explaining education to achieve in a long term the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) to fulfill the needs of current generations without adversely affecting future generations as UNESCO, 2014 described. But, I really consider important to address ESD for individual and for the community as a interrelated issue since individuals can become social protagonist and take responsibility of their actions meanwhile a more educated community have higher participation driving a higher level of social development. In this context, I would like to mentioned the International Bureau of Education to state the impacts of ESD:

At first: „transforming the lives of individuals and communities through education as an essential agent of change“

Second: „having a holistic vision of development, recognizing its multidimensionality with regard to sustainability, inclusion, justice, equity and cohesion“

Third: „acting from a humanistic perspective based on values, attitudes and behaviors the create and foment dignity, respect and healthy coexistence with others“

Fourth: „trusting in the power of education to increase wellbeing and the life opportunities available to people and communities“

Fifth: „timing of and managing development as the converge of cultural, political, economic and social components, emphasizing the role of education and the responsibility of educators to bring them all together“ (OBE, 2017)

After having to read those lines of the OBE and considering what we have experienced on those 10 days at the two schools and at the Naturerbe Zentrum Rügen in the north of Germany, just began to include and connect experience learning as a process of facing our natural world with knowledge for understanding and probably, for some of us, taking actions. At least this showed the perspective of professionals around the world working with education and climate related issues.

As practitioner, I become to realize that the common understanding on education can only be suitable at the moment when ESD includes the diverse disciplines into the learning process of humans guiding and building a way of consciousness on climate and therefore impulsing a „climate literacy“ generation.

A social understanding of economics is raised when talking about benefit sharing of management in national parks as a way to become an awareness homo sustinensis practitioner. In this way, experience learning also enable us to be confronted to a new situation in reflexion to what we already know and sharing the different perspectives of our countries and at the same time feeling motivated and encouraged to be part of this agent of change for sustainability specially in issues of education and resource use. This awareness is crossing the outline of ESD on practice, since there is a necessity of institutional review of our practice in education, but also looking at the ethos of institutions and practitioners, whatever generation, to cope with sustainable development.

Having to say that, I was just ready for a challenge! to bring my knowledge and experience of over ten years in Germany and reflect the education and values in my own sleepy amazonian childhood hometown. With support of the Center of International Migration (CIM) and a huge willingness to support my mates in Peru and around the globe. There will be three weeks of intensive exchange of experience and knowledge for primary education for school teacher in the first grades… and of course you can participate at any time with your insides and thoughts in this blog!

I`ll keep you Inform!

Vio-letter

References:
International Bureau of Education. 2017. 15 Clues to support the Education 2030 Agenda.-Serie Current and Critical Issues in Curriculum, Learning and Assessment. Retrieve by: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259069
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