Friday, February 1, 2008

in a funk...

lately i've been kinda down. not depressed, just... well, un-numb. i've found that after living here for 3 years i was beginning to not see what was going on around me. we live in a beautiful apartment (which is, gratefully, rent-controlled) and both have good incomes. our street leaves a little to be desired (okay, a lot. but we don't have a car that is destroyed everytime we go out, so we can't really complain about the street). i work in a private school so it's rare that i see kids in real need. even when i make my weekly(ish) visit to help out at amalio's public high school, i tend not to look at what is happening. recently, i guess the last two weeks or so, i've been opening my eyes - for better or for worse. i've been visiting the local public elementary school, chatting with the director about some program we might be able to start for volunteers and proposing a project to the government on behalf of amalio's school. yesterday, i went to take the pictures that will today be presented to the president of the republic - leonel fernandez. i don't know how i missed it. two and a half years in what is rated (academically) as the 3rd best school in the city of santiago is falling apart. literally. not only is the school overcrowded - up to 60 kids in each course - there aren't enough desks, the rooms are super.small. and well, falling apart. bravo to the teachers who have made it number three despite horrid surroundings and poor work conditions!!! and thanks for this project that helped open my eyes to the poverty of this country again.
See that wood "paneling" up there, that's the window. and where the kid's head is sticking out... oh yeah, there's nothing there. just a hole
This is the roof in a classroom. hilariously there is a fan... hilarious because the school on has electricity for about 2 hours a day. usually in the middle of the night.
here's a packed classroom of 9th graders sitting under the leaking, wood roof. when the windows are open, the glare prevents reading the chalkboard... when they're closed it's too dark to do anything.
this is the bathroom door. please note that it's falling off its hinges.
This is the amount of space between the school and the next house. this is where these kids are supposed to have gym class. yes, i'm serious.
This classroom doesn't have any desks, so the kids all chipped in to buy some plywood and made benches to sit on.
a wall dividing two classrooms and missing ceiling panels.
This hole makes me laugh. mostly because the director is (to use kind words) an idiot. he locks up the "archive office" (anothing little hole in the wall) and makes a big show of how safe the records are. This hole leads right to that "office"

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