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Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM): Library Construction

Posted by on March 16, 2012

Hola! That’s Spanish for HELLO! That’s ONE of the words we know in Spanish, although we sure don’t know very MANY! We are learning, though!

On February 28, 2012, the Grade Three Bloggers got to Skype to Peru and speak with Geneva, from Mosqoy, again! During this call we heard about purple paint, a q’ente, a calf, potato soup, a bunch of volunteers, and an alpaca. You might be deliberating with yourself and asking, “What do these all mean?” On the weekend of February 25 and 26 Geneva and a bunch of terrific volunteers worked together to finish the construction on the library before the Grand Opening!

6 AM on Saturday they all went to the bus station and ate a delicious breakfast … quinoa and apple sauce! After breakfast, they took the bus to the base of Q’enqo. From there, they were faced with another three and a half hour hike up the mountain to get to the small weaving village. When Geneva and her work crew arrived, they could already see people from the community mixing paint! Today was the day they were cleaning up, sanding for the SECOND time … and painting for the FIRST! They would also be fixing the floorboards and putting all the new windows in.

The volunteers prepare for a busy and productive weekend

The community decided to paint the ceiling of the library a beautiful dove gray, because they thought it would work well to cover the plaster and some of the rough spots that they couldn’t get out. Even though this was a great cover colour, they STILL had to paint the ceiling three or four times! Phew! That’s a LOT of work to do … especially after a three hour hike UPHILL … they must have been POOPED!

They weren’t tall enough to reach the ceiling, and their brush handles were TOO short. So, Jose Luis and the other painters invented a new handle made out of long tree BRANCHES and tied the paint roller to the end. It made painting the ceiling easier … but it was STILL a lot of hard work! We call their invention a “Broller”, a branch roller or a “Pranch”, a paintbrush on a tree branch! It reminds us of the plant brooms they use (we call them “plooms”).

Creative problem solving at its best!

Purple was painted on the inside walls of the library. The walls became colourful and vibrant. The community chose purple because they felt both boys and girls would like the colour. They felt it would make the library a warm and inviting place to learn. As people worked, the children peeked into the windows. They were curious about what all the adults were doing, and really amazed when they saw the beautiful colours! The outside of the library also looked as GOOD as NEW once it was painted a brilliant ocean blue on the bottom, and delightful periwinkle purple on TOP!

What an amazing difference!

Anxious to see the progress

The library doors were painted stunning aqua blue. This blue was chosen because most of the doors on buildings in Q’enqo are blue. The purple and blue are a magnificent combination!

Bright and beautiful doors!

After all this hard work it was time to stop for lunch! For lunch they had delicious potato soup and bread made by the sweet, kind moms who were so grateful for the volunteers’ amazing work. Some of us think we’d really like to TRY some of this scrumptious soup … we wonder if they serve Peruvian Potato Soup in CALGARY? Even though they were working so hard the volunteers had wide smiles on their faces during lunch. This big meal gave them tons of energy to keep going with all their jobs.

Enjoying a break and a delicious meal...still smiling!

There was so much work that needed to be done the volunteers stayed overnight at one of the houses in Q’enqo. This was great news because it would have been a LONG hike back home in the DARK! It was VERY cold sleeping in the house, because there is no heating and Q’enqo is in the MOUNTAINS! Their hosts filled them full of warm tea to help them stay warm. For dinner, they were given a bowl of pureed beans mixed with water and sugar. During dinner, a calf approached the house, poked his nose in through the DOOR and asked to be invited in for DINNER!!! He trotted right inside! There wasn’t enough to go around, but the calf stayed around to keep an eye on things!

What a surprise the volunteers had when they arrived back at the library the very next morning, only to discover that the community members had started WITHOUT them!  Wow!  They were KEEN!  They REALLY want this LIBRARY!  There were women, dressed in their traditional Peruvian clothing, using PLOOMS again … to brush off the dust and dirt that had gathered during the work the previous day!

So many amazing people helping to get the library ready for the children

While the men from the community were using the chainsaw to cut wood to replace the missing floorboards, a huge HAIL storm rolled in … and that was the END of the electricity for a while.  Thank GOODNESS there was an old-school saw kicking around!

Team work pays off!

Something special happened during the construction that was a surprise for everyone. A Mosqoy student who is an artist decided to paint a colourful Q’ente on the outside wall of the library. It stood out nicely on the purple wall. Q’ente means hummingbird in Quechua, the official language spoken in Q’enqo. The artist chose to paint a beautiful summer grass-green hummingbird because hummingbirds migrate between Vancouver and Peru. It shows the special relationships between Canada and Peru in this library project!  The hummingbird also represents joy and happiness. We think the mural looks stunning!

A beautiful mural full of hope and joy—a perfect choice for the library!

If you are wondering about the alpaca we mentioned at the beginning…there was a baby, chocolate brown alpaca that followed Geneva on the hike back to Cusco. He was so furry, cuddly, adorable and cute.

A little companion along the hike home

We are impressed with all of the volunteers’ hard work. It took them over 13 hours and 2 days! They worked so hard on our behalf to make the library beautiful! We want to say to them:

  • Thank you for all of your hard work!
  • We think you are courageous!
  • We feel like crying because the library looks so amazing!
  • We are proud of your extreme work!
  • We think you are great because you helped us build a library!
  • We feel your work is brilliant!
  • You are change makers!
  • Your wonderful work will make the children so happy!

Our heroes, the volunteers!

Geneva told us some really, really GOOD news … all the building supplies they needed to fix the library in Q’enqo came under BUDGET.  That means they had some money left OVER after purchasing all the tools, paint, shelves, tables and chairs!  Geneva took that left over money to a market in Cusco and bought a bunch of second-hand books for the LIBRARY!  Brand new books cost a LOT of money … forty new books cost about $600.00 … so … it’s great that she could find some second-hand books in MAGNIFICENT shape!  Some of the books Geneva bought were dictionaries, a book about the human body, atlases, and fairy tales. They all sound great to us!

It makes us feel SO proud to see the library is almost ready! Soon children will be able to open the pages of books in the library for the VERY first time!

Adios!  (Now, THAT’S Spanish for “goodbye”!)  Keep checking back … we will be writing all about the Library’s GRAND Opening very soon!

Until then, we wonder:

  • What you think about the work that the Q’enqo volunteers did?
  • Do you have any OTHER questions about the final library clean-up?  We would love to answer them!
  • Have YOU ever made something to help you out when you didn’t have the right tool for the job?  Like the “plooms” and the paintbrushes on tree branches … “Pranches”.

7 Responses to Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM): Library Construction

  1. Noor and Zack

    dear globe grade 3

    The work you have done was so magnificent for the children in Q’enqo. You made a difference in the world. You boys and girls should be proud of yourselves. Keep up the great work.

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Noor and Zack! Thank you for taking the time to comment and for checking out our blog – we are really thrilled to see all the different comments and it makes us feel SO good when our parents get involved too! Yup. The Grade Threes have sure worked hard to make a difference for the children living in Q’enqo Peru … and it makes us all feel SO good inside to know that we have not only helped to rebuild a library, but to ALSO be putting BOOKS on the shelves as well! Keep checking back … our Angela Maiers Post will be coming SOON! This is TREMENDOUSLY exciting for us! Mrs. Renton (on behalf of the Grade Three Bloggers) 🙂

  2. Mya

    Hola amigos! Long time no see! It’s mya here and I just say marverlous work guy’s and gal’s. (You have kind of a spelling mistake in the part that says “A calf approached house ” so, yeah. (I’m in a rush so the comment is gonna be short ok). I also want to say sorry to Mrs.Renton about not going on the blog sooner! Well Adios! From “your traveller”, Mya

    • Laurie Renton

      Hola, Mya! Thank you so much for checking out the blog while you are in Australia! What a NICE surprise to see that you are still helping us out … even from HUNDREDS of miles away! What a GREAT editing job you did … I fixed it … thank you for CATCHING that little “word omission!” Keep your EYES peeled, kiddo! Our Guest Post for Angela Maiers is almost ready to go up! Once she posts it to HER site, then we will post it on ours! It is SO exciting! We MISS you! Love, Mrs. Renton and the Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  3. Ross Mannell

    Hello Global Grade 3,

    Hola! Mi español puede ser débil, pero tengo un buen software. 🙂
    (Hi! My Spanish may be weak but I have good software. )

    To start, I like the acronym TEAM. It’s true in most things in life. If we learn to work together, we share the toil and reap the rewards sooner. Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM) is a way of life we should try to fulfil.

    Skyping is a great way to share with people round the world. We might read a post but seeing the words spoken by the writer adds their expressions both facial and verbal. We can see them smile, hear their happy voices and share their excitement.

    I can see TEAM came into play when painting the ceiling. How many of you would have thought of Jose Luis’s idea of using a paint brush atatched to a branch. This is the advantage of TEAM, with more minds, there can be more ideas. 🙂

    Through the photos, I can see the library looks beautiful. Bright walls and murals add to the feeling of community. This is truly a library built with TEAM in mind.

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    • Laurie Renton

      Hola, Ross! Our Spanish is a lot like YOUR Spanish … thank GOODNESS for Google Translator! Ms. Emann’s husband played a HUGE trick on us one day … by writing his ENTIRE comment in NORWEGIAN!!! We all thought he spoke and wrote FLUENT Norwegian … but, he later admitted his trickery … and told us that he’d used a translator TOO!!! Hee hee hee! We LOVED the trick because we have two Norwegian students in our CLASSROOM who speak fluent Norwegian … and it made them feel pretty good to help us translate his message! We liked the challenge! We don’t think that ANY of us would have thought about Jose Luis’s invention … that was AMAZING problem-solving! He REALLY thought out of the box … that must be how great inventions are created! We’ve called it the broller, (branch roller), and the pranch, (paintbrush and branch). It also reminds us of the ploom, (the plant broom)! Just wait until you see our NEXT blog post about the Inaugoration … if you think the library looks great now, with the paint and the hummingbird mural … you should see it with the BOOKS on the shelves! Ross, thank you for your comment – it always makes us feel SO good when we see one of your comments come through! Have a GREAT day! The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  4. Tannis Emann

    Hi Grade 3s! I was so fortunate this weekend…I was able to share your amazing story with my classmates at the University of Saskatchewan. I was so thrilled to tell them all about your blog, Skype calls with Ashli and Geneva, and the beautiful library project. They were so impressed with the difference you are making in the world! I am so proud of you and I look forward to seeing you soon!
    Ms. Emann

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