Today, the Battalion Park Grade Threes … 117 of them … all FIVE classrooms … took part in “Pennies for Peru”! Today, we tried to “walk a “mile” in their shoes”. As with ANY figure of speech, this CAN’T be taken LITERALLY! After all, “It’s raining cats and dogs” doesn’t REALLY mean that cats and dogs are FALLING from the SKY! To TRULY walk a mile in the shoes of our Q’enqo partners’, we would have had to walk on VERY rocky terrain, UP mountainous hills, in our recycled car tire sandals … four FULL kilometers, in rain or snow or blistering heat … just to GET to school. Once there, we would have had to have been ready to learn for the day, (WITHOUT wanting to take a small nap), then pack up and walk ANOTHER four kilometers home … AND been ready to spend the evening helping with chores around the house!
No, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to TRULY “walk a mile in their shoes”. But, today gave us a TINY glimpse into what MANY of the children in the small rural weaving village of Q’enqo endure EACH day in order to go to school to learn.
What follows are some of the Grade Three Bloggers’ reflections after spending an hour simulating what it would be like to walk to school in Peru each and EVERY day:
“On Tuesday, May 29, the Grade Three Bloggers had an exhausting walk-a-thon. We’re doing this to raise money for more books for the Q’enqo kids! To me, it was … quite fun … to walk or run for eight laps around the field, (4 km) because we finally get to know how it feels to walk to school for some kids in Q’enqo. Even if we’re not in rubber sandals, we can still feel how exhausting it is to walk that far just to get to school. When I walk and I think about the kids … it feels like I’m right there with them, some how. All of us can’t believe that they have to walk that far in rubber sandals, over rocky mountains and other stuff, while we walked on nice green grass. After an HOUR of walking most of us had reached over eight laps and some didn’t. That’s okay too.” ~Mya
“We had a special walk and run today. It’s to see how it would feel walking 4 km like some of the Q’enqo kids do in Peru. When we all tried it was exhausting. The kids in Q’enqo did walking like that, but it might have been more. It felt sweaty too. 4 km was longer than we thought it would have been!” ~Rijul
“On May 29th, all the Grade Threes had a walk-a-thon. We could have run or walked. We had to do eight or more laps. Eight laps equalled 4 km. We felt sweaty and tired. Not just tired … extremely tired. We all thought it was really good but it was so, so tiring too!” ~Tormod
“Before the walk, I thought that 4 km wasn’t much but, just half way through one lap I was starting to get tired! Some people said that they would walk or run that much every day but walking every day so much would get so tiring. When the Peruvian kids get to school, they don’t get to lie down on the floor like we did. Instead, they work, work, work … for 4 or 5 hours then walk all the way back to their houses. And, when they arrive, they don’t lie down and rest, instead they do chores until bedtime! After the walk, we collected all the money that we brought and WEIGHED it. We all watched the numbers on the scale go up, from 1 kg, 2kg … and … finally … the scale stopped at 6.9 kg! Now it’s time to COUNT!” ~Ava
“At school today, we all did a marathon for our Peruvian friends. We were supposed to walk for at LEAST 4 km. My friends and I walked around 14 times. We all walked 7 km around the fresh green grass. I had to take a couple of stops on the way because it was really warm. By the time we reached 10, we were all pooped. My gas tank was EMPTY, but I stuck to it! Every Grade Three put courage into the walking and running for Pennies for Peru. I was walking to see how it would feel to walk 4 km just to get to school. Sometimes they walk all that way for NOTHING because their TEACHERS don’t show up!” ~Max
“I walked 8 laps today. You may wonder why I walked. Well, I did it because we wanted to see what it is like to walk to school in Q’enqo Peru. They walk 4 km every day to get to school and back, and sometimes the teacher is not even there so they have to walk back! When we walked, we had running shoes, a VERY green field … and they have tire sandals, a rocky path and it is up HILL. They walk there in ALL sorts of weather. We walked in the sunshine. Before we did this, our teacher said, “Remember Q’enqo when you do this!” Then, we started running or walking. I talked about Peru and thought about Q’enqo and when I was finished I was proud and exhausted! I am glad that I did that run because I could see what it is like. But, when THEY get home, they work and work. When WE get home we do a tiny bit of work and then play. I want to try to walk 4 km and then go to school and then go walk back for another 4 km and then work and work. I am very thankful that we don’t live in Peru and that we did it. I feel a little sad for the kids in Peru because they have to walk up hill on a rocky path in ALL kinds of weather in tire sandals and when they get to school somtimes their teacher didn’t even show up, so they walk back home in the same weather, in the same shoes, on the same path. When they get home they have to work and work. I said that because I needed a rest, and the TEACHER needed a rest … ALL of us needed a rest after we walked. I wish NO ONE needed to walk that far just to get to school.” ~Larissa
“PUFF! PUFF! We ran like hornets as we tried as hard as we could to imagine what it was like to walk about 4 km! Boy, THAT is a humongous way to rush to school AND to get back home again! NOW we know what it feels like to walk 8 laps, (4 km)! Of course, I only ran six laps, but even THAT was long enough to make me almost conk out right on my desk! (In case you don’t know, “conk out” means to fall asleep!) I mean, that little walk-a-thon got me EXTREMELY POOPED! In fact, I was SOOOO tired, that I wanted a big drink of water!” ~Galen
“I felt so surprised that the kids have to walk so far. They don’t even get to go in a bus or their parents don’t even get to drive them to school. They have to walk there to school all by themselves. So, my class thought that we should walk as long as they have to walk to school. But, we did it around the field at my school. I felt so tired after all that running, so I started to walk and I never stopped like some kids. I felt so sad for the kids in Peru. When I was done I felt so proud of myself. I felt like I should do everything that THEY do that’s hard!” ~Zahra
“All of the Grade Threes ran around a big field and we did eight laps. Some of us did 12 or 13 laps around the field. When I did eight laps I was exhausted and proud and sweaty. I was SO sweaty I poured water on my head! We ran with running shoes, and the kids in Peru run with recycled tires to walk to school. We walked on soft grass and they walk on snow and in cold rain. When the Peruvian kids come back from school they do chores and we sit down and watch tv or go to bed. We ran 4 km. I think all of us are pooped from all that running and walking, but I think all of us are proud and happy and joyful. After we were done we were out of water. When we came back in, we were dripping wet and we just laid down and thought about Q’enqo and their school. We enjoyed the walk around the school.” ~Julia
“The story I am about to tell you all started on May 29th … so this is how it starts. At about 10:45 in the morning we all stayed out at recess. I bet you are wondering why? It’s because of our marathon. It’s where you walk or run 8 laps, which equals 4 km! And, some of us got to wave our big Peruvian flag! It took us all the way to lunch to finish 8 laps or more. Some of us poured water on our heads like a sprinkler! After we were done, we went in for a lay down … but more like a nap! Did I mention that we brought in SO much money that it weighed 6.9 kg?” ~Alexia
“Today was the walk-a-thon for Peru! We learned that the little Peruvian children have to walk to school 4 km. We should be glad that we have runners so our feet have support. We have nice warm shoes. We even have DRESS shoes. They have to walk over hills with no grass and it takes them 4 km to get to their school. But, if the teacher didn’t show up, they have to walk 4 km back. If the teacher DID show up, the kids would be happy because school is their favourite part of the day. When they get back from school they can’t just lay down on the couch and have a little nap. They have to do chores like making bread and other things. I felt so exhausted my legs felt like they were going to fall off. I also felt proud because I did it for Peru.” ~Thalia
“When I was walking laps, 4 km, around the field, I was thinking about the people in Q’enqo and the school. They wear tire sandals. I feel lucky to have running shoes. It is a good thing because it was hot and the grass was green. We were all thinking it is a nice day to run. The kids in Q’enqo walk 4 km and back every day. In total, that would have been 16 laps around our field, or 8 km every day. I was sweaty after the walk and tired because I ran fast!” ~Brenden
“A quote I made up is: “They think they are lucky. We know WE’RE lucky!” All of the Grade Threes had a penny drive AND a walk-a-thon! We wanted to put our feet in the Q’enqo kids’ shoes and walk 4 km just like they have to EVERY DAY! Boy were we pooped! We walked 8 laps just to complete the calculation of 4 km. Some of us ran. Some of us walked. When I was walking, I thought “WOW … do they have to walk this every DAY? I’d fall asleep in class for SURE!” But, not only do they have to walk this every day … they have to come home and do a MOTHER LOAD of CHORES!!! Many of us had a sweaty wet feeling from the blazing sun! 6% of us dumped ice cold water on ourselves. We were SO hot! When I was done I felt … POOPED, proud, sweaty and stinky … but it sure pays UP a lot!” ~Natasha
“Today we walked 4 km which is how long it takes for some of the Q’enqo kids to walk from their houses to school. Except, some of my friends wanted the extra challenge of attempting BOTH ways: to school AND from school, (8 km). We only got to seven km, just two more exhausting laps and we would have done it … 16 laps around the field! That’s what we would have gotten if we had ran 2 more laps. We are so lucky. We only had to for an hour. They have to do it EVERY day!” ~Damian
“Today we walked 4 km so we could have a sense of how far most of the kids in Q’enqo have to walk to school just ONE way. While I was running … every time I wanted to stop running because I was running and not walking. I thought about the Q’enqo children and kept running. When I was running I always kept in mind that I was running for a reason. I was running for Q’enqo. It isn’t the same thing to walk 4 km in new fashioned running shoes and on flat ground compared to walking up hill in the mountains and in recycled car tire sandals. When I was done I was flush red, dripping wet and TIRED … but … I was REALLY proud!” ~Martin
“On May 29, 2012 all the grade Three students and teachers did a walk-a-thon for Peru! You might be wondering why we are doing a walk-a-thon? Well, we did it to see what it was like to walk 4 km only one way up hill. After we did it, we felt sweaty, pooped, but proud! It took about 50 minutes to do 11 laps by running and walking … I also forgot to tell you that when we went to the field we looked like an army of Grade Threes! All the Grade Threes gave a little donation to Peru again, and I have no clue how much we got in all. So … my estimate is $500.00, because there are 5 Grade Three classes. Keep checking back … we will always be on the blog!” ~Kaylee
“On May 29, the Grade Threes at Battalion Park School had a walk-a-thon to see what it would be like to walk to school in Q’enqo Peru. It was interesting to watch because lots of the kids were walking in pairs and many were talking about going into the school to get a drink. But, someone heard them talking about that … in Q’enqo they do not have water breaks to get to school so it wouldn’t be fair to go into the school … it would be like cheating. So, those two kids did not go into the school to get a water break. During the walk-a-thon, there was someone who was exhausted but he was so amazed at how those Q’enqo kids do this every day … so he completed the walk and so did everyone else!” ~Jesse
“Today all the Grade Threes walked or ran a walk-a-thon. My best friend and I walked together for almost the whole time. But, that’s not what I am here to talk about. I am here to talk about “Pennies for Peru”. That’s what the WALK-A-THON was called. I did 8 laps. I feel proud of our work with Q’enqo and the library. Have you walked a walk-a-thon? I hope my school plans that again! I LOVE studying Peru!” ~Sophie H.
“The Grade Threes gathered up after recess to run 4 km. Why, you might be wondering. Well … that is how long it takes for a student in Q’enqo to go to school. All the students in Grade Three made it to the field and started to walk, run and jog. After a while you would get tired out … like you were chasing a bunny. After 3 or 4 laps you would be sweating and exhausted like you had just run a half a marathon … and surely you would stop running if you were! After your 7th or 8th, your hands, head and your arms would be watering with sweat. After that I felt like I did not like running so much. I felt extremely pooped! Those kids in Q’enqo are really smart and happy … but … mostly ATHLETIC! I feel really happy that they are EAGER to learn!” ~Eric