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Excitement AND sadness … our LAST Skype with Ashli.

Posted by on June 14, 2012

The CHILDREN are keen to use the library ... but ... the adults are NOT keen to HELP with it. Another HARD lesson.

On Wednesday, June 14, the Grade Three Bloggers were LUCKY enough to Skype with ASHLI again! This Skype was FILLED with EXCITEMENT … but it was ALSO filled with SADNESS. Why, you ask? Because THIS Skype was the LAST one we would HAVE with her as the Grade Three Bloggers. While we were TERRIBLY excited to hear ALL about her recent experiences with the Q’enqo Library Project, we ALL knew that it would be our LAST … we are moving on to Grade FOUR.

During this Skype visit, Ashli told us that Mosqoy works with NINE different rural communities in Peru.  Each weekend, they spend time in three of them.  In one of these communities, they are helping to build a weaving centre so that the community can maintain their indigenous, traditional skills but also sell their weaving to bring some money and independence  into the community.

It is HARD to believe that Mosqoy works with NINE rural communities in Peru. THAT is LOT of HARD work!

Sadly, Ashli had some MORE bad news for us.  This is the FIRST time that she has SEEN the completed library project.  She said that, while it looks absolutely GORGEOUS – clean, beautiful, bright and full of books – there is one HUGE glitch. 

A GLITCH you say? ANOTHER one?  Yup.  Ashli told us that, although the Q’enqo community has a LOT of potential – the people are very GRATEFUL and INSPIRING – there are no strong LEADERS within the community.  No matter HOW excited the kids are for the library … to be using the books … using the beautiful building … it is HARD to use it if the ADULTS don’t care.  The TEACHERS don’t show up for classes and the LEADERS don’t show up when they say they will in order to even MEET with the Mosqoy students to LEARN how to make the library function properly.  The KIDS want to … but … they are too YOUNG … even younger than US … so they can’t even be trained to work in the library.

ANOTHER glitch? If the kids LOVE the books WHY won’t the adults help? They all worked so HARD to get the library up and running.

Ashli said there is a real NEED for the library and for SUPPORT to get to running.  It was a hard lesson for us … AND for Mosqoy.  But, we ALL know it is worth it.  We learned that it is EASY to START an NGO, (Non-Government Organization).  We ALSO learned that, while it might be EASY to start a project like the Battalion Park Library Project, it is CHALLENGING to keep it GOING.  Ashli reassured us.  She said it is WORTH all the ups and the downs. 

So, now we are all on to MORE Capacity Building.  The Mosqoy students, who are between 16 and 20 years old, really BELIEVE in this project.  They have already volunteered SO many hours of HARD labour to help to build the library over the past several months.  Now, because they want the Q’enqo children to have the same chances as THEY have been given, these young adults have decided to each spend several weekends a year going into Q’enqo to run the library!  Wow!  Ashli thinks this is a HUGE step in the right direction.

Maybe it's because there is so much OTHER work to do that it is hard for the adults to take the time to LEARN about running the library.

Maybe through role-modelling the adults in the Q’enqo community will begin to show more interest.  This is only a SHORT TERM solution, though.  Eventually they might even have to HIRE someone who can go in to run the library, even if it’s only part time.

Although it was ANOTHER hard lesson to hear, we know that if ANYONE can do it … it will be ASHLI and her AMAZING Mosqoy team.

It is a HARD lesson for us - but - it is a LIFE lesson. We will ALL persevere! It IS important!

Here are some of our thoughts about our Skype with Ashli:

“On Wednesday June 13, 2012 we Skyped with Ashli.  She was on a mountain called Pinkulluna, (Pin-ku-luna).  We thought she fell OFF the mountain because the Skype call ended in the middle of a conversation, but she actually lost internet connection.  It took her 20 minutes to get her connection back.  In order to get the connection back, she bolted down the mountain to the town below called Ollantaytamba (Oh-yahn-tah-tom-bo).  Ashli said that the library is only open during school hours and the adults don’t really want to learn how to use the library.  Only the kids want to learn!”  ~Damian and Brenden

“Yesterday we had a Skype with Ashli.  She was on a mountain!  She told us that she would hike up a mountain for Skype and Mrs. Renton got SO excited we thought we would probably have to peel her off of the ceiling again!  We got so excited too!  We LOVE to Skype with Ashli and her gang!  Unfortunately, she talked for a bit and then her Skype suddenly flickered.  She had to get off Skype because it was SO windy.”  ~Sophie H. and Galen

Life in rural Q'enqo is difficult. They are poor. They have to work VERY hard just to "get by".

“Ashli told us the library has about 80 books and 80 kids come to use the library sometimes.  The library only operates when the school is open.  The shocking thing is that the Q’enqo adults don’t care about learning.  Why don’t they care about the library?  We think they think they don’t need to learn.  Peru is a developing country and it has more poor people than rich people.”  ~Elijah and Jun

“Just before we Skyped, Mrs. Renton said that Ashli might be Skyping with us from the top of a mountain!  When we hit video call and first saw Ashli … her hair was blowing because it was SO windy!  She explained that the mountain was called Pinkulluna and it used to hold grain in the 1400s, during the time of the Incas!  She turned her laptop around and showed us the main plaza of a small town called Ollantaytambo.  All of a sudden and our smartboard went pitch black.  We waited for 20 minutes for Ashli to come back online!  Just as the other class started to leave, she was back online.  We yelled “She’s back ONLINE!”  Ashli told us that when she came back to Peru, in May for the training session, only the kids came and not the adults.  They didn’t care to help run the library, but obviously the KIDS couldn’t run it.  So, the Mosqoy students have all agreed to take two weekends a year helping the library.  We thought that was a lot to volunteer for.  To hire a part time librarian would cost about $7.00 a day, (in Canadian money).  It was sad for us because it was our LAST Skype with Ashli and the others from Mosqoy.”  ~Ava and Julia

Maybe is ISN'T that they don't care ... MAYBE they are doing everything they can just to SURVIVE.

“Whahhh!  Yesterday we had our LAST Skype with Ashli.  If we had Mrs. Renton and the blog for the rest of our LIVES we would be MUCH happier!  When we picked up Skype with Ashli, she was on a short mountain called Pinkulluna!  It was VERY windy and when the screen went BLACK we thought she fell OFF the mountain.  Really, though, she was huffing and puffing DOWN the mountain and into the technical store to buy more internet time … and then … into a cafe in town!  When we got to Skype, Ashli told us AWESOME facts!”  ~Natasha and Sophie G.

“Yesterday, we had a Skype with Ashli.  She told us so many good things and some sad things.  One of the things that she told us is that the grown ups didn’t care about the library.  I can’t believe that only the kids like the library.”  ~Zahra

“Ashli was on a mountain when we started our Skype.  Her laptop kept freezing because she didn’t have enough power on her power stick.  We lost her so she ran down the mountain and went to a store to buy more internet time.  Then, she went to a close by cafe … all that in only 20 minutes!  When Ashli was on the mountain, she showed us the village and when she was in the cafe, it was like two different places.  Ashli and the rest of Mosqoy are building a weaving centre in another rural community at the far end of the Andes Mountains!  The adults in Q’enqo are choosing not to help with the library in Q’enqo because they don’t really care.  This past weekend was Ashli’s first time seeing the library complete!” ~Jesse

“Yesterday, we Skyped with Ashli.  For the first few minutes she was on a mountain called Pinkullun, but the internet connection shut down and she had to zoom down the mountain, (in 15 minutes), and she found a cafe with internet connection.  She plugged her computer in.  She told us that they have about 80 books and there are 80 kids that use the library … so that means one book for each!  The Q’enqo kids LOVE the library but when Mosqoy wants to have a meeting to help teach the adults about the library, the adults don’t even show up!  Mosqoy works with nine small communities in Peru.  Q’enqo is the ONLY community with a lake!  It was sad to press the “end call” button because … it was the LAST Skype of the YEAR!”  ~Martin, Henrik and Tormod

We will never TRULY know what it is like to live in this developing country. We will persevere to help bring positive change to the children in Q'enqo.

“On June 13, 2012 we, the Grade Three Bloggers, had our LAST Skype with Ashli as Grade Threes.  Ashli was Skyping with us on a mountain called Pinkalluno and she took us on a tour!  This mountain is near a town called Ollantaytambo.  Ashli told us that Mosqoy works with NINE rural communities, including one called Bom Bom (we don’t know how to spell it).  She is helping to build a small weaving centre there.  Did you know that Bom Bom is the LAST village in the Andes?  Well … it IS!  This might be unbelievable, but the Q’enqo parents and adults don’t care at ALL about the library.  Ashli is going to check the library out again in July.  She thinks she should take a little break and go on a real adventure in the JUNGLE … to EXPLORE!”  ~Kaylee and Mya

“Mrs. Renton wants to be a GENIE and POOF us all to Peru!  We can’t believe that the adults don’t want to help in the library.  Ashli told us that she needs to make another couple of keys for the library because, every time she tries to get in, it is CLOSED.  The leaders only have it unlocked on school days.  Ashli also told us it’s very hard to make sure that no one loses a book, and that it doesn’t go back in the wrong place … so they are trying to figure out what to do next.  They may have to hire people to work there to keep track of the books.  We were sad to hear that we had to press “end call” because we know that it was the LAST call.”  ~Alexia

“We Skyped with Ashli on a mountain called Pinkulluna.  We lost connection.  After, she told us that she had to run down the mountain and tried to get a better connection.  She went to a cafe to get the internet.  There was a sad thing she told us.  The adults don’t care and were not interested in helping in the library.”  ~Rijul

The Mosqoy students will CONTINUE to support the development of independence with the care of the library.

“For a while, we were worried because Ashli was not online and then she came back.  My favourite part was when Ashli was on the mountain and she showed us the view and it was beautiful.  Ashli was amazed about the “Pennies for Peru” and I am proud.  Ashli will be staying in Peru until November.”  ~Zack

“Hint:  Never Skype on a very rocky mountain (bad connection).  Ashli Skyped with us on an Andes Mountain.  She had to run down the steep rocky slanted mountain to get better connection so that we could Skype.” ~Max and Eric

“Don’t press the “end call” button!  Ashli told us that the village she was Skyping from was called Pinkulluna.  She didn’t have much internet connection because there were no plug-ins.  We NEED to tell you that the adults and the teacher don’t bother to keep the library open, so they don’t even care.”  ~Larissa and Thalia

ONE day, we HOPE the children will be INSIDE the library more OFTEN ... instead of OUTSIDE and LONGING to use the beautiful books.

At the end of an AMAZING Skype, it was HARD to push “end call”.  Mrs. Renton even CRIED.  Oh boy … here we GO again … where IS that Kleenex box?!?  First Ross Mannell makes her cry with his beautiful “Roots and Wings” comment … and now THIS!  Although we were all VERY sad knowing that this was our last Skype adventure with Ashli and Mosqoy … our teachers had a surprise for us.  Since huge work was being done in Q’enqo over the Summer months, Mrs. Renton and Mrs. Adamson told us that they would invite us BACK in September to hear about all the good news along with the NEW Grade Threes!  Phew!  THAT was a RELIEF!

Who KNOWS … maybe ONE day SOME of these amazing Grade Threes will grow up to WORK with Mosqoy! Wouldn’t that be AMAZING?

Don’t worry … even though this was our last SKYPE with Ashli for the year … it WON’T be our last POST!  Next week we will be “passing the torch” to the NEW Grade Threes.  We want to write a post for THEM … to share our hopes and dreams for their journey NEXT year!

14 Responses to Excitement AND sadness … our LAST Skype with Ashli.

  1. Saskia, Natasha's Mom

    Hi everyone,

    I was really sad to hear some of your disappointing news and to learn more about how hard life is for them. However, I am confident that what you have helped get started will grow. Mrs Renton, please remember to post or email me when you invite the class to join the new class in September to hear all the news, and I will see if Natasha can make a special visit back to BPS.

    Thanks for sharing all your blogs I enjoy reading them.

    Natasha’s Mom

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Saskia!

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. We are also very sad, too! When we learned that the library wasn’t being used, and the adults weren’t HELPING, we were pretty disappointed. But, we think that they aren’t helping because most of them don’t know HOW to read. We know they have to work and work and work just to get by … just to survive. Life is very challenging for the community in this developing country. You are right … what we have already started WILL probably grow. We have written a post to NEXT year’s Grade Threes … passing the torch to THEM. We are hopeful that the next Grade Threes will continue the journey with Mosqoy and Q’enqo.

      If you e-mail Mrs. Renton, in September, she will have a better idea of time frames for the first Skype with Ashli in the Fall.

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  2. Tannis Emann

    Hi Global Grade 3s!
    Wow I cannot believe you had your last Skype call to Peru for the year! That makes me feel shocked and sad. Shocked because I can remember our first Skype call of the year so clearly, like it was yesterday and sad because I never want this journey with you to end. It has been magical and so very special, and it has changed me as a teacher and as a human being.

    I was so stunned by the contents of this post that I had to read it several times. I am finding it hard to understand how and why the adults in the community of Q’enqo are not stepping up to the plate for the students and the library. I don’t know how to process this information, to be honest. It is confusing because the community came together to construct the space but not to use it. I wonder what is different between the two situations?

    As difficult as this information from Ashli is to hear and to understand I believe the lessons we continue to learn through our work together are powerful, and we all know learning is often not easy, straight forward nor as we planned it to be. It really shows me how complex the concept of global citizenship is and that we need to really work at it and not give up. For me it certainly helps that we are all trying to figure this out together with the amazing support and perspective of Ashli and the Q’ente Society.

    Through this all I reminded of the following things:
    1) It always comes down to relationships. Building and nurturing positive relationships is the key to everything and if we place the bulk of our energy into relationships truly anything is possible. You have developed relationships in a global community through your work with Q’enqo and through your blogging that are rich and positive and bringing about change. I am so proud of you!
    2) Passion fuels passion. I really believe enthusiasm, commitment and energy are contagious. Your passion for the library project and the people of Q’enqo has inspired countless people all around the world. The Mosqoy students also have this same passion and I strongly feel it will spread to the adults in Q’enqo.
    3) The words of Vince Lombardi are so true: “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” You have all become leaders through your hard work and commitment to the Q’enqo library project and the Mosqoy students are leaders too. So much in life is accomplished through hard work and we all know this first hand. We also know that leaders come in all ages and so perhaps we will be surprised who puts forth the hard work to lead the library going forward. I believe it will happen.

    Thanks for sharing yet another beautiful post rich with valuable lessons and one that really makes me think about the world.

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Dear Ms. Emann,

      Thank you SO much for your “extended” comment!!! We were also VERY surprised and stunned by Ashli’s last Skype with us. It was TERRIBLY confusing to know how HARD they worked and how EXCITED the Q’enqo community was when they came together to clean and rebuild the library … and … then to find out that they have NO interest in helping it to run.

      We can ONLY think that there are some BIG reasons why. Maybe the adults have to work really hard doing chores … and that is what is filling their days. We know that this rural community is not rich. That means that they have to work really hard to just to by. Ashli told us that to HIRE someone for the day their wages would be only $7.00 in Canadian funds … for the day. This isn’t a lot of money compared to what we make in Canada … but … she also told us that the cost of living is a LOT less in Peru too. Another reason is that they might be scared because it is NEW to them … they don’t know how to use the library … they might be afraid of ruining the books … but even more than that … most adults don’t know how to read. It might be scary for them.

      We think they just need time. That means we CAN’T give up and say “well, if they aren’t working to help the library run … they are ON their OWN!” Ashli is RIGHT. It is easy to START an NGO … but keeping it going and persevering through the challenges is the HARD part. But … it … IS … worth it!!!

      We have loved this journey with you too, Ms. Emann. Next year, when we are in Grade Four … we will be CHECKING the blog. This is now a BIG part of who we ARE!


      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  3. Jason Graham

    Great site! Reading through your posts. I’m trying to get more staff involved in things like this. I’d like to share your blog with my colleagues

    • Laurie Renton

      Thank you, Jason.

      We have absolutely loved this learning journey. We’ve learned SO many valuable lessons along the way – both happy and sad lessons … some of which many adults don’t have the opportunity to learn. A global initiative is such a powerful way for children to see that they CAN make a difference in the world. Along with that difference making, though, there are the TOUGH lessons about the Cultural Iceberg … and how it is EASY to begin a project … but … the challenge is in keeping it going. Our last few “lessons” have been challenging … but SO worthwhile. Our children are learning how to persevere and NOT give up, even if the road gets a little bumpy along the way! Our next blog post, prior to ending the school year with these awesome Grade Three Bloggers will be one to “Pass the Torch” on to the NEW Grade Threes for September! Thank you SO much for your comment!


  4. Lynn

    Hi Global Grade Threes!

    You should all be proud of the work you have done so far for the children of Peru! It’s like you planted a seed in the form of books and a building and now someone else is going to have to water it to make it grow bigger! I am thankful for the blog Mrs Renton has blessed us all with! She has really given so much to this effort – three cheers for Mrs Renton!!!

    Larissa’s Mom 😉

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Lynn!

      Thank you for your awesome comment! We ARE feeling pretty proud of the work we have done so far! We feel proud because we helped to build a library … and put books on the shelves! There is still a lot of work to be done. We have planted seeds … and now it is time for NEXT year’s Grade Threes AND Mosqoy to continue to “water” the project to make it grow! We really hope that some of the adults in Q’enqo will find a way to begin to help the library to run … and that they get even MORE books on the library shelves.

      Thank you for your compliment, Lynn! Blush! We have all learned SO much on this journey and grown in so many ways. The blog has been a blessing … such an awesome way for us to share our learning and COMPLETELY worth every ounce of effort we have all put into it!!! 🙂

      We hope you continue to check the Battalion Park Library Project … and this blog NEXT year so that you can see how our seeds are growing!

      The Grade Three Bloggers & Mrs. Renton 🙂

      • Lynn Cozens

        Absolutely – we are going to follow this blog and look forward to watching the project grow! I too am hopeful that the adults in the Q’enqo community will start to take an interest in the library. It is difficult for me to think that they are not wanting to be involved but this is a very new thing for everyone and change takes time. May the new grade three class run with this project with just as much enthusiasm as you all have had!

        Larissa’s Mom 🙂

  5. Ross Mannell

    Hola Global Grade 3,

    My apologies for taking a week to respond. I became unexpectedly busy with a school DVD project. I’m now catching up with commenting. Here’s a link to my latest extended comment for you…

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Dear Ross,

      Thank you SO much for your awesome extended comment. We understand why it took you so long … you should NOT apologize because … you are ALWAYS filling someone’s bucket and bringing them sunshine. We are just grateful for ANY time you take to fill our buckets and enrich our learning!

      You are RIGHT. Memory is a POWERFUL tool! Your quote, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”, suits us perfectly. Memory is SO good because you can always remember exciting and special events in your life … but … it also helps to keep the special people and pets alive in your heart after they are gone. When we look back, next year, at ALL the things we did as Grade Three Bloggers, we won’t forget all the adventures and interesting people we have met on this journey. Memory is also going to help us when maybe we are looking back on our lives … a long time in the future … and thinking about our life adventures. It’s funny to be thinking that eight and nine year olds are already creating life adventures … but … that is what we are doing. Every day is an opportunity for new experiences.

      Many of us have memories from when we were tiny, like your peeling knife experience. One of us got into his dad’s razor … and lost several layers of skin on a finger. Needless to say … he never touched the razor AGAIN. But … hopefully he isn’t “scarred for life” … because, when he is seventeen or eighteen, he will need to learn to use one the RIGHT way!!! 😉 Another student tried to cut an apple on her own, when she was about three, and ended up with a cut thumb. Now that she is older, she knows how to use a knife SAFELY.

      You are right … both good AND bad memories can serve as a way of teaching us VALUABLE lessons. We have learned SO many lessons through the Battalion Park Library Project. Some of them have been very HARD lessons. But, we understand. We have helped to refinish a library … and to put books on the shelves. We have even worked hard to build capacity. We love that you said we have “started the wings flapping”. Hopefully the flap of these wings will bring positive change and capacity building to the little library in Q’enqo. We won’t give up. We will continue to encourage next year’s Grade Threes to help bring positive change. Hopefully a child will bring his parents into the library, like you said, one day … and the butterfly wings will CONTINUE to flap … in a POSITIVE butterfly effect.

      We watched your opening title clip from your DVD Project! We loved the graphics on the opening segment you were able to show us. Wow – 10 seconds … 3 hours of work. 12 hour days for 4 days … wow. The colours are STUNNING. The way the colours swirled was so beautiful. You are a perfectionist … and we think the final DVDs must be GORGEOUS. We are glad that you shared your DVD project with us. You are such an amazing role-model for us!

      Take care, Ross! We hope we get to read MORE comments from you on the Grade Three blog NEXT year!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  6. Corinne

    Hello global grade threes,
    Julia told me about your blog so together we read through your adventure of Q’enqo.
    Julia told me that it was the last Skype with Ashi and Geneva. We felt really sad that it was your last chance to talk to them, but we are very proud that your class made a difference in Q’enqo. The library looks beautiful and the kids will have a great opportunity to read all the books. Julia said she would like to do what Ashi and Geneva are doing for Q’enqo. This made a huge difference in her life and how she views the rest of the world. Thank you for this great opportunity for Julia to experience something so great and be part of a community that makes a difference. We will keep reading and watching the new blogs next year to see what is happening in your class.
    Corinne & Julia

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Corinne and Julia!

      Thank you for your awesome comment! I think it’s pretty cool that Julia thinks she would like to do what Ashli and Geneva are doing for Q’enqo! I think this whole experience has made a huge difference in everyone’s lives. Discovering that ANYONE can be a change maker … both big AND small … has been a powerful lesson! We are thrilled to hear that you will keep reading and watching for new blog posts! We know the journey will continue next year and having faithful readers is important!

      Laurie Renton 🙂

  7. Ross Mannell

    Hola Global Grade 3,

    We’ve added to each others buckets during our blogging time together. We’ve also added new memories. Of all the blogs I’ve visited yours has stimulated more extended comments than any other. Will I visit Grade 3 next school year? I hope so. Perhaps I might even see something from what will be the new Grade 4 students.

    A perfectionist? I have been called that before but it’s more to do with continuing my learning journey through life. Since I started video work with schools in 1982 (wow, 30 years), I’ve always looked at ways of improving what I do. The opening title clip was just another step along the way.

    May your learning adventure through your lives never end.

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

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