browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Making the World a Better Place … One ALPACA at a TIME!

Posted by on February 20, 2013

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

– Nelson Henderson


You CAN’T help but fall in LOVE with these amazing creatures when you see them! 
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by cjarmk

If you can make life a little easier with just One HEN … then … why not TWO alpacas! One could be called Battalion. The other? PARK! All kidding aside … the Battalion Hawk Bloggers are beginning a NEW journey with Mosqoy! We are SUPER excited about this adventure! We have the opportunity to help Mosqoy bring not ONE but TWO alpacas to a rural weaving village in Peru! We are SUPER excited about continuing our learning with Ashli!

WHAT? WAIT a minute … we CAN’T help Mosqoy bring two alpacas to Cancha Cancha? Why NOT? We’ve already got them NAMED!!! Well, the long and the short of it is … we are learning about CAPACITY building as a NEW group of Grade Threes to the Peru Project. What does THAT mean? Basically, it means that there is a LOT more to “handing over” alpacas to a weaving community than just the leg work to purchase them and “drop them off”! It means “figuring out” who gets to look after them and make sure they are fed. It means deciding WHO gets to shear them and use the WOOL. Capacity building means that there is SO much more than just “planting the tree” or “giving an alpaca”. A LOT of hard work has to go into making sure the community is “ready” for this kind of work and can be independent and successful in the long run. LAST year’s Grade Threes learned these tough lessons with the LIBRARY project … we are NEW to this. Okay … we GET it. We TOTALLY understand. BEAUTIFUL. We LOVE this learning journey … EVEN when the lessons are HARD! BRING it ON! We are UP for the challenge! After all … what’s that old saying? When the going gets TOUGH … the TOUGH get GOING!


What’s NOT to love about these ADORABLE and VALUABLE alpacas?
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by karlnorling

Before you get TOO sad … NEVER fear! Ashli has MORE suggestions up her sleeves! Read on to find out how EACH of us feels about the NEW possibilities we have for learning how to be the best FOR the world:

“Oh BOY! A new project! I can’t WAIT! I wonder what it will be! Last year, and the year before that, we worked on a project that included building, books, fundraising and one important thing: HOPE! This year, we’ve decided to do something different as in it does not include building. My thought of a possibility is to collect warm clothes for the children and the babies. I think that is important because what would you feel like if you had thin clothes and sandals in the mountains? Do you agree?” ~AJ

“When we were talking about possibilities for Peru to help the people in Peru, I thought to myself what should I pick? Then I decided that I wanted to help by continuing to send books to the library in Q’enqo because then the children in Q’enqo would have a variety of books to read. Also, the kids in Q’enqo can learn a lot from the books … even to read and write! I don’t think there is a challenge with doing this. I think it is important because then there is lots and lots of books for the children to learn from. I wonder if the one that I chose will be the one that we do?” ~Chelsea

“I would choose to fund-raise for a part-time librarian for the Library Project in Q’enqo because if there is nobody to do it then the children won’t be able to sign out a single book. I think they would be very disappointed. Also, I thought … if you were them … you would be disappointed that you wouldn’t be able to borrow a book from the library. A librarian’s job is a very important job.” ~Joyce

The Battalion Park Library Project was a VERY exciting learning journey. The work in Q'enqo CONTINUES ... they NEED more books!

The Battalion Park Library Project was a VERY exciting learning journey. The work in Q’enqo CONTINUES … they NEED more books!

“I would choose to donate beginner books for kids and youth in Peru because it will help them to learn by looking in the dictionary for new words. Books will help them learn better at school. Also, if they couldn’t read, it would be hard when they are adults. As they grow bigger, their reading skills will grow too! Then they can get a good job.” ~Lauren

“Today in class we were talking about things to make life easier in Peru. My favourite possibility was to bring more books to the library because you need to know how to read if you want to get a job. Do you want to get a job? Books also give you free entertainment! That’s why I like that possibility.” ~Tre

“Hmm … I wonder which one I’m going to do? Collect warm clothes for the children and the babies in the communities or collect art and math supplies for children of our weaving cooperatives? I’d like to do the clothes for children thing. I choose that  because I think it is important to stay warm so we do not die or stuff like that. Also, then they don’t have to walk to school in car tire sandals for four hours to five hours. If they have the right equipment they won’t be so cold anymore.” ~Danny

“I think collecting warm clothes for children and babies in the communities is the right one because it helps the babies and the kids for warmth. I think it would be important because it would help the kids and the babies.” ~Nick

They NEED warm clothing because they live in the Andes Mountains and it gets VERY cold there. OFTEN they wear sandals all year round ... even in the FREEZING cold weather.

They NEED warm clothing because they live in the Andes Mountains and it gets VERY cold there. OFTEN they wear sandals all year round … even in the FREEZING cold weather.

“I would like to collect art and math supplies for children because if you don’t know math then you can’t add or subtract. If you can’t add or subtract yo won’t be able to pay the amount of money you need to pay. If you don’t know math then you can’t go to college, university or get a job. Art is important because it’s something that’s fun and you can be creative and mix colours and do drawings. You can make paper airplanes, robots and other stuff.” ~Amro

“Click, clack! Shoes pattered against the floor as we walked into the classroom. Mrs. Renton had Ashli’s ideas up for Peru. My favourite one was getting a part-time librarian for the library. Why I think it’s important is because if the children did not have a librarian then books could be ruined and the kids would not have anybody to read them a story to learn about what it was like in the past! It’s important to have a librarian. Librarians RULE! I think I’ve said what I wanted to say! Do you agree?” ~Jayden

These rural Peruvian weaving villages have to work hard EVERY day in order to make ends meet. And, yet, they are some of the friendliest and happiest people you could EVER meet.

These rural Peruvian weaving villages have to work hard EVERY day in order to make ends meet. And, yet, they are some of the friendliest and happiest people you could EVER meet.

“I would like to help the kids in Peru with BOOKS! I like the kids in Peru. I want to see the kids read and write and learn! The books teach you how to write and learn too. Books are important!” ~Dimitri

“Hmm … what would I choose? Maybe to continue sending books, but I don’t want to continue because I want to start our own thing! Let me think … collect beginner English books is the same, so I will cross it off. I know … something good: collect warm clothing so the children and babies in the communities wouldn’t be cold. The people wear car tire sandals … their TOES might freeze! They are living in the mountains. The mountains are colder. I think I would choose to collect warm clothing!” ~James

“Which one should I chose? I think I’ll choose to put more books in the LIBRARY! I want to put more books there because there are very few books in the library. There are only 42 books in the library. You probably have more books than that in your house! The reason I think putting more books in the library is important is because if a child took as many books as he or she can and as he or she was walking out and saw ANOTHER book he or she really wanted he or she could come back to return the other books and take a new one … the one they REALLY wanted could be taken out! ” ~Tommy

“I suggest that we should collect warm clothes for the children and babies in the communities. That’s why I would choose it … because it would keep them warm in the winter!” ~Elijah

Often, the children in these rural communities walk for MILES to get to school and back ... and THEN they do chores to help their families.

Often, the children in these rural communities walk for MILES to get to school and back … and THEN they do chores to help their families.

“I think that we should give more books because it will teach people to read and they can also help people teach so they can work. I think that we should give more books to Peru. Do you like to read books? They can teach you a LOT of things.” ~Chris P

“I think that Peru should get more books. I  would like to give the people in Peru more books for the library so the children in Q’enqo can get a good job and so they can get wealthy. And, so they have more books to choose from. They can also get the books they want so they can write and learn.” ~Tyler

“I think my favourite idea is giving art and math supplies to schools because I think it should be our learning journey this year. But, I really like the idea of continuing the “Library Project” too! My favourite of these is giving art and math supplies to schools. The reason I thought it should be this is that art and math are very important so I thought it should be art and math supplies.” ~Christopher

“If you could choose one way to help children in Peru … what would it be? Hmmm … that’s a hard question but the one I’ll have to choose is … drum roll please … nah, nah, NAH! Collecting school supplies for schools in some weaving villages Mosqoy supports!!! I thought that a lot of the other options included the Library Project that the Grade Threes did last year. So, my thoughts were, why give them something they use after learning, if we can give them something to help them learn? I wonder what you would choose? I just have ONE wish … pick WISELY!” ~Ben

“I would like to help kids by giving them more books for the Library Project, because I think that more books should be in the library because more kids need to learn. They learn more by school and books. I also think that it is important to have books. If you didn’t know how to read you won’t know how to read a stop sign and you could crash into someone. Kids in Peru need to have an education just like us. I wonder what kinds of books they have. Books also teach you how to read and write. Books are very important to children and adults. I also like books. Do you?” ~Rayann

No matter WHAT we decide to work toward we KNOW it will be an INCREDIBLE learning journey with Ashli!

No matter WHAT we decide to work toward we KNOW it will be an INCREDIBLE learning journey with Ashli!

“Today we were talking about what we should do for Peru … but … before I start telling you about it … I want to hear what YOU think! The five, MAYBE six, choices are … collect warm clothes for children and babies in the communities, collect beginner English books for children and youth in the communities, as well as for the Mosqoy house, continue sending more books to our library project in Q’enqo, (which is continuing and succeeding, very slowly!), fundraising for a part-time librarian for our library project in Q’enqo, (very needed), and collecting math and art supplies for children in the weaving cooperatives. Now … I’ll leave YOU to decide that! I think I would choose fundraising for a part-time librarian because … if you know ME, I LOVE trying new things!” ~Rebecca

The BALL is rolling. Stay tuned. There are FOUR other classes of Grade Threes that we work with who ALSO have to help us decide WHICH journey we will embark on with Ashli and her work in Peru. Soon, we will be SKPYING with Ashli … asking some important questions … learning a little MORE … and then we will ANNOUNCE our WORK for the year!

We wonder:

  • Which of these suggestions would YOU have chosen? WHY?
  • Have you had to learn about Capacity Building the HARD way? We’d LOVE to hear your story!

13 Responses to Making the World a Better Place … One ALPACA at a TIME!

  1. Theresa

    I would have chosen the books or warm clothes but I love the Alpacas! If you are ever sending books down there though let me know, I have MANY wonderful children’s books and would be very happy to send a box to them!

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Theresa!

      Thank you SO much for leaving a comment for us! I think the majority of us love the idea of more books or helping the Q’enqo library/community in some way … although many of us are struck by the importance of warm clothing for these children living in the Andes Mountains! We LOVE your offer for children’s books … sending them off to Peru can be expensive … but … worth it, we think! I will be in touch, after I’ve had the chance to touch base with Ashli to see how she would like us to proceed with this amazing offer! Thank you SO much for helping us learn to be the best for the world!

      Laurie 🙂

  2. Joyce

    Hi Mrs. Renton and class,

    I think that the Alpacas on the blog were really cute. The one on the top of the page looks like it is smiling. If I could see one in real life I would be very amazed. I might even take a photo of it, if I can.

    The playground in Peru look really old and if we could raise money to Peru maybe they can have a nice playground to play on. I also know that the kids in Peru need to walk four hours just to go to school and the teachers might not be lucky to get to school. They always wear rubber saddles and even going up the mountains same with the kids!


    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Joyce!

      What a LOVELY surprise to see your comment on the latest post! I agree with you. I absolutely LOVE that first picture of the alpaca. They are SO adorable. It actually makes me want to learn more about alpacas because I don’t know much at all about them! I have a LOT of “I wonders” about them … like, how are they used in Peru, what do they eat, and how often do you have to shear them for their wool? I wonder how long they live for too!

      I agree. The playground in Q’enqo is very run-down. We have definitely talked about trying to do something about that playground before. I think the community has to work so hard, and the children have so many chores to do before and after school, that time for the playground is very limited. I definitely think that this is something we could talk to Ashli about when we Skype with her next time, though … maybe there IS a way for us to bring some safe, creative fun back to the playground!

      I can’t imagine wearing sandals through our winters in Calgary … and I know that it gets VERY cold in the Andes mountains, where these weaving villages are. I don’t know how they manage to walk through the cold with bare skin showing … it is what they are used to … we would find it VERY challenging. Have you ever seen pictures of those rubber car tire sandals?

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

      • Joyce

        Hi Mrs. Renton,

        I showed my family the Alpaca picture on the blog and they liked it. I think that the Alpacas would be fun to pet because they are pretty furry and they are sure cute! I just wonder, how do you know when Alpacas likes you are not? I might just have to research that! I just like to research stuff about Alpacas, like what do they eat? Or WHERE do they sleep? I just have so many questions that even people might not be able to answer them all!!!

        Wait where was I? Oh yes, did you know why Alpacas are used in Peru? If you want to know read this: Alpacas are used in Peru because the Peru people need the wool from the Alpacas to make clothing or anything else. The clothing is for the children and also for the parents. 😉
        Joyce, (one battalion hawk blogger)

  3. Ross Mannell

    Hello Battalion Hawk Bloggers,

    It has been some time since I last left a comment on your blog. I can see you you have great ideas afoot and already have a comment suggesting an option. As it seems always to be, my comment was too long so I have added a extended comment for you. Here is the link…

    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  4. The Battalion Hawk Bloggers

    Hi Ross!

    Thank you for your amazing comment, Ross! We really liked the pictures you created and put into your reply to us! We love how you let students and schools use the pictures you create because it shows how open you are to the world … and shows your generosity!

    The picture, at the end with the kids in front of the globe, was really creative. We wondered if you meant to put Canada in the background … since we are from Canada … or whether that was a happy coincidence! Either way, we LOVE it!

    It was VERY tough to decide which one we were going to do to help Mosqoy with their work in Peru … because we didn’t all agree on just one. Many of us wanted to help with Q’enqo in SOME way, (the library, a librarian, books, supplies for math and art, etc.), but … people also really wanted to do warm clothing. Because there are FOUR other Grade Three classes involved in this project we had to have a vote. Altogether, we agreed to vote because … after all … majority rules. It’s only fair.

    All of the choices are important choices. None of us would like to walk, year round, even in FREEZING weather, in sandals without warm clothing. Some were more “doable” from our end than others. For example, it would cost a lot of money to send all the donated warm clothing to Peru … and it takes a L-O-N-G time to get there too! (hint: like the surprise in the SNAIL mail for YOU!!!) 😉

    In the end, the majority of students wanted to continue helping the library in Q’enqo … and there are LOTS of ways to do that! There are still Mosqoy students who are volunteering time to help the community learn to sign books out and take care of them … so … we would like to fund-raise for books and supplies. We like that because it captures two options … in one … and maybe eventually three because there might be enough left over for that part-time librarian!

    Goals are important! Guess what WE did on Friday? We had our FIRST fund-raiser. We got to wear hats and make a donation, if we wanted to. Some of us did chores, brought in birthday money, and even had our families help by making a donation! In the end … GUESS how much we raised! $830.45! We know that our Canadian dollar goes MUCH further in Peru because of all the work our school has done over the past couple of years. But, we wanted to figure out exactly HOW much further! We discovered that it turns out that one Canadian dollar is worth 2.52 Nuevo Sol … that’s AMAZING! We found a GREAT little currency calculator to help us figure out EXACTLY how much it would be:

    We COULDN’T believe our EYES when we saw that $830.45 is worth $2099.97! Wow!

    We really love the quote at the end of your comment! Walking alone, the journey is hard but together we can achieve greatness. It is true – it is amazing to see what you can accomplish when you work TOGETHER!

    Thank you, Ross, for ALWAYS making us think! We sure hope that parcel gets there SOON!

    The Battalion Hawk Bloggers 🙂

    • Ross Mannell

      Hello Battalion Hawk Bloggers,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The world map background was created for you. To make it, I looked at Google Earth after positioning it to show North America. I then drew the map using Photoshop.

      The kids in the picture were from a photograph taken on a school camp. Again using photoshop, I selected and deleted the background. Using Lightness and Contrast adjustments, I turned the kids from a colour photograph into a silhouette.

      Here is a link to a quick post showing the parts of the graphic. You can click on to enlarge the graphics then drag them to your desktop to use.

      Decisions are often hard to make when each option is good. I like the use of a democratic vote and how you considered the difficulties with some options. 🙂

      Your fund raiser is brilliant! $830.45 is an amazing total sounding even better when converted to 2099.97 Nuevo Sol. My limited Spanish skills tell me this means New Sun. What a great name for a currency. 🙂

      Each postal day I have been checking for the parcel. I think it took around six weeks for you to receive the one I sent you so it should come soon. I will let yo know when it arrives.

      The quote at the end was just something I made up. It’s something I believe is true. It’s the idea I had when I made the graphic for your post.


      • The Battalion Hawk Bloggers

        Hi Ross!

        We love that you decided to make that graphic for us! It made us feel special … you do SO many nice things for us! We really appreciate that you take the time to explain HOW you’ve done the amazing things with pictures that you do. With all the work you’ve been doing converting your old film and photos to your iPhoto library … we wonder have you found any photos that you’ve forgotten about … and … when you found them, they are like “long lost friends”? Meaning, it brings back a special, long forgotten memory? We would LOVE to hear about one of those, if you’ve had an experience like that.

        We wonder why they would call the Peruvian currency New Sun, (Nuevo Sol). We think it’s a really neat name for money! We didn’t know that Nuevo Sol stood for New Sun … look … you’ve taught us something ELSE! We wonder if it really means that we would have that much money in Nuevo Sol … or … if it costs a lot more Nuevo Sol to buy stuff in Peru. Money can be SO confusing. We thought maybe a $1.00 chocolate bar HERE might cost maybe 50 Nuevo Sol in Peru. Sometimes it’s hard to understand.

        Walking alone, the journey is hard but together we can achieve greatness.

        Our class LOVES your quote … we are really impressed that you made it up on your own. One of our Battalion Hawk Bloggers, Tommy, had the idea to put your quote up on our classroom wall because Mrs. Renton collects special quotes, like yours, and puts them on the wall beside her desk. It makes us really HAPPY to see one of YOUR quotes on the wall of the classroom TOO!

        We hope that the parcel gets to you SOON … we are excited to see what you think! Snail mail can take SUCH a very long time … especially when it has to travel to another continent! It’s almost as if a REAL snail must be delivering that package!!!

        Thank you, Ross!

        The Battalion Hawk Bloggers 🙂

        • Ross Mannell

          Hello again Battalion Hawk Bloggers,

          My answer was a little too long and added some graphics so what has become a comment on a comment on a comment on a post is at…

          @RossMannell 🙂

          • The Battalion Hawk Bloggers

            Hi Ross!

            Thanks, again, for another awesome comment! We really LOVED the way you shared your family photos with us and thought it was really neat when you explained that that was your favourite part of going through all your old pictures. Finding photos of people no longer with us DOES bring back awesome memories … even if you don’t know them personally. Family history is important because it connects you with your past! We can’t believe you’ve converted 38 000 photos to iPhoto! Wow. How long did that TAKE you? Gosh … you are DEFINITELY a man with a MISSION!

            It kind of reminds SOME of us of getting to go through our BABY boxes … we can see pictures, and see the clothes we used to wear that we even get to put on our stuffies now sometimes! Sometimes, we get to look at our baby books … and see things we knew nothing about … but it gives us clues to what we were like when we were TINY … or even CLUES to what happened on the night we came HOME from the hospital. One of us even has a SPEEDING ticket in our baby book. WHY, you ask? Well … one of the Battalion Hawk Blogger’s dads was SO excited to get him home, (or maybe he was bawling his eyes out … and the noise was UNBEARABLE), so he got caught for speeding!!! 😉

            It’s funny … we aren’t very old … and we don’t have the personal memories that you or Mrs. Renton would have … so many of our memories come from our families, our baby treasures and baby albums … but we’ve SURE had a GREAT time with this post just SHARING some of our memories! You should have seen the SMILES on our faces as we shared our special stories with classmate!

            We liked the negative and positive photos you shared with us because they were opposites. We talked about the old cameras. Some of us have seen the cameras that use film but most of us have NOT! One of the Battalion Hawk Bloggers, Danny, has a family friend who has a big collection of old cameras … his collection is full of cameras from old to new. He thinks the coolest one is really tall, and wide. He has one of the first cameras ever made. Some of us think we even kind of remember polariod cameras. Mrs. Renton has some negatives in her basement … and she has promised to bring some in so that we can see what they look like.

            We thought it was cool that Nuevo Sol meant New Sun and that the Inti was the name of a sun God … so, really it meant new Inti! Our class really liked the picture of the Inti bill … it’s funny that it was worth LESS than probably the paper it was printed on … kind of like our penny!!! We are getting rid of our pennies TOO! Mrs. Renton is pretty broken up about THAT because she has a song she likes to teach about trading coins in for different amounts! It kind of goes like this:

            Five pennies, trade a nickel
            Two nickels, trade a dime,
            Two dimes and a nickel, trade a quarter every time!
            Four quarters, trade a dollar,
            Now that is quite a LOT,
            A LOONIE in my POCKET is exactly what I’ve GOT!

            She thinks that WE should come up with a NEW version so that she is not QUITE so heart-broken!!!
            We see YOUR quotes every day upon our classroom wall … we give you credit for your quotes by putting your name underneath! It feels good to see your quotes on the wall. We had a talk about copying other people’s ideas … it’s NEVER a good idea. We even talked about a lawsuit between Apple and Samsung … for “corners” on their devices!

            Snail mail IS slow! But … we LOVE it! Some of our most favourite and valuable MEMORIES have come through snail mail! Email is great for messages and talking to people across the world. It is usually instant … and it doesn’t cost SO much. Snail mail, on the other hand, you can actually send obsidian SAMPLES … and koala PUPPETS … instead of just sending a picture or a link!!! We love them both for DIFFERENT reasons! Some of the most EXCITEMENT we’ve HAD in this classroom has revolved around our snail mail SURPRISES!

            This was a FUN one, Ross! Thank you!

            The Battalion Hawk Bloggers 🙂

        • Ross Mannell

          Hello Battalion Hawk Bloggers,

          One of the things I like most about our encounters is the quality of not only your posts but also the comments you leave. They seem to so often start me thinking about more to share. Here is the reply to your above comment…


          • The Battalion Hawk Bloggers

            Hi Ross!

            You’ll never guess what WE did this morning! We played “five questions”. It’s kind of like 20 questions … only we have so much going on today that we shortened it to FIVE questions!!! Nobody got it! So, Mrs. Renton opened up Twitter and we had to guess what it was she was talking about. We saw YOUR tweet right away … and when we saw “Here is a photo I think your class will be glad to know about.”, we were SO excited. Right then, we knew RIGHT away, that you had received our package. It made our hearts jump for JOY. We were SO worried that it was going to be lost that LAST week we even talked about how we would send a NEW package … by AIR … if it didn’t show up by the end of April. What a RELIEF!!! We can’t wait to read your post!!!

            Thank you for ANOTHER great extended comment on a comment for a comment!!! We are glad that you talked about how long each photo takes to upload. It’s ironic … because we are learning about TIME right now!!! We know 1 minute 40 seconds equals 100 seconds. It’s GREAT mental math for us … so we’ve talked about time comparisons. For example … we know that you could get about SEVEN photos done while we are out for RECESS!!! That means you could get about THIRTY photos done while we’re out for LUNCH!!! It would be long hard work to do all that scanning and uploading. We can understand why you have to do it over several days and weeks.

            We really enjoy the pictures you share with us. The picture with your mom and brother was really cute. We don’t have tons of memories from when we were little either … but … but it is fun to look back and see the crazy things our parents dressed us in … or did to our hair … and hear the stories about when we were tiny. Some of us have even started our very OWN scrapbooks to remember special events!

            One of us just came back from Costa Rica. He came back with five colones … which is worth about one quarter of a cent (he thinks). Mrs. Renton told us about the old Canadian one and two dollar bills. We don’t have those anymore. Instead we have the coins. We love seeing money from around the world and learning about how it compares. It’s confusing though! You must have quite an AMAZING coin collection!

            Thank you, Ross! We can’t WAIT to read your next blog post!!!

            The Battalion Hawk Bloggers 🙂

Leave a Reply to The Battalion Hawk Bloggers Cancel reply