15 March 2005

To all our Q’ewar
Friends! Some exciting news to pass on to you! Instead of a brief
sketch of the Q’ewar women this mid-month, I want to share with you the
news of the opening of Wawa Munakuy (Wawa Moo-NA-coo-ee), which in the
Quechua language means “giving love to the children”. This is the new
Waldorf inspired Kindergarten sponsored and supported by the Q’ewar
Project in the Village of Andahuaylillas.
Señora Lourdes Jibaja, a
Waldorf teacher of 18 years teaching experience and most recently with
the Lima Waldorf School, opened the doors to a 2 room schoolhouse in
the Village on Wednesday, March 9th at 9am. Besides the mothers of the
children, visitors included two assistants to the Mayor and a local
school Director with two of her teachers.
The Director of the Q’ewar Project, Señor Julio Herrera, a former
Waldorf teacher himself, gave the introductory speech, including a few
words about the first Waldorf School in Germany opened in the early
part of the 20th century. Like the first Waldorf School, Wawa Munakuy
will serve very poor children who have no access to high quality
education. Because of this and the culture of poverty in which they
live, these children lack basic social skills, self-esteem and
rudimentary hygiene. Sra. Lourdes will be addressing all of these
issues thru the pedagogical principles of a Waldorf Kindergarten.
After a short introduction, a circle (very tight I must say, what with
all the visitors) was made and Lourdes sang a song as the children
walked around the circle following the gestures that went along with
the song: Waking up, washing faces, etc. Then the children sat back
down on the woolen textiles and one little boy lit the candle on the
Festival Table. As Sra. Lourdes explained to the visitors later, the
items placed on the table have great significance thru color and the
items themselves. For example, this is the time before Easter as well
as the time of harvesting maize (corn) – a staple crop here. So, along
with the candle, everything on the table would remind one of the
season. This Festival Table will change in character and color each
month, reflecting the seasons and festivals of the year.

After a short verse, Sra. Lourdes told a story to the eager little
ones. Sra. Jesusa, her assistant in the work, moved the animal figures
on another table as the story proceeded. So, with colored veils and
gauze to represent the banks and a stream over which a beautifully
hand-crafted stick bridge was put, the gathered audience listened to
the story we would know as “Billy Goat Gruff”. In the Peruvian story,
there were three goats and a puma!

When the story was over,
all applauded and the children were led into the second room where 2
little play houses had been constructed with poles and cloths. There on
the earthen floor which was covered in plastic on top of which textiles
were laid, the children played. In the front room, while soda crackers
and orange drink were served, Sra. Lourdes explained the basic meaning
behind what the visitors had seen this morning, and the thrust of the
Waldorf pedagogy for these children.

The school Director who
was present then gave an impromptu speech about how wonderful this new
initiative was and its important effects on the lives of the children
who will attend. She invited Sra. Lourdes to speak about Waldorf
principles of education to a convocation of school teachers from the
whole Village of Andahuaylillas which would be held on Friday, March

The inauguration of the new school ended with thanks
and applause all around. By way of added information, Wawa Munakuy has
taken in not only the children of the Q’ewar Project women, but also
some of the Village children. The tuition for these families is
equivalent to a little less than $7 per month. The tuition for the
Q’ewar Project families is just over $3 per month. The Q’ewar Project
will underwrite all expenses not covered by the tuition.

of us at the Q’ewar Project want to give special thanks to the Prayer
Circle in Kimberton, PA for their generous donations which were key to
the setting up of the new school – paying for rent, equipment and the
support of Sra. Lourdes who is giving her life and expertise freely to
this initiative.

Carmen, for the Q’ewar Project

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