From the Field

A day in the life of a Program Coordinator

I’m preparing for my trip to Monte Cristo, Manguita and Cotoca. We will go in a speedboat, and it will be 11 hours on the river Ibare. I hope to be lucky and see many bufeos (freshwater dolphins). Doña Raquel, Rosa and Silvia are a staff of the Municipality of San Andrés, and they will […]

El Sur

When our Project Coordinator in Beni, Kathe, told me in a foreboding at the trip would be 12 hours in a speed boat, I wasn’t worried at all. In fact, I was happy to hear it. I love being on the rivers of the Amazon basin, and had truly enjoyed 15 hour plus trips by […]

Strike Attendance

Teachers went on strike recently in Cusco. I’m not sure what this one was about as I hadn’t heard it announced on the radio as they usually are. I only found out when I pulled into Tucsa at over 4,000 meters above sea level, where we have a long running biblioteca project with the primary […]


It’s always nice to meet up with friends. On Monday I was in Huadhua to kickoff this year’s Biblioteca project there, and had the chance spend the morning with all of the parents and students. As I had not seen everyone together since our project closing in December, I was excited to catch up with […]

The role of parents in education

It is common to hear that a large obstacle to quality education in Peru is that parents care more about their crops and animals than their children’s education. My experience has revolved around this idea over the years and I’ve come to understand that is not the case. For the majority of parents, formal education […]

Critical thinking through play-based learning

Our programs all have a focus on critical thinking and we often use play or project- based learning. The play or project is uniquely contextual. It is based on games, materials, toys, stories, or life experiences that are of those places, not some urban academic centre thousands of miles or continents away. Much of our […]

Las Palmeras Success Story

“A community without a school never moves forward. It’s the school that creates a true community around children and the young.” – Mother, Las Palmeras In 2016 we implemented a brand new project with the community of Las Palmeras. The goal: to create a school from scratch. Las Palmeras is a new community founded only […]

We can make sure that no child is left behind

Yesterday I visited Alma’s partner project– El Manguare in the jungle region of Peru. El Manguare provides early childhood stimulation and first-grade preparation classes to children from the neighbourhood of Belen in Iquitos – one of the most economically impoverished neighbourhoods in Peru. In the visit I quickly learned that the living conditions are extremely […]

Teacher Training

Though I tend to focus on our work and adventures in the communities high in the mountains or deep in the jungle, a core aspect of everything we do happens in the much more accessible urban centers: teacher training. In 2016, we hired and trained 30 teachers to implement innovative curriculums focused on critical and […]

Why we implement student portfolios

One of the most common complaints I hear in schools is that the parents aren’t involved. For the most part, it’s true – the parents tend to focus more on farming and their animals more than their children’s education. That’s why in our projects we implement student portfolios. Each month our teachers compile digital portfolios […]

A hail storm in Karhuacalla

  I was in Karhuacalla yesterday for our final dia de logro (achievement day) with the parents of Karhuacalla, where we have a primary school biblioteca project. The students had finished presenting what they had learned throughout the year, and we were reviewing the last four of the 28 digital portfolios that we create for […]

Flea Polluters

Bolivia’s Environmental situation has been deteriorating in the last decade on an alarming and uncontrollable scale. As we are not a big industrial country yet and don’t have a big population; you may find it rather concerning to face facts that Bolivia leads the Deforestation Per- Capita index in the world, being a big country […]

Supporting the 4% – Manos Unidas

Only 4% of children with special needs in Cusco receive formal education. Alma supports Manos Unidas because they are working to change this statistic every day. Started in 2008, they are the first non-profit education centre for children with special needs. As my sister had special needs, this cause has always been very close to […]

Be where your feet are

It’s been 23 project visits (and 10 flights) in 12 days. Because our projects are all in remote locations we have had long, long drives but those drives have given us the opportunity to have in-depth discussions about development work, education and the specifics of each project. Between the stimulating conversation and the emotional visits […]

Alan’s trip to the Bolivian jungle

An adventurous drive in the Bolivian jungle. On our first day here we set out from Trinidad at 4AM in two pick-up trucks along a winding dirt road/path (they don’t call it a road, rather a “camino”) winding through the jungle for 140 km. It is so rough that the trip takes 6 hours. It […]

Alan’s first trip to Iquitos

I have for a long time been fascinated with the jungle in general and Iquitos in particular. One of my favourite books “One river” by Wade Davis deals with the upper Amazon area and recently I read “Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man” a book that investigates colonialization, terror and healing in that part of […]


I’ve always enjoyed shopping in the open air food markets. By shopping there you are buying local, supporting small businesses, and sometimes you even get to know the person who produces your food personally. On a recent trip to Loreto, I was sharing a small boat with a woman who had hoped to buy watermelon […]

River Water

I’ve spent most of this last month in the Amazon, in both Peru and Bolivia. Each trip shared the common jungle themes that I always encounter on my visits: heat, mosquitos, and long rides to the communities. This month, however, I encountered something new in both countries. I was spending the night in San Jose […]

Achievement Day in Tuksa

Three times a year our students present what they’ve been up to in our projects to their parents during the school’s “Achievement Day”. The first round of Achievement Days passed recently and in Tuksa, it went as great as we hoped! Students in Tuksa engaged their parents with their presentations and live demonstrations of activities […]

Michael Jordan at Manos Unidas!

Ok, maybe this is not the 6 ‘ ft tall basketball player you know but, really, his name is Michael Jordan – and he is the FIRST Manos Unidas  student working in a Cusco hotel.  When you arrive at Ninos Hotel, you will be greeted by Michael. He will open the door, help you carry in your luggage and lead […]