From the Field


When the Fox Cries NEW

It’s rainy season here in Cusco, and that means if you haven’t planted your wheat, barley, or potatoes yet (depending on the altitude of your community), you are late! These mountains are volatile, and you never know when the rains will suddenly stop and you’ve missed your chance at a strong harvest. Actually, you almost […]


Fish! NEW

Wherever two ecosystems meet, there will be life. So it is where the black waters of the Juanache River meet the muddy waters of the large Ucayali. At that bend, I often see the pink river dolphins breaching for air while fishing, and we often end up with one or two fish in our peque-peque […]


Jungle Animals

I was in the Peruvian Amazon recently to attend the final “achievement days” with the students, teachers, parents, and community members of our projects along the Ucayali River. It was the beginning of the rainy season and the river was already rising quickly, but was still not high enough to get into the community of […]


Filomena blog

We have been working in Tucsa for four years. Filomena started attending our project three years ago, although she was still in pre-school, and she has always made her presence felt. All of our teachers remember Filomena because she is the student who will not sit down; who cannot stay on task; who, now that […]


Las Palmeras

The road to Las Palmeras is almost always wet and often impassable. This year we got lucky, it was dry and we arrived late in the evening, had a sandwich and fell asleep in our tents. I was awakened by men yelling “aqua aqua”! Their well had gone dry and they had been drilling around […]


Alan’s Road Trip

We set out from Trini at 3 AM in a pickup truck owned by the Municipality. Our group for this road trip is our project manager Kathe, our program director Ian, and two staff people from the Municipality – Raquel and the driver “El Chino”. One of the reasons we have had success here is […]


Day 3 – Cotoca and Manguita

I had thought that sleeping in the jungle would be restful. I was wrong. It’s noisy. We slept on the floor of the school room in Manguita and between the insect noises, the roosters crowing (funny, I didn’t notice them during the day but heard them all night), the pigs and horses rooting around outside […]


Sleepless in Bolivia

It’s day one in Bolivia and already I feel like I’m in one of those Garcia Marguez novels where time stops and sleep doesn’t necessarily happen. My one and only day in Lima started at 1AM when I arrived but my taxi driver didn’t (he had fallen asleep in his car at the airport parking […]


There are difficulties, but we are getting there

I left at dawn towards the province of Canchi – Sicuani district of Combapata to the community of Tucsa. Tucsa is a community far away from the city where car traffic is almost unheard of. But for the Alma Foundation it is not impossible to reach these places as we are always eager to bring […]


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 […]


Puchero

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 […]