Weather plays a big role in the lives of agricultural people. Considering that the families we work with in Cusco are almost all small potato farmers, it is therefore no wonder that the weather plays a big role in our projects as well. Sometimes it feels as if we are always looking to the sky when visiting communities to get a sense of the weather to come.
Last year, all classes were suspended one month early due to expected excessive rains caused by El Niño. During the school year, the school schedule changes based on the rainy warm season versus the dry cold season. In our projects, we must also sometimes adapt to the agricultural calendar based on the rainy and dry seasons.
Yesterday, I was in Huadhua for their community assembly and was asked if we could shorten our afternoon project by a half hour during the potato harvest season (May and June) so the children could help their families in the fields. We debated the pros and cons with the parents and decided that it is better to cede 30 minutes three days a week for two months than jeopardize project attendance and the parents’ ownership of the project.
After coming to a consensus on various points such as project schedule, location, sleeping arrangements for our teachers, construction timeline for the classroom they are building us (building had to be paused for the rainy season), etc. we decided to break for a late lunch. In fact, we had to hurry. The clouds on the horizon looked like hail!