It is no secret that all of our projects require a lot from the communities and parents we work with. We only work with communities who are willing to take an active role in the project in order to ensure strong impact and long-term viability. By making this a core principle of Alma projects, we have been able to create strong relationships and partnerships with the parents and communities we work with.
A few weeks ago Octavio and I were passing through Huathua Laguna, where we have a new Biblioteca project, on our way to a meeting in Huadhua where we have a longer running project. Just after passing the Huathua Laguna school, a man flagged us down on the road. We recognized him from the community meetings but, because we are new in the community, did not yet know him beyond that. We figured he wanted a ride out towards his alpaca grazing fields.
We stopped and signalled for him to hop into the truck, but we waved away our offer and approached the window.
“How are you doing, profes (many parents call us “profe” short for professor)?” he asked in Quechua. “I just want to make sure we have everything ready for the project. We have the classroom ready with new windows and we designated a room for the teachers. We have our schedule set to cook the school lunches and everyone signed a community act agreeing to the project timeline. Is there anything else that needs to get done before the project starts?”
These are the kinds of conversations that make Alma projects special: true community involvement and ownership of projects. I knew then that we would have a good first year in Huathua Laguna!