Back in the saddle and back up on the Soapbox

                                                                                                                                                                                   by H Mac Wooten

Hola Y’all

It’s been a couple months since I’ve given you an update or my  2 cents worth (and with the economy in its current shape …. 2 cents isn’t worth diddly.  Please recognize that I didn’t use the phrase diddly “squat” !   However, for future reference in this post, we’ll substitute the word squat for the word mud.

Just a few short words and I’ll try to get some real posts out soon.

We continue to work with teachers here.  Our series of webinars this summer (winter here in the southern hemisphere) was very successful.  And additionally, WE learned a lot! Unfortunately one of the things we learned was that the Department of Education here in the Ancash area failed to meet some of our expectations.  To put it nicely …. They dropped the ball.  However, things came together at the last minute and our friends at Huascaran School and their General Director Juan Espejo Bossio graciously provided us with a place to present our webinars and a special thanks to all of the Colegio Huascaran staff that helped us, especially Tania Sanchez who kept us online with the presenters from the Organization of American States / ITEN and The International Reading Association.  I’d also like to thank the Academy, Columbia Pictures, my Director Mr. Speilberg, my agent Reuben, my mom who made me take tuba lessons an ….. never mind.  Thanks to all who worked so diligently and made the webinars possible.

Webinar July Session

OK   now the other reason I haven’t posted anything lately:  I’ve been working with and learning from a few of the locals as we’ve been doing some building projects here.  I have to admit that often I’m just dismayed with some of them and their inability to think ahead even a few minutes into the future. 

One example is: (and I’ll have to set the scene); We’re constructing a building with adobe block.  Person (A) is preparing the mud.  Person (B) is delivering the mud to Person (C) who is placing the mud and setting the adobe blocks.  Persons (A & B) wait while Person (C) empties the bucket of mud one handful at a time and when he has no more mud, Person (C) immediately starts hollering for more mud at which point Person (B) runs to get another bucket.  Each of these three workers are constantly waiting on each other.  Instead of utilizing two buckets, emptying the bucket of mud and going to retrieve more, they take turns waiting.  This was fascinating to observe … up to a point that I stopped them and explained a more efficient way where no one ended up waiting on the other person.  DUMP THE BUCKET OF Diddly MUD and go get more!  This method of working wasn’t their way of killing time or slacking off. These guys are hard workers.  

            Fred Astaire “Dancing in the mud”

They truly seemed amazed when I explained how much more efficient it would be to simply (in my opinion and what seemed to be a no brainer) use two buckets and immediately dump it out.   I could give 5 more examples of (again in my opinion) their inability to see 5 minutes into the future when person (C) would need more mud.  The point I’m trying to make is ….. the future (for many of them) doesn’t exist.  Whether it’s 30 minutes or 5 hours or tomorrow or manana, the future doesn’t exist.  Only the NOW exists. You have mud now.  Critical thinking isn’t taught here and it doesn’t seem to come naturally to many of them.  I suspect I’m the odd one here with my way of thinking.  Everything I have done for most of my life was directed toward the future. For too many of the people here, tomorrow is not a component or consideration of the thought process.  

Working with these people in their daily lives has been a real eye opener for me.  It pushes me to try to understand their thought processes and explore new ways to help them think ahead.  I  most certainly do not have all the answers and my ways aren’t always the best ways, but it helps me learn and hopefully, it helps them learn.  I’m sure they’re challenged just by trying to work with me!

And the no posts  lately,        I don’t know who started the rumor that I died?  Obviously I didn’t die, because at the end of the day, Im too darn tired!

I do NOT need a bigger shovel

Teach a Teacher and our Volunteers provide Professional Development and help teach basic teaching skills to Teachers here in Peru.   Please visit us at and and at teachateacher on Facebook.

Mac Wooten is President and head rock digger-upper and mudologist of Teach a Teacher Nonprofit.  A native of Greenville S.C.   We live and focus most of our work in the Ancash region of Peru.

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