Lead and Learn by Example …. Not in Peru Not Yet!

                                                                                                                        By H Mac Wooten

This is yet another face of the Education here in Peru.   This particular face  of education (these pamphlets) were being thrown by the thousands into the streets as an advertisement for CESAR VALLEJO Academy.   Cesar Vallejo Academy Educational Excellence Now in Caraz Ensures Your Income Dual System  Vocational Guidance  Counseling Drills Psychology   Permanent scholarships and half scholarships to our best students.

Litter in the streets

 Yes, litter as we know it.  The taxi had a huge loudspeaker and a recorded message soliciting new students for the school.  I was actually picking up accumulated daily trash thrown into the street in front of our property in Caraz when the taxi drove by throwing more trash ( handfuls of the advertisement) into the streets.  I watched in sadness and disbelief as the new litter was being blown by the wind down an empty street.  My first thought was to collect a handful and march down to the school and deliver (throw them into someones office) them in person to whoever was in charge, but sadly, I truly don’t think they would have understood my constructive criticism.

Yes, we, in the U S and other developed countries had a huge litter problem many years ago (still not perfect   but better) and our educational system started teaching  “Don’t Litter”.    How many of you old people remember this commercial?  Keep America Beautiful.litter

It certainly is engraved into my memory.  In the 60’s, the Elementary schools (in the U S) started teaching    “Don’t Litter”.

The more recent version is “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”.


Here, (in Peru) the problem of dealing with pollution and litter needs to start at both ends of the spectrum being,  the children and the government.   Yesterday I saw a city worker dumping a 55 gallon drum of the garbage she had collected from the street into the river. The local governments here don’t want to deal with the trash either.  They, as a normal practice … dump it into the river.  Litter is dropped /thrown everywhere by everyone with no second thought.

I used to give our own workers packs of cookies and a drink everyday and they would throw the wrappers on the ground with no thought.  I would reprimand them and then explain that I didn’t want the trash here and then pick it up and properly dispose of it.  After a week of continueing to pick up the cookie wrappers, I stopped giving them cookies.  They didn’t learn or change, but I did!


I haven’t given up.  The workers we employ now are slowly learning … as am I. The general public and  the children here see this as an acceptable practice of advertisement or acceptable way to deliver a message or news.  In my opinion …. it isn’t and I wont be able to change that!

In the whole scheme of things Education is one of the most important ingredients  needed to change the quality of life of any people.  Peru and it’s people ultimately have to decide it’s role and importance.  Peru’s level of education should not be the decision of non-Peruvians ….. however I do believe it is incumbent of Developed Nations to show them that there is  a better quality of life directly linked to quality education.  All I can do is to lead by example!  If any of you would like to study abroad …. maybe Cesar Vallejo Academy is for you!  As for myself,      I’ll be signing up for classes in the Spring!

PS   The children at the top of this post are real children

at one of the schools we work with   (NOT paid actors)   🙂

Teach a Teacher and our Volunteers provide Professional Development and help teach basic teaching skills  to Teachers in some of the poorest areas in Peru.   Please visit us at www.teachateacher.org and www.teachateacher.wordpress.com and at teachateacher on Facebook.

Mac Wooten is President of Teach a Teacher Nonprofit and Chief Litter Picker-Upper for the street.  A native of Greenville S.C.   We live and focus most of our work in the Ancash region of Peru.
* Special thanks to Google Images


3 thoughts on “Lead and Learn by Example …. Not in Peru Not Yet!

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