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Two New Buildings for School in Cuncani, Peru

Cuncani is a rural community in the province of Calca in the high Andes of southeastern Peru. It is in the Lares district, which is the poorest district in Peru. The community is a 3-hour walk on a dirt road from the nearest village with any shops or commerce. In Cuncani, electricity is available only at the school and community center; most residents burn wood for energy in their rock homes. At an altitude of 13,228 feet, geographically isolated, and with extreme weather conditions, the majority of the estimated population of 350 residents (70 households) are involved in agriculture and/or raising llamas, alpaca, and sheep. Quechua (a Native South American language) is the main language; only about 5% of the population speak some Spanish; and fewer than 10% have attended secondary school.

All things considered, the school in Cuncani is quite impressive. Built with the assistance of Operation Blessing International, it consists of six single story concrete buildings including a new (opened June 2107) library/multimedia center and dining room/kitchen built with a donation from David & Betsy Ahl. It is attended by 70 students and has classes from grades Preschool to Grade 6.

During the tourist season, Cuncani residents often see outsiders camping nearby as the valley is a popular stopping point for hikers on the Lares Trek from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

Click on any image for a larger image.
Cuncani aerial Cuncani valley Cuncani llamas
Cuncani sheep Cuncani schoolFour of the six school buildings. Cuncani schoolNew David & Elizabeth Ahl library and multimedia center.
Cuncani schoolDave Ahl raises Peruvian flag for dedication ceremony. Cuncani schoolStudents sing the national anthem. Cuncani schoolSandra Arbaiza (OBI) and students wait for ceremony to continue.
Cuncani schoolSandra Arbaiza (OBI-Peru), David Ahl, Israel Ramos (Sembrando Vision), Ronda Sherman (OBI), T. Ramos. Cuncani schoolPlaque on new building. Cuncani schoolBreaking the traditional bottle of champagne at the new Dining Room entrance.
Cuncani schoolThe old kitchen left much to be desired. Cuncani schoolIsrael Ramos and his twin sons in the new kitchen. Cuncani schoolThe children were eager to try out the new dining room.
Cuncani schoolOutside the new library / multimedia center. Cuncani schoolChildren were given an Operation Blessing backpack with supplies. Cuncani schoolThe reading end of the new library has 12 desks.
Cuncani schoolChildren were delighted with the balcony in the new library. Cuncani schoolAll the children received new books and a Bible. Cuncani school
Cuncani schoolFor the dedication, the women of Cuncani cooked up a tasty soup Cuncani schooland also a huge platter of chicken, lamb, and cheese. Cuncani schoolPeople from Operation Blessing with some of the children.
Cuncani schoolDave Ahl surrounded by some of the Cuncani school children. Cuncani schoolWith two less-than-thrilled children. Cuncani schoolSaying our goodbyes.

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