Hi, David Whelan here from o2 Ireland. I'm part of the Telefonica o2 group to Peru.
We arrived late Monday nght in Peru and met with the rest of our fellow volunteers from the UK, Spain, Argentina and Peru. There are fourteen of us in total. Its a great group of people and we are all itching to get to Pisco and see what is in store for us. On Tuesday we went to the Telefonica Peruvian headquarters for and induction programme. The programme really opened my eyes to the endemic problems that 19% of Peruvian children are in some form of child labour.
After our induction programme we headed off on the 270 kilometre trip to Pisco and followed the Pacific coast south to our final destination.
Today we saw Pisco in daylight for the first time. I had read about the Earthquake in 2007 but nothing could have prepared me for what has become of what was a lovely town. The earthquake destoyed 70% of the buildings and so the town appears for all intensive purpose like a bomb site. Locals had warned us that the reconstruction has not really had any real iimpact yet. Obviously my thoughts this morning were with the children of Pisco who must have endured terribly with the earthquake and also what future is in store for them.
We headed off this morning to the school and along the way I tried to prepare myself as best I could to seeing the conditions that the children would be living in in the suburbs of Pisco along with the condition of the school itself. As the trip progressed along the potholed dirt track to the school I was feeling nervous of how I would be able to relate to the children that have endured such hardship and also what welcome if any would be instore for us.
As our coach entered the school gates we could hear a huge amount of noise and what happened next I will never forget. We were welomed with great fanfare by the entire school and local community. We disembarked from the coach to the sound of the school choir and band. There were garlands and baloons everywhere, we were made feel like a cross between royalty and rockstars.
The was an official reception laid on for us with traditional Peruvian music and dance showcased by the children. They were all in traditional costumes. They had erected telefonica banners and each of the 900 children carried a flag that they had made in advance. All The countries of the individual volunteers were there, even the Irish flag.
Its safe to say it was very emotional and all my nerves were quashed on what was such a fantastic welcome. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I only hope we can now deliver on the enormous trust and faith that this fantastic school has put in us.
Class starts monday I cant wait. My two programmes that I will be working on in the school are Sport and theatre. I have never been as motivated in my whole life and this trip has already shown to be an emotional rollercoaster and a life changing experience
Talk soon, Dave