Our Favorite Teacher

Working hard with a smile!

Working hard with a smile!

Above is the happiest, hard-working missionary in Curahuasi.  Maybe, just maybe, there may be some that work harder, but they are not happier.  Allison is finishing up her first trimester teaching English to the Peruvian kids in the middle school ages at Colegio Diospi Suyana.  It has been rewarding and tough.  There are struggles here in education that you do not commonly have back home, but that makes the small victories even more meaningful.  She is also in training to take over the bread making duties for all the Diospi Suyana missionaries.  Every Tuesday you can find her at the hospital cafeteria as the sun rises, weighing her ingredients as her friend Konika works on passing the baton of bread making to the newest baker in Curahuasi.  And she still teaches American history and English to the kids!  She is a champ!  The school starts a one week break tomorrow, and I know Curahuasi’s best teacher is ready for the rest.


Math and Education in Curahuasi

Do you wonder what is the hardest thing for us missionary parents here in Curahuasi?  It is our concern about our kid’s education.  Nothing lowers my mood more or makes me want to come home more than my concerns about how they are doing.  Did you know that Peru came in last place in both language arts and mathematics in the entire world (only 65 countries participated) when submitted to a standardized exam.  Nothing has epitomized the difficulties of Peruvian education like the subject of mathematics.  Last year while David was in fifth and sixth grade they were teaching algebra and geometry.  I am not sure that the normal 10 and 11 year old brain is ready for that sort of abstract reasoning.  To me it felt like an overcompensation.  Because Peru is in last place in the world in education, the educators and public feel there is a need to go faster and faster.  But this is at the cost of learning the basics of math.  And without having the basics really locked in, you cannot move into the more advanced subjects.  Last year my kids hated math.  And that was sad, because they all seem to have a bit of extra ability in this subject.  But I am glad to say that this year they all say they like math . . . except for the homework.  And you know what is different this year.  The school is making sure they solidify the basics before they move on to the advanced topics.  I am thankful to the school leadership for what they are trying to do to constantly improve the Diospi Suyana school.  I sympathize with Cristian Bigalke, our school director, as he tries to bring a new culture of education into Curahuasi.  It is not easy, but he is doing his best as he works with a majority Peruvian staff who have never been trained any differently.  I am grateful that the majority of the staff is willing to learn something new about teaching.  Here is an article from Cristian from the hospital website.

Rethinking the multiplication tables 1×1


European Math Books Utilized at Diospi Suyana School

Actually, the Peruvian curriculum in mathematics is quite reasonable, but the reality is quite different.  It is not uncommon for parents to expect that kindergarten children should be doing advanced math.  The result is that most children get left behind and never really understand the fundamentals before they are rushed into advanced math applications.  It is recommended that a thorough learning of the basic math principles first be mastered.

The professors at our mission school were trained in the application of a new teaching method in February.  Two experts from Lima came especially to Curahuasi to explain step by step working with the new textbook.  It was originally published by the Stuttgart Klett-Verlag and then translated and adapted by an institution in Lima.  The material is didactically very descriptive and it will facilitate the student’s progression.

The learning environments are also becoming more diverse.  It is not unusual to see students climbing stairs as they figure out problems. And sometimes the whole schoolyard serves as a great textbook, which always makes the learning material more fun.

The goal at our school is to provide children from all social classes an excellent education.  God only knows how successful it will be, but it is important that we go with Him.  The first successes have thankfully already been seen. / CB

Math in the schoolyard

Math in the schoolyard

New methods

New methods


The only thing that gets better missionary attendance than free food at Diospi Suyana Hospital and Colegio Diospi Suyana is news that there will be a baptism at the local, freezing cold swimming pool!

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Will Caire (@willcaire) on

Graduation Sexto Grado Peruvian Style

David went through his graduation from sexto grade this past Friday.  This is a big deal in Peru, and the move from primary to secondary education is celebrated.  It may be because many students do not move on, and it is a way to motivate them to continue.  During the morning he was part of the graduation ceremony that was presented to the student body.  It was quite an event with all the sixth grade kids introduced by their picture on the overhead.  The teacher would ask the kids in the audience, the younger kids, the name of the student as it appeared on the screen, and all the kids would yell “David” or “Obed”.  The oldest kids in school are known by name everywhere.  There were songs, and short speeches, and the graduates did a skit where they mimicked their teachers.  David was one of the four in his class that had a starring role doing this, and of course I was impressed that he was willing to stand in front of the student body and try and be funny in Spanish.  He told me later he was so nervous that he thought he was going to “pee his pants”.

David performing as his math teacher in front of the student body.  At every ceremony we went to David was introduced as someone who was good at imitating his classmates and teachers.

David performing as his math teacher in front of the student body. At every ceremony we went to David was introduced as someone who was good at imitating his classmates and teachers.

David and his classmates at the school graduation.

David and his classmates at the school graduation.

Annie performing with the third grade, celebrating the sixth grade graduation

Annie performing with the third grade, celebrating the sixth grade graduation

In the evening there was a ceremony for the family to attend.  We managed to find tickets for everyone in our family, and we watched the students be honored for their accomplishments, and of course we knew at least one of the students had been through even more stress than others as he navigated his way through a new culture and a new language.  And we felt proud of him.

Our graduate.  Only the norteamericano is without his suit.

Our graduate. Only the norteamericano is without his suit.

An attempt at a family selfie to cap the evening.

An attempt at a family selfie to cap the evening.

Education is the Key

As our time here has grown (humbly, I will admit it is just one year!) we are recognizing that education is the key to almost all change.  Kids are more open, they are more willing to learn, and they are humble.  It is the best opportunity to touch a community, not only for Christ, but also for the benefit of the people.  These kids can learn, grow, and reach potentials that they did not know they had and obtain possibilities that they did not know were open to them.  We are in the beginning of using education as part of our mission here in Curahuasi.  I think the Colegio Diospi Suyana is the most important ministry of our work!  I have posted videos of the Diospi Suyana school in the past, but as of yet they are not in English.  However I have videos of friends schools in other parts of the world.  Education is the key!  And people recognize this all over the world, and it can make a huge difference in the life of a kid and a community.  (Don’t forget we are still looking for teachers!)

Look what some friends from college are doing in Ft. Worth, Texas!

Look at what some other friends are doing in Thailand!  I have several great college friends teaching and helping to lead that school.

This is a school focused on education in Kenya!  We do not know kids there right now, but we have in the past!

Taller de Cultura (Culture Workshop)

A couple weeks ago we celebrated a Cultural Workshop at Colegio Diospi Suyana.  For us parents with was a welcome respite from hours of homework every night.  The schedule for our kids is Peruvian classes from 7:45 AM to 12:50 PM.  Then they have an English speakers class, which is taught by Allison.  In this class they learn American and world history, English grammar and spelling (spelling is a real challenge for the kids learning in two languages), English literature, and Spanish as a second language.  They also have a devotional time.  That class ends at 3 PM, and our kids come home for a rest, and then start a couple hours of homework.  The length of homework is longer for our kids because of the translation work that needs to be done to do it in the first place.  Our kids do not get as much done at school because they don’t always understand what they are seeing on the page or the instructions they get in the book.  So they come home with more homework, and we sit down and try and translate and work through it.  There is a lot of Spanish / English dictionary work during this time.  Well, during the Culture Workshop week we did not have homework, so right off the bat we were all happy.  All the teachers of the school chose a topic area, and the kids were free to join whichever topic interested them for the week.  David joined a project on Chile.  There were some seminary students from Chile volunteering at the hospital, and they helped the teacher instruct the students in regards to Chilean culture, history, geography, music, etc.  David especially enjoyed creating a model of the topography of Chile, and he enjoyed doing research to create a PowerPoint discussing all the great things about that long, skinny country.

David and his friend John Paul in front of their display of Chile.

David and his friend John Paul in front of their display of Chile.

Annie and Peter were excited to join a group studying Sayhuite and Incan history.  Sayhuite is an Incan ruin about 30 minutes from Curahuasi as you ascend the mountain pass to travel to Albancay.  They enjoyed a field trip to the ruins, and then enjoyed creating a model of Sayhuite to show the parents on Friday night as we toured the school and saw all the work that had been done that week.  Annie especially enjoyed welcoming guests to the room, stating please enjoy the model without touching it.  “Bienvenidos a la maqueta de Sayhuite, sin tocar, por favor!”

Annie and Peter in front of their display of Saywite, an incan ruin just up the road from where we live.

Annie and Peter in front of their display of Saywite, an incan ruin just up the road from where we live.  Click on the pictures below to see them larger.

Poor Sarah was sick for half the week, so she did not get to participate to the full, but she chose a workshop on Austrian and German culture.  They did research on Austria and wrote letters to volunteers from Austria that had served in Curahuasi in the past.  Sarah especially enjoyed sharing some food from Austria with us on our tour.  Sorry, no pictures.  The night ended with a dinner where all the different cultures represented cooked food to sell in the lobby.  There was Peruvian food from all the geographical regions, as well as American food and German food.  We represented America with apple pie and chocolate chip cookies.  It does not get more American than that!  It was a great week, a lot of fun for the kids, and we were especially proud of the effort and progress that the school is making for the sake of our kids, the town of Curahuasi, the mission of Christ in Apurimac, and especially for the sake of the education of the children of Curahuasi.

Serving dinner.  They like boiled oats in the Apurimac and they eat them with lots of water a little water depending on the meal.  This is with a medium amount of water, and it is basically like a rice pudding or oat pudding desert.

Serving dinner. They like boiled grains in the Apurimac and they eat them with lots of water a little water depending on the meal. This is with a medium amount of water, and it is basically like a rice pudding or oat pudding desert.

Colegio Diospi Suyana – A Video

This video is in German, but the images at the beginning give a nice representation of the school.  If you watch closely you will see Sarah, Annie and David.  This video was put together by our friend Ryan Morigeau who is an American missionary serving with us in Curahuasi.

From Nolan and Konika Wright – “This is Crazy”

We got our new letters up on the hill outside of Curahuasi.  You can see it in the picture. Read how it happened from Nolan Wright.  The following quote gives a glimpse of the work required in the construction.  “Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was unable to make the first workday which consisted of clearing the design and letters, but I did get to participate in hauling the powder (which was cement) up the hill.  When I arrived at the bottom of the hill and saw the truck full of cement bags, I asked how we were going to get them up the hill.  I was quite suprised when he told me we were going to carry them.”

From the blog "Wrights in Peru" the Diospi Suyana School logo on the hill above town.

From the blog “Wrights in Peru” the Diospi Suyana School logo on the hill above town.

Exam Week

The teachers of Diospi Suyana school

A few weeks ago, Colegio Diospi Suyana had its first exam week.  I was worried about all the kids trying to take their exams in Spanish without any help and the director generously agreed to my coming to school for the week to go from classroom to classroom, translating and helping.  It was a great experience.

Sarah and Noah, our first graders, didn’t need any help at all and did marvelously on their exams.  It really helps to be young– language comes more naturally and the material is not nearly as difficult.  I enjoyed seeing Sarah in her class, working hard, but I would just peek in and wave and then see her at recess.  Annie and Sydney, in third grade, were fun to work with because they are, to generalize, girls, and they want to have complete, neat papers, and they try hard, and they work together.  They had a couple of light-bulb moments, especially in math, when they had to fill out some addition and subtraction tables/ puzzles and they figured out how it worked.  I wondered how they had faked it when they did it in class.  Peter really impressed me by his perseverance.  Several of his exams were long, really long, and we had to translate a lot of it too, and he pressed on with good attention until the end, day after day.  Of course, he was most excited and knowledgable about science, but I think he liked studying the night before and then watching how much he knew on the exams.  Good lesson to learn.  David and Benjamin did amazingly well with tough material in another language.  Their different personalities really amused me in how much they wrote on their tests.  Neither seemed stressed by the challenge.  During some of the practices before their tests, David really participated and shouted out answers (some of them wrong).  They both did really well on their dictation and understanding (without formal instruction) how to spell Spanish and to add accent marks.  I was impressed with each kid’s Spanish.  They have learned an amazing amount of vocabulary, grammar, conversation, and listening, which is the goal that we parents have set for this year.

I was pleased to see how well most of their classrooms were run, how well behaved the kids were, and how fair the tests were.  Praise God for this encouragement and the chance to see into their lives in a way I would not have been able to otherwise.  I think it was good for them to see how much they can accomplish and how God has helped them.

Helping Colegio Diospi Suyana

The missionary community here in Curahuasi is really excited about the opening of the Diospi Suyana school on March 17th.  Our four kids will be in first, third, fourth, and fifth grades and I will be teaching as well.  The facilities and the quality of education offered will be far, far above what is available here currently, and most importantly, this is a chance for the kids who attend to get training in the Bible and see the Christian life lived out.

Although the composition of the school will be 90% Peruvian, the directors (one German and one Peruvian) have made provision for the missionary kids who will be attending.  Every day the foreign kids will have their own class time from 11:40 to 1:15.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, yours truly will be teaching English language arts, a little American history, and giving support for the task of attending school in a second language.  I am really excited about the opportunity and I also see the difficulties therein.  I will have eight students, two in each grade, and I think we will all be in one classroom.  That is a lot of needs, difference in abilities, and responsibility, folks.

We have decided to order Sonlight curriculum for teaching language arts.  I am going to go ahead and order the core curriculum (that means teacher’s guide, curriculum guide) for each grade that I am teaching next year, even though it is my understanding is that they overlap.  I am hoping to set this up as clear and easy to follow as possible so that others can come in and take over if I move on to teaching ESL to the Peruvian kids in the future or in the case that some moms may want to borrow the material for homeschooling.  We will order an extra set of readers so that each student can take the books home and keep up with their reading.

There is not really a budget for the missionary kids, so what does all this cost? Each grades’ curriculum is $400 to $440, for a grand total this year of $1646.  Each extra set of books costs around $160 (times four).  With shipping, I ordered $2427 in materials.  Wonderfully, my dad is coming to see us in April, as are some other American visitors, and we will coordinate getting them into the country that way.  If we get extra money, we will buy curriculum for future years or books for the school library.

If you would like to contribute to the purchase of this original set of curriculum, that would bless these dear kids (and their teacher!).  You can send a donation through this website: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=4d6052

We would also love donations from people who have used this curriculum and still have an old set lying around their house. By faith, we will be teaching missionary kids for years, so we’ll accept any and all grades’ curriculum or readers.  We will put the books we receive in our new library!  Our address here is:  Allison Caire- Diospi Suyana- Apartado 210- Abancay, Apurímac, Perú.

I am so proud of all eight of these kids and how well they demonstrate Christ here in Curahuasi.  Like Paul in Philippians, I eagerly expect that God will help me to serve them faithfully as a teacher.  Please pray for us as we try to learn together!