film production + social action

WEBlog 4: A Dedicated Professor / Roy the Revolutionary

I come from a family that’s deeply embedded in the world of education – everyone in some form or another: my mother, my father, my brother-in-law, several of my cousins, and now my sister. They all work hard and are extremely passionate. I must say however, I have never met a more dedicated educator than the wonderful teacher who governs the one-room school house in Antuyo, Peru. The professor of the lone school in Antuyo wakes up every morning between 2 and 3 am. He spends several hours preparing for the day’s class and doing work for the classes he himself takes on the weekends. At 5 am, he starts his round of household errands: he feeds the two donkeys, the three pigs, the two turkeys, the chicken, the four guard dogs, and the cat. He has a quick breakfast with his family and by 6 he has begun his long commute to the village of Antuyo to begin school at 8:30. The day, which lasts until 2:00 sees him governing a class of wild students that range in age from 5 to 13, teaching eight different grade levels (from pre-K to 6th grade) at the same time. Throughout the day he wears the hat of principal, math teacher, grammar teacher, science teacher, gym teacher and custodian. When there is an issue with a student, he makes the long hike up the mountain to visit their families personally. He’s got a tough job.

I’ll shift gears here and say that, perhaps the greatest benefit of life in Antuyo is that it’s socially acceptable to pee anywhere. On a couple of occasions, I found that the person I was having a conversation with while walking had stopped to relieve himself. At night, with the doors to the house locked up, one need only leave his room and take care of business (the whole house is outside anyhow). Despite designated outhouses, the rule of free peeing is in no danger. After all, the animals do it and, as their masters, why shouldn’t we? I found that no one took greater advantage of this luxury than the five-year old, Roy. His bed was upstairs, looking out at the mountains and the outdoor area of the house below. Standing on his bed, Roy would lean over the balcony and let loose. One morning, I was having a conversation with the father below when Roy started peeing from above. The father smiled at me, “It’s raining,” he said. While everyone in the town took full advantage of this privilege (women included), Roy was a true revolutionary – always pushing the envelope. One morning, I went to great lengths to set up a beautiful shot of Roy running freely toward the school. It was really a great shot: the full mountain landscape filling the frame, lit perfectly by the fresh morning sun. Roy ran into frame as if on cue. I was admiring the shot from behind the camera, giving myself a big old pat on the back, when Roy suddenly stopped at the edge of the frame, sat down and took a crap in the middle of the field. I learned a lot from Roy.