The World Map is a hallowed Peace Corps tradition. Volunteers all over the planet are painting maps in their communities. It seemed like an awesome, fun project that would spread the PC message, so I decided to do one during my second year of vacaciones utiles, or summer school. It turned out that was ambitious.
I started with three high school classes. We began with some basic geography and ecology lessons so they'd have a better understanding of what they were working on. Initially, I had wanted to project an image of the map onto the wall to trace, but our equipment wasn't powerful enough. We went to the tried and true, but much slower grid method.
Thankfully, I still had my highschoolers to set it up.
Sadly, vacaciones utiles ended at that point, which makes it right on schedule for a PC project, so I needed to do the rest with the sixth graders that went to the school. We started over with some more geography classes to learn the cardinal directions, how to read a map, and all that good stuff. Then it was time to draw the map on the grid following print-outs. Most of Peruvian primary education is based on rote memorization and copying, so I thought they'd be awesome at copying from the paper to the wall. It turned out to be much more of a challenge than I thought. After a few more white hairs, I was able to help my students figure out what they were up to.
Then it was time to paint!
Aside from some difficulty staying inside the lines, this part was fun.
After the main countries were painted, we needed to fill in all the tiny islands and territories, which quickly became the bane of my existence. With the difficulty of correctly placing all the -nesias, the rainy season getting drunk and sticking around way after the party was over, and fiesta upon fiesta, we somehow made it to late September with work still to be done. I needed to call in the heavy artillery.
My friends Laura and Nicole came to visit and I put them to work labeling the last countries.
The next week, a few kids and I cleaned up some borders and repainted the ocean, and we were done!
It's missing islands and some of the smaller European countries, but it's way better than no map at all and another good learning opportunity. I had to let go of a lot of expectations, and as Voltaire would say, not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.