Back To School, Uruguay

A late summer Friday evening

Since 1877 primary education in Uruguay is universal, compulsory and free. These days students receive free education through university, literacy is the highest in South America at 95%, equally for males and females.

These photographs are from a cruise around South American my wife, Pam, and I enjoyed February / March 2016 on the Oceania ship Regatta. This was the evening of February 26, 2016, a Friday, in the city Montevideo, Uruguay.

This image is the theme of this blog, “back to school”. On Avenue Gral Eugenio Garzon of the Colon neighborhood of Montevideo a mother and four daughters discuss a shop window featuring “back to school” clothing and necessaries. The children range in age from pre-school to teen. This is evidently a serious discussion about preparing for the school year which starts in March for Uruguay.

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A government program launched in 2007 expands Information and Communication technologies in primary schools with these goals:
— To distribute technology,
— To promote knowledge,
— To generate social equity.

Called Ceibal, after a tree native to Uruguay, the program was a success. From 2009 – 2012 450,000 laptops, popularly named “”ceibalitas”, were delivered to children coordinate with teacher training and a monitoring and evaluation model for assessing the impact nationally. Ceibal is the acronym for “Conectividad Educativa de Informática Básica para el Aprendizaje en Línea” (Educational Connectivity/Basic Computing for Online Learning in English).

These photographs build on the theme of the positive influence education has on the lives of Uruguayans, many of whom live in poverty.

A family gathering in their yard on Avenue Gral Eugenio Garzon, enjoying a cool late summer evening.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Traffic and a gas station. People were out and about, walking and conversing. There is a makeshift trailer attached to the motorcycle, behind is a large truck.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Storefront with customer and man loitering on wall. A mini-Honda all terrain vehicle is on display.

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Mate is a beverage enjoyed throughout South America. Here companions enjoy a warm summer evening with a thermos of hot water and mate gourd behind a restaurant, their view across the train tracks and the Colon rail station is of a playground and playing fields.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A family of very young soccer players coming from practice with teammates. The sponsors of lucky number 7 are the bank Banrisul and Tramontina, a kitchenware manufacturer.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

We waited to board an historic train and shared the station with Montevideans waiting for a passenger train. Here are two families: a mother and pre-teen daughter colorfully dressed, a grandmother and grandson. Behind them are the playing fields and playground.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A passenger train heading north passed while we waited for our ride to begin. Curiosity shines from this child’s eyes.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Happy families greeted us with waves and smiles during our trip to downtown Montevideo.

Some of the homes along the rail line. Pools such as that are popular in cities. We saw a great many on the streets in Lima, Peru.

Reaction to the historic train from a group of young men.

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Curious playmates gather at the end of the road.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A well attended playground.

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Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Jim Thorpe Black Friday

Around and About the Town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Presenting impressions of Jim Thorpe town on Black Friday 2016: unedited shots taken in late afternoon.

The best place to park is behind the train station, along the river.  $5 for the day.

Hike up the hill to the Asa Packer Museum.  The attraction is closed for the winter, but well worth the climb past the Civil War monument, so steep there are switchbacks.

Even closed the site yields detail after detail, all interesting and worth learning more about.  I was fascinated by the casted buck sculpture, can you tell?  Placed to greet visitors, it demands your attention.

Climb some more to explore the porch…

The sun makes an appearance, drawing attention to the other mansion of the site.  Two brothers, and families, lived up here.

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Of course, my interest turned to that neighboring mansion.  It is a B&B.  “Mystery weekends” advertised.  That is a two day event.  Guests, presented with a scenario, draw on their resources to solve…..a crime.  Today, the façade decorated for Christmas.  The entire village decorated for Christmas!!  Christmas!!  Christmas!!!  I just love CHRISTMAS

For me, the charm of these places are the details.  These pull the attentive visitor into the character of the owner and/or designer.  A simple storage room dug into the hillside, designed and crafted with love in the interest of the residents who experience it everyday.  Built for a lifetime and longer.  The door and fittings appear to be modern, “nice work.”

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A substantial finial of a thick wrought iron fence rail.

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More so, the choice of building materials for retaining walls.  These were spotted in the countryside, quarry or wherever by someone with an eye for unusual beauty…or a rock hounds.  The boulders are carefully dressed conglomerate specimens with interesting clasts and matrix.

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The museum is a place to enjoy the gathering night.  Take note of the thick groves of rhododendron, native to this area: a reason to return springtime.
The surrounding hills, locally called mountains, increase the charm of the setting.

We descended into town for shopping, dinner at Molly Maquire’s and a show in the Mauch Chunk Opera house. The village was named Mauch Chunk previously until the town fathers decided to rename it to Jim Thorpe, the notable native American sports star, in a then failed effort to encourage tourism. The last decade business has improved.

Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub is a fine place for a companionable meal. Pam and I enjoyed the New York Strip steak with, of course, potatoes. A baked potato for me. Pam had the red skinned garlic mashed potatoes.

The pub is located near the train station.

If you don’t know about the Molly Macguires…google ’em.

A few more notable details.

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Ahhhh, nature….

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If you like what is here…click this link for my online gallery.  Thank You

The contents of this blog are Copyright 2016 Michael Stephen Wills