January 16th, 2008

First report from Peru.

Jim and I have been here a week and it´s been very very interesting as well as extremely warm.

Yesterday was a hard long interesting day. Jim volunteered to build houses again and I went to the school project. We were to meet up at 6 at the volunteer headquarters. I should have know it would be an interesting day when I had to carry a humongous maul to the school site. As well we had to hitch hike to the site. It was all I could do to carry it. Thankfully when we started work one of the younger strong women smashed concrete for the morning to lower the floor level before pouring the cement. I got a relatively easy job of straightening reebar and weaving supports for the cement floor.Joy 1397 The cement mixer that had been ordered for the day arrived an hour late and then was broken for five hours. But then suddenly it was fixed. I have never worked so hard in my life, shovelling cement and sand and gravel, nonstop until the floor was done!!!! Unfortunately I had better get lots of credit for this effort since my doctor now recommends that I refrain from such labout. I really did enjoy being a cog with all the young strong volunteers from all over the world.
E and mixer_1402
After the floor was poured it was getting dark and David the organizer behind Hands On distaster Relief bought us some beer. Then he and his friend left. Quite a little party ensued and of course having no idea where we were I had to wait until it was over. Then we walked to the highway and hithhiked back to volunteer central. Sparky our volunteer dog raced after the truck. this was my first ride in the back of a truck!!!! Anyways Jim was no where to be found at volunteer central This didn´t bother me because I was two hours late but now I had to get a tuk tuk back to our hostel and I didn´t know the name of the hostel. Advice here is to always know where you are staying. Anyways I did recognize the place in a guide book and one of the chaps with a bit of Spanish helped me flag a tuk tuk. Luckily he was there because when another man also hopped in he got his out yelling Solo Solo. On the way back the tuk tuk ran out of gas but no more men tried to hop in and eventually I made it back safely.. Jim unfortunately had only worked to lunch time when he was hit with the trots. He´s spent today trotting, while I´ve been sketching the market.

The market is a kalidoscope of site sound and smells. Streets that sell only nails, streets that sell rope or fish or chickens, or vegetables. The colour and confusion is all superimposed on the rubble and destruction of the earth quake. At one point a umpapa band came down the street. It was a funeral procession. A hearse covered in flowers, men carrying the coffin and then a huge crowd walking followed by the trumpets and drums. I think I´d like trumpets and drums and umpapa for my funeral!!!!!

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