Friday, April 22, 2011

20th Day Adventures

We woke up at 8 to tubs of hot water outside our tents for washing our faces. Then, the chefs came around with tea, hot chocolate and coffee. They then prepared a nice breakfast of fruit salad with apple, papaya, banana, pear and pineapple. We walked to the school around 10 and went into the classroom of the first and second graders. They were so excited to see us! They had prepared a song which they performed. I just wish I knew what they were saying. We then went outside to the side of the school where the library was already in progress. The villagers had laid out the foundation, basically just marked the area with rocks. In the middle was tons and tons of mud. All around the school lay 1,100 adobe bricks. We jumped right in the mud to mix it up. It was to be used for mortar in between the bricks. Cecilia left soon after we started because of stomach problems and she cut her foot on a rock.
I took a break from the mud to help carry adobe bricks. They weighed 30lbs each. So heavy and they hurt your hands to carry. We went on this way, carrying bricks, mixing mud, or putting the mud on the structure so someone could lay the next brick. Around 11, the kids got a break to eat lunch. The government gives them milk and a piece of potato bread. We sat around with our snacks as they ate lunch. They were so curious about us. They kept asking about our parents and pets and commenting on how white we are. It seemed like a lot of the younger ones had never seen white people. They quickly started up a game of soccer when they were finished eating. Nisty and I joined their teams but the game was harder than I expected. The field had knee deep grass and there were rocks scattered around so you had to watch out, especially when barefoot. It ended with the score 1-1.
After the game, it was back to work until our lunch. We had tortillas with bologna, guacamole, cucumbers, and homemade queso (so strong). We all got big surprise when we saw Lucas walking into our campsite. His plane tickets got messed up and he decided to come find us. It's a miracle that he did because we are literally in the middle of nowhere. We rested for a bit after the lunch before walking back to the school. We got back just as the kids were getting out of school. The villagers who were helping us became more talkative. They constantly made fun of the way we spoke Spanish or the way we used a pick axe or shovel. In a loving way, I think. By the end of the day, we successfully completed 8 levels of adobe!
When we got back to the campsite we had tea time. A tub of popcorn and a plate of the most delicious crackers (my new obsession) were waiting for us along with tea, coffee and hot chocolate. We stayed at the table and played cards til dinner.
Just before dinner, a shaman came into our dining tent. He was making an offering to the Andean gods for the success of our building. The offering consisted of llama fat, an alpaca fetus, confetti, animal crackers, a catholic cross, gold and silver, fake money, garbonzo beans, a star fish, shells, sugar, rice, threads, candies, and a treat that the five of us call fagals. He laid everything out in it's proper place and blessed it. He then left us. He and a few others would travel 2 hours to the top of the mountain at midnight to burn the offering. They do it at the top of the mountains because they believe they are closer to the gods. If the fire is big and burns for a long time, Pachamama accepts the offering. If it is a low, quick fire, Pachamama does not accept it. We then had a quick dinner of soup and chicken curry. I was the first to fall asleep.

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