Saturday, October 6, 2012

Random Update

I think I'll end this marathon blog updating session with these last two pictures. I couldn't really fit them in other up dates, but I think they deserve to make the cut.

I've been harping on Yefer to take care of his toys, so he asked his dad to build him a box for his toys. Instead Roger did him one better.

Cate caught this lizard in my room and then thought about taking it Lima. Luckily for the lizard, she didn't take him to the big city and he's still running free in Yuracoto (albeit with a significantly shorter tail, which is also still in Yuracoto).  

 Also I'd like to share some good news: The teacher strike is said to be ending, and classes will start again this Tuesday!!! I guess to make up for the missed days, they're planing on holding afternoon sessions and a few Saturday class. Anyone want to take bets if our teachers will stick to the obligated extra classes? No opinion offered here.

A trip to the Hot Springs

There is a very interesting hot springs an hour's walk past Sara site, that I had heard about, but never checked out. So last weekend, Sara, Cate, and I went to take a dip. What it is, is a small spring flowing into two small pools, with a really cold creek running near by. To adjust the temperature, the rock dams are rearranged to regulated the cold to hot water ratio.

There's also an abandoned structure nearby with a cement pool, changing rooms, and rooms for private baths. Apparently, the two nearest towns built this to be a tourist site about 5-10 years ago, but it didn't workout. However, it surprising that it was abandoned, as the building materials alone are worth a lot, especially this high up in the Sierras.

Another interesting note, is the litter surrounding the place. There are a ton of soap wrappers and empty individual packets of shampoo all over. Sara and another volunteer tried to address this, with little success. However, it's funny to hear her tell the story about how they tried to hold a "natural spa day" at the hot springs, and how the local women didn't take too well to it. From Sara's perspective, using natural ingredients like avocados, sugar, and eggs for face wraps, hair conditioners, and skin rubs seemed like it would be a environmentally friendly hit. To the woman that attended, it just seemed like a dumb waste of food. You win some and you lose some.

Peaches leading the way down to the hot springs.

Sara explaining about the flood. 

This valley bottom used to have trees and grass until a flood hit earlier this year , raking everything away.

Cate at the old, neglected pool. 

Cate in front of the old hot springs buildings.

Sara testing the water. 

Cate near the hot springs flow. 

Cate with some local children in the pool behind her.

Cate and I at the hot springs.

Cate and Sara in the lower pool. 

The hot springs team: Brice, Cate, and Sara.

Soaking in the lower pool.
Peaches declined to get in.

Nice sunset in as we soaked. 

The Dina Make-Over Show

Sometimes I forget that Dina and I are the same age. Her life is, and has been, so different than my own, that I often don't think about how she'd probably like doing "girly" things. Luckily, this is where Cate comes in. Cate showed up last weekend with a ton of her old cloths to give Dina (which I could see from the extra glow in Dina's eyes, she loved)* and then topped it of with a manicure session. Dina seems to love everyone, but Cate truly won her heart with this.

*Dina saves her best outfits for Sunday when gets to get out of the house and go to market in Caraz. As she was opening the suitcase, she was already setting aside new "Market Outfits".

Here's some pictures:

Yefer getting excited for his mom's new outfits.

Dina shows one of the many new outfits. 

Dina and the boys on Sunday. These jeans and this shirt were both gifts that she was excited to wear to market.

Of to market she goes... very content. 

Cate and the family.

Dina getting her nails done.

Probably the first time Dina has had her nails done in a longtime, possibly ever.

The end results. 

One happy customer.

Even Roger got a new sweatshirt from Cate's dad. He's been wearing this to work almost everyday. 

Bubbles in the tub

Thanks to Cate, Yefer and Yordi's new favorite pass time is playing with bubbles. For me, It's fun to hear them laugh and scream while chasing the bubbles. If that's not enough, I also enjoy trying to find the perfect combination of liquid soap and water for the most and largest bubbles. Visual aids? Here you go:

Dina enjoys the bubbles as Yefer tries his hand. 

The bubble brothers.

Yordi chases a bubble.

During Cate's visit we moved to the sink and went for size. Note the rope on a stick, surprisingly successful for a few super-sized bubbles. 

Even Yordi got the hang of it.
Yordi and Yefer with new dos. 

The Pachacamac Boys with the the newest look. 

Yordan and I

Cate and the bubble makers (L to R: Jeni, Yordan, Cate, and Yeferson).

The whole crew. (clockwise starting at the Gringo: Brice, Jeni, Yeferson, Yordan, and Cate).

After bubble time, Yordan decided to take his horse out for a ride. Luckily I caught as he galloped past my door. 

Ditching it.

Here's a long, rambling video I made after Dina had given me a tutorial on how to dam a ditch. Obviously she didn't see my impressive resume, which touts my work on the following major water ways: Morrell Creek, Deer Creek (i.e. Stiffy Falls), Rattlesnake Creek, and the ditch in front of Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Busy Beavers

Getting woken up to pounding, chopping, digging, kids screaming, or huayno music at 5:00am is pretty normal here in Yuracoto, pero (but) when it doesn't stop after about 7:30 when Roger goes to work, then that means there a day long project in the works. Yesterday's project was logging.

When I went out to inspect the scene, I found that  Roger had climbed about 30 feet up a tree, tied a rope around it, and now he was chopping on the trunk while my 'Papachi' (Quechua for granddad), whose about 70 years old, was pulling on the rope to insure the tree wouldn't fall onto the house... needless to say, I decided to help tug as well.

They decided to cut the tree for two reasons: they're afraid that it could have fallen on the house in a windstorm, and Dina needed wood. Here's some pictures:

Roger finishes falling the tree.

Papachi looks on.

Roger, the lead beaver.

Papachi and Roger

Papachi clears the cut branches

Roger chops...

Papachi nubs (shout out to Mariah)

Movie Night in Huaripampa

Huaripampa, the small town between Sara Jane's site (Cashapampa) and mine (Yuracoto), is home to some great 5th graders (Seniors in High School) that Sara and I have been teaching for the last few months. And since these kids are about to graduate, they want to raise money for their class party. And to do so, we've decided to hold weekly movie nights. The kids make posters, and do radio spots on the municipality's public radio station, and Sara and I show up on Thursdays with the computer, projector, and speakers. The entrance fee is S/. 1.5, and includes a bag of popcorn.

I gone up the last two Thursdays, and what's our bottom line? The kids are at zero, and I'm in the red.

The first night started well. After I arrived, donated money to pay for the goods to make the popcorn, the kids got started cooking the popcorn and Sara and I got everything set up. We were scheduled to start at 6:00pm, but knew no one would arrive until 6:30pm. Just as it was about time to start the movies, the electricity in the whole canyon went out, leaving us stuck with a ton a popcorn and no way to watch the movie. Sara was having a bad day due to her puppy (Smokey) dying, and her host-family not really showing compassion for her loss, so I walked back to Cashapampa with her, where slept on the floor (she was nice enough to lend me some donkey blankets and her good pillow).

Here's a video before the blackout:

Here's Sara's room:

The second night, the kids canceled the movie, without really saying why. I arrived to find Sara waiting for me in the plaza, and no kids at the school. I suspect the long absence from school due to the strike, is making it hard for them to roundup their friends for the movie.

Here's Sara Jane and Peaches overlooking the valley, as we make 'the walk of shame' a second time back to Cashapampa (Sara only has about 5 more weeks left of her service, and so it was interesting to hear her talk about what she's thinking about as she reflects on her time here and what's next):

The third time is going to be the charm; I hope, otherwise I doubt there's going to be much of a graduation party. Also, do you find it a little ironic that both attempts at move nights either ended with us dead in the water, or doomed at departure??? Keep in mind we're trying to show the movie "Titanic".

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dance Off With Your Pants Off.

Cate came up for a a long weekend (October 1st and 2nd were vacation days). We did a lot, as she loves to hang out with Yefer and Yordi, and one of the highlights was her teaching the Pachacamac boys (Brice,Yordi, and Yefer) how to dance. Yeferson is a natural, as you can see from the video. Yordi, uses his charm. As for Me, well I guess at least I'm good at recording the dancers.


What are Roger and Dina doing in these pictures? Watch the video to find out...but for those of you with slow internet, like me, here's a hint. Roger is specifically using a wooden ladder and has put on a surgical glove for a reason: Safety first in the Pachacamac Family.