Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blog Updates and other chores.

So I received a polite letter from Google informing me that I've been nominated for the world's laziest blogger for my lack of updates. Instead of a substantial cash award, they told me to get my act together because my "mother is worried sick about me." So let me start this epic updating session with a theme: chores.

Chore 1: Ditch Digging:

Here's the municipality of Huaripampa putting in a water/sewage system. Sarita is our narrator for this video, but its windy so it may be hard to hear. Basically you should note how uniform and deep this hand dug ditch is; and think, how is this going to hold up in the next 6 months of hard rains? (let's be honest, I doubt the project will be finished before the start, OR the end, of the rainy season).

Chore 2: Gathering Wood:

Dina cooks on wood. I eat the food. So when she asked me to come back from Caraz early on day to help Roger and his brother cut and haul wood from the river bottom, obviously I said "Claro! Estare alli!!! (Of course, I'll be there!!). The rim of the river valley is about a 10 minute walk from our house, and then from there its a steep 300 foot drop to the river. On this day we went down 2/3rds of the way to a lush gully to cut our wood. Roger chopped, his brother stacked, and Yeferson and I hauled it up to the top of the rim, where Dina and Yordan were waiting. I over loaded myself the first trip and almost died of a heart attack on the way up, but but by the last trip I finally figured out that burn branches can be bundled high, while fresh logs were a lot heavier... live and learn. Here's a few videos and pictures:
Dina and Yordi waiting at the top in this cool carved out rock.

Yefer and Negra coming up with a piece of wood

Yefer and Roger at the wood stash. 

Roger using a super blunt ax to cut the wood.

The trail back to the top.

Yefer standing on Dina and Yordi's rock as the sun sets. 

The lumberjacks. I'm the one holding the log in the background. 

Chore 3: Holy Frijoles:

I returned from New Years vacation in Arequipa to find that Roger and Dina had harvested and dried the beans they had grown in their chacra. After drying the beans, they beat the shells with large sticks and stomped on them. After the bean beat-down, the shells are scooped away leaving just the bean and a few leafs and broken shells. This was then gathered up in buckets and dumped into the wind over a tarp. The heavy beans fall to the tarp, and the rest was blown away with the wind. Luckily we did this before the rains came, and had the help of Dina's brother*, Roger's dad, and Dina's sister (and two of her kids).
The beating of the beans.

This was easily Yeferson's favorite part.

More bean beating.

After the smack-down, the whole crew got busy picking up the individual beans. 

Collecting the beans.

It was a lot of work for the end results.

*Dina's brother had a baby boy the day before and the family was asking me for names in English**. I pushed hard for Brice Patrick, but they weren't buying it. At the end of the video you'll see a list of names that they were considering.

** It's pretty typical that people ask for common or famous English names. Unfortunately, there is a lack of individual research, or a few too many mean pranksters, as volunteers in the area often report having a child in their classes with horrible names, like Hitler or Stalin. Fortunately, there has been at least one reported John F. Kennedy running around the Ancash area.