Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thought of the day-Jean
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~ Unknown.

Journal -Christina
Today the four of us who went to the village- Jean, Emily, Dennis and I- were separated by sex. Dennis was taken to shovel mud to form a concrete retaining wall at the aquaduct. We heard as we trekked to the home of a villager for lunch that it is arduous work- the mud is heavy and there are rocks that must be dislodged with a prybar.

We stopped briefly at the one-room school, we were introduced to the class of primary school children, mostly boys. Their desks are grouped by grade; the same man teaches all grades. We understood that, on Thursday, one of us will spend some time teaching English.

From there, we returned to the building which houses the lunchroom with kitchen at one end. For the first two days of school, the children have been dismissed for the day at lunchtime, so we´ve been using the room as our base.

The kitchen faucet had been dripping steadily on Monday. No amount of turning the knob would make it cease. So, I got a large pot and put it under to catch the drips. Periodically, I transferred the accumulation to an enormous pot. The rabid environmentalists among us could not bear to see the loss of water and not do anything to rectify it. On Tuesday, there was a steady stream flowing, so the water accumulated faster than the pot could be emptied into the enormous one. This effort is a “drop in the bucket”. We use the accumulated water to flush the toilet which is in a closet adjacent to the kitchen.

Jean headed to the chainlink fence with a woman from the community where they began painting it something akin to silver Rustoleum. Emily and I were destined to MORE wire brushing, this time, it was to remove paint from the exterior of the cinderblock school. Our “ladder” was two desks with three boards of varying widths.

After “lemonade break”, the only officially-sanctioned break- I took others to consult my English/Spanish dictionary- Emily joined the fence-painting, making it now a CREW. Umberto and I, wordlessly at first, continued wire brushing. Presently, he began to speak to me in Spanish. I, of course, was without my dictionary, but gamely tried to reply to his questions.

By the end of the afternoon, we had completed painting one side of the school and 14 sections of fence. I am not certain WHAT Dennis did at the construction site, but it was arduous. At lunchbreak, I tried volunteering to join Dennis, who declined my offer. Since I know about his activities in the women´´s movement, I am not certain that he rebuffed me because he believed I can´t do the work. It is possible that he thought I shouldn´´t slog around in mud wearing shorts, which is what I was wearing before I started to paint.

One of my goals for the time I am here is to expend enough effort that I SWEAT . Michelle, Sue, Maryanne returned to Casem but they didn´t fill potholes today. I was told that Maryanne wheelbarrowed and the others did helpful things indoors at the coop.

If I am going to work off any of the good food I am consuming, I will have to persevere at persuading Dennis that I will be an asset, rather than a hinderance because she injures herself!

Christina – veteran of January 12-23, 2007 Global Volunteers Costa Rica Team in Los Tornos and First Global Volunteers Team to Australia (CAMU in Kennedy), Feb.-March 2004.

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