Dec 20, 2009

Our African Friends Arrive

With the coming of the Lesotho friends, the second terrace is poured.
Category:Peru 2009/10 
Posted by: Rome

Hello Everyone!

It's Sunday here and the Week 1 team is halfway through their time here already!

I know they are all happy to have missed the process of unloading, passing up the hill and stacking the 4,000 concrete blocks on Monday and Tuesday before they arrived!
At 24+ pounds a piece it was quite a process and we are all glad to have it done.

Our 7 friends from Lesotho arrived on Thursday evening at 10 pm and frankly looked a bit shell shocked at the airport. They had trouble of some kind at each stop. At the border between Lesotho and South Africa, they were told that it isn't legal to have more than 4 people in a van without a permit....this meant delay, conversation and a bit of cash in order to proceed. (Since they cross that boarder often, this was new, surprising, and probably not even a new law....but hey, whatever it takes....)

When they finally got to the airport in Joburg 5 hours later, they were told their flight was full. Catherine and Emmanuel pressed on and they managed to get on the plane. From there they had a transfer in San Juan which went better for them. Only their seats were all over the place, but at least they were on their way.

Once Hector and I arrived back at the site with them, they were very happily greeted by our volunteers and several of the locals who stayed up to be the first ones to meet them. Off to crash they went, with an 8 hour time difference, our wake up at 5:15 am was no big deal ;-)

Project wise, lots has gotten accomplished with this week's team.
We have a painting team led by Keith who is plowing through getting the whole steel building's primer touched up and re-coated as necessary. They've already begun the final coating process at the west end.
Steve has been leading a small army of people with shovels and wheelbarrows, digging the footing trench for the second terrace.
Conal has been leading the framing team who has been building the window and door buck-outs and building and setting the footing forms.
Emily and Lisa have been cutting, bending and tying rebar for the concrete.

Yesterday, everyone was drawn into action because we decided to see if we could pour the whole 2nd terrace footing in the half day that we work on Saturdays. We got up an hour earlier and hit it!
Steve and Conal set forms,
Lexi ran the sawyer station,
Em and Lisa followed with rebar,
Wayne ran the mixer,
Colette ran a troupe of local moms who were all over getting the buckets at the mixer station filled with gravel, rough sand, fine sand and cement. (She had them doing stretches while the mixer was spinning!)
Then came the 'boogie' brigade of wheelbarrows to the bottom of the hill!
The Lesotho team had experience with this! They would literally chase their wheelbarrow full of concrete down the sandy hill, braking as needed by dragging the legs.
Not everyone made the turn at the bottom ;-)
Fuchs had to show off by running back up the hill with his empty wheelbarrow!
David who speaks Spanish, organized the group of people who pushed the empty wheelbarrows back up the hill, so the person who ran it down could get a rest.
Lots of cheering, lots of tired people, 7 hours later....60% of the footing trench was full.
We'll finish it on Monday.

After the pour, people showered and Ericka organized a van tour of Lima, the catacombs and a few other stops for an evening adventure. Naps on the way home....

Today is Sunday and Ericka and her Mom hosted a traditional event of giving the neighborhood kids a special holiday chocolate drink and a small gift.
500 excited kids later, our little campus is quiet again.
Most everyone has gone off to have lunch at the shore in Ancon and then participate in the Peru, USA, Lesotho soccer challenge!
I'm standing by with ice and ibuprofen!

I wish you all a very special holiday and I hope something makes you grin more than usual this week,