Hello and welcome to part 9 of my blog!! Sorry it's been a while but I've been really busy here in Peru!! I Can't really remember too much about the first few days of last week but I'll give it my best shot!!
Stars and Stripes Forever!!!
Sunday was July 4th, which apparently is a big thing in America!! So to celebrate we had a big barbeque in the house's yard. It was 10 soles (about £2.50) for all you could eat of the food plus all you can drink of the god-aweful punch they made. After a few hours chilling and listening to American music we headed down to the beach to watch the sun set. Feeling sleepy from having a few too much punch I soon headed to bed.
On Monday morning I was supposed to return to Maria's house with my team to put the finishing touches on the foundations of the house, however we hadn't heard from Maria or the maestro to tell us what to do. After a frantic morning of making phone calls it turned out that the maestro wasn't coming and he hadn't even bought the wood to make form boards out of. This meant we couldn't work there, so I hopped on another project. I was helping Will on Edwin's house, which was a project to build a brick house for Edwin and his wife and daughter. In the morning we had to strip out the wooden supports for the column and in the afternoon we cleaned a pile of bamboo that was to be used for the roof. With Edwin away for most of the day working we talked to his wife at lunch, who was really keen to learn English. They also had a crazy dog who was tied up at the bottom of the garden who would not stop barking. Edwin's house was situated next door to Caeser's house, who was the maestro on the school football pitch I worked on a few weeks ago. After we finished Edwin gave both Will and I as well as Jason and Yanni from the other project a lift home.
It was Yanni's birthday on Monday so a big group of us dutifully headed out to the usual spots of the Pisco Sour Bar and Afro-Cafe before turning in for the night. For those counting that made four nights drinking in a row as well as an unhappy Tom on Tuesday morning!!
Workin' 9 to 3!
When Tuesday came around we finally got the go-ahead for Maria's house, so I took a big team as well as the cement mixer to finish off the foundations. Fearing we would stop helping her, Maria had wisely decided to replace the old maestro with two new maestros who were up and running building the form boards by the time we had got there. After waiting around for an hour or so for them to finish, we started pouring the cement. Tuesday proved much easier than the monster day that was Saturday and after about two hours of work we had finished. Maria served us all food then in the twenty minutes that it took for the truck to arrive Maria served us all loads of wine, beer and Pisco. The next day three of our team of six were ill!! Thankfully I wasn't one of them. After spending the rest of the day relaxing in the common room we had our weekly football game with the tour guides. I'm going to stop mentioning this game since its almost always the same story; we take the early lead, hold it for most of the match, then they find a few goals from nowhere ten minutes from time. I spent the rest of the night by the fire, refusing to drink any more!!
With the cement still setting and the maestros unavailable I spent the rest of the week on different projects. On Wednesday I went to Aceros Arequipa, the huge steel plant that PSF gets its free wood from. This was pretty much the same as last time I was there, where we sorted the wood into piles of suitable wood for building houses with and unsuitable wood to be left. After an hour and a half of sorting we loaded up a truck and took it back to our woodyard to unload. We went for lunch at a restaurant down the road, before watching the end of the Germany vs Spain match. I was gutted that Germany lost as eight of us had a sweepstake in which I had zee Germans! In the afternoon we put away all the wood before heading back to the house. After showering and eating we all gathered around for "tool time" where we were shown how to use a drill, a circular saw, an angle grinder and an electric plane. Later everyone gathered round for Music Night, where everyone was encouraged to showcase their musical talents. I was bullied into giving another rendition of Blue Suede Shoes in the style of Elvis Prestley to everyone's amusement!! After a few hours of merriments I headed to bed.
The Prodigal Son Returns
On Thursday I went back to Florangel's house, which was the project that I had lead, but abandonned to work on Maria's house. After a couple of hours of hard work moving bricks and levelling the floor, we found ourselves with very little work to do whilst the maestro was preparing the form boards for the column we had to fill with cement. This lead to a good two or three hours of thinking up games to play to keep us occupied!! At about 4 o'clock we finally got started pouring the column and about an hour later we had finished. On the evening I attended a Criteria Selection meeting which was held by Thays, the project manager to help decide which houses would be considered for future work by the organisation. We spent a good hour and a half discussing the various factors to be taken into consideration. Afterwards I again curled up by the fire before heading to bed.
During Friday's morning meeting I signed up to pour a concrete floor outside Ludoteca, the day-care centre where we usually work at. This entailed going to a depot and filling our truck with materials, then bringing them to the centre and doing another concrete pour. Concrete at this stage seems to be my speciality!! After a couple of hours making the floor, it became apparent that we didn't have enough materials to fill the entire area that we had planned for. This meant we had to move the form boards in and leave it half completed. I was told that this was a particularly difficult floor to finish, meaning the end result was a slighly wonky, lumpy floor!!
Friday was a pretty special day as our director, Dave (nicknamed TBC) was leaving early on the next day for a month. So to honour him we all headed down to the beach again and had another barbeque. Oh yeah, and we also burned a ten-foot wooden TBC to the ground, which was fun! We all headed back to the house before heading back out to the Pisco Sour bar. We were supposed to go to the "Pisco Disco" but me and a few others got parted from the group and so we just headed home!!
The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on Fire!!!!
On Saturday I decided to head over to Caeser's house to help Jason pour cement on to the roof. After an hour or so of doing odd-jobs, we got started pouring. Cement mixing for the roof was slightly different as we used a mix of sand and broken sea shells, which was kind of odd, plus the mix was dryer and it had to be poured into bucket to be carried up onto the roof, instead of wheelbarrows. A couple of hours later we had finished and Caeser's wife made us some lunch. We had a few beers before leaving to watch the rest of the Germany-Uruguay game. On Saturday afternoon we headed to the football pitch with the intent of playing cricket. However the pitch was double booked, so we only had half an hour, so we plyed football instead. After an hour waiting for the other game to finish, we returned to play cricket. We had a pretty good game going, but to my eternal shame I got bowled out by a Peruvian guy who had never played cricket before (though in my defense it was clearly a no-ball!!). We headed to a restaurant to grab dinner before heading back to the house. A quiet night ensued, with most of us just sitting by the fire talking again.
Not much happened on Sunday morning, in fact the majority of people didn't surface until 1.30pm when the world cup final got underway. The gas station's bar was crammed with our volunteers watching the game. After the game finished and Spain were victorious I headed on a mission to go to town to get some cash and find some socks (as a few of mine had been lost and a few had holes in!). Whilst at the Plaza I met up with Dan and Charlotte, a couple I had been working with all week, and we headed to the market. After a succesful hour I headed back in time for sunset. On the night I had a few beers and a few of us Brits started a "British Music Only" night! A few hours and a fair bit of alcohol later I was drawn in by some cheers and jeers to the common room, where an impromptu boxing club had broken out. I was keen to join in feeling drunkenly confident, however my face sank when the only guy willing to fight me was Jason, who regular readers will remember is a keen amateur boxer who is stacked. I gave it my best shot and managed to get a few good punches in, but did also managed to get punched in the face a lot in the five minutes or so we were going for!! I stayed to watch the rest of the fights before retiring to my room.
This morning (Monday) I was back project-leading at Maria's house. Today we started laying bricks, which is to say the maestros started laying bricks; We just basically watched them laying in between intermittently moving bricks and mixing bits of mortar. After taking a long lunch Danny and I returned for about half an hour before realising we were no longer needed.
So that's why I haven't written a blog in eight days!!! It has been an exhaustingly busy week. Also figured out this week that my camera is totally broken, so will try to find someone else's photos to put up onto this blog!! Still having a brilliant time at PSF, there are some awesome people coming and going and I'm looking forward to another awesome week!