Chincha - building houses
Well its Monday morning 8am, i've already been up two hours and am waiting for 1st period to start in about 10 mins time. Feeling pretty knackered, struggling to move and to keep my eyes open! Over the weekend I went on a school trip to a place called Chincha where there are some pretty run down communities and a lot of families that were affected by a major earthquake in 2007. Many homes were knocked down and are yet to be rebuilt and some families were living in squalor anyway.
Soo the school has invested in a project to build these people some houses. In some ways I was scpetical - it seems like a nice thing for the well off kids in Lima to come and think they're helping people out while really they just throw paint at eachother and giggle a lot - but I think these communities probably do genuinely benefit from the work. We were up 5am Saturday morning to treck to Chincha, put up our tents and then off to the work site. I was in the 'non student group' of only 4 of us so we had to work extra hard! Pretty terrifying that I, the least technically able person in the world was 1/4 resposnsible for the putting up of these people's house! it was a boiling day and regular cokes were a must, bought for like $0.50 from a little tienda from some scarey women! Once again being short, blonde and hopeless looking paid off and the men of the group decided it would be dangerous for me to do anything actually worthwhile or serious, like lifting or sawing or hammering so I enjoyed a lesuirely paint in the sun. But only for about 5 minutes because it wasn't long before it was realised that I was needed to do all of these 'man jobs' and i was soon hammering away, getting lovely and sweaty and tired! i made a friend in my rubbish spanish, a boy in the community of 11 and roped him in to help me with all these jobs. i gave him my sunglasses which were returned to me (with an offering of a packet of crisps!) completely covered in paint! i have a picture of him somewhere, that might eventually make it on here!
After saturday was over and i was feeling pleased with my handiwork, we grabbed an amazing steak dinner in chincha - im not normally a steak person as such but turns out labourers really do work up an appetite - and this was incredible! And then after a fleeting visit around town it was back to base and to bed in tents. Yawn. Woke up stiff and to the sounds of roosters and moaning dogs and at the lovely, bright time of 4.30. But I got up, got breakfast first and began sunday raring to finish my house. It took a lot longer the second day than we'd anticipated. all the little finishing off jobs - apparently they wanted windows and a door pfft - took forever and the painting of a whole house takes a long time! but once it was done, we stood proudly to admire our handiwork. It looked pretty shocking actually and is just basically a square house with 3 rooms but an improvement on the huts locals were living in previously i hope. Unlike my fantasy of crying mothers and excited children at the arrival of a new home for them, we were sent away with a sort of nod from the family and I left a little deflated.
But a lot of good has come from it. I had a good workout in the process, enjoyed some steak, met some new people and discovered that despite Mr Pimms outrage in year 7 art at my paintings that i am a pretty damn good wall painter and that i can hammer in the odd nail here and there!
All for now,