Were moving right along in our new objectives, with a newly elected water board in the community. The secretary Melida told us in our first meeting how sorry they all felt that they hadn´t gotten together the new water board sooner to take more advantage of our time in the community, and how happy she was that we kept after things and kept talking to people, working with kids in school, etc. She became interested because her oldest son came home and was telling her about our bacteria results and that the water from the source they drink is contaminated and they needed to boil it. Her comments just about made the trip for me... whatever happens we are doing some good.
The community is in the midst of the 3 day party to celebrat their 44th anniversary (3 days of chicha, dancing, drumming, and food). We´re now in the process of working with the contractor and the municipalitý´s social liason to hammer out a manual of administration and all the associated forms, and a manual of operation and maintenance of their system. Definitely interesting and challenging. Right after the party we´re going to round up the community and start the physical construction in the dam, and train the important people in how to manage their respective tasks (and of teach the working sof everything, technical and social, the 6 member water board and a few other interested community members to have a good body of people who really understand their system). A couple of days ago we had another community meeting to talk about the related issues of health and higiene that complement a potable water system to improve the health of the community. Only this time, with the help of another volunteer in thec ommunity, we had a very well planned meeting with activities, cards, etc, and incentives. We visited every house to give a personal invitation the day before, and almost every family came : )
I just love, love, the community and the atmosphere - imagine a community of handmade wooden houses, some with corrugated metal roofs and some with palm frond roofs, gathered around a large plaza/ soccer field, overlooking a broad and rocky river, with layers of hilly rainforest fading back to mountains and clouds. Its breathtaking. And the atmosphere... . Its a different attitude of work and organization... much more ¨traquilidad¨ and waiting to see what happens, which is hard for my american demand for solutions, plans, timetables and results, but also really relaxing once you get into it. The trick is to rally the organization and drive that they definitely do have, and work in their terms.
Lots of fun stories to share, but I´ll close with one. Our family asked us a couple of times if we knew how to cook pizza. We said sure, but who knows how it will turn out when the only source of heat to cook with is a fire. (Think about it most american kitches have have an oven, 4 burners on the stove, a toaster, and a microwave... thats 7 places to heat things up). Actually, it turned out rather delicious... We made some dough with water, salt, and flour (they don´t really use yeast around here), rolled it out with a nalgene bottle, and then fried it on the lid of a pot with some vegetable oil. We flipped it over, and on the toasted side put precooked sauce complete with tomatoes, meat, and vegetables, and then some shredded mozerella cheese (the flavor is something else here, i´m not a huge fan, but at least its cheese for my wisconsin blood). Back on the fire it went, covered with another lid of a pot, and once the cheese melted, off again. And wonder of all wonders, it tasted delicious--not all that far off from real pizza--and our family loved it.
Ciao for now,Kendra