Thursday, May 30, 2013

Since Sunday, May 26, 2013

It’s Thursday, May 30, 2013, and we’ve got a lot of the project completed. At the rate we’re going, we may be finished with all of our construction by Sunday rather than next Wednesday. Gabe and Axel (Gabe’s friend) arrived Monday night and have been a huge help to our project! Our days here at CETHA are pretty much comprised of eating breakfast, reviewing our agenda for the day, working till lunch time, eating lunch, nap/rest time, and working again until dinner. After dinner, we prepare for the next day by treating drinking water and going through a construction plan for the next day. Once all of our errands are finished, we hang around and have fun conversations…though we find most of our conversations leading to food. Monday night though, we borrowed a student’s guitar and sang a few songs for them. Wes played the guitar while Ben beat boxed, sang, and hummed like a trumpet. They’re both pretty much their own band with us as their backup singers. The students got a big laugh out of Ben’s beat boxing. So did us. We asked the students if they could perform for us, but they said we had to wait till cultural night on Wednesday. After singing Stairway to Heaven, Lion Sleeps Tonight, and a couple of other songs, we all gazed at the stars. The stars here are so mesmerizing! There’s hardly any light pollution, so we can see the Milky Way, lots of constellations, and stars twinkling like sunbeams!

Clean plate club!
On Tuesday, Christina and Ben headed out to Cochabamba with Damian to attend a CETHA meeting and buy more materials. From the CETHA meeting, we were able to gage possible future projects we could do. Tuesday was also our hardest working day, since we had to work with concrete and do a lot heavy lifting.

Framework to hold concrete in: patch tank hole and insert an outlet pipe
Gabe and Axel mixing concrete
Paul and Gabe mixing concrete
Wednesday turned out a bit different than we planned. Ben and Christina weren’t able to return till late in the evening and we are all pretty worn out from Tuesday’s work, so we ended up having somewhat of a rest day. And by rest, we mean, we did more cardio than heavy lifting. We started our day as another typical work day, but realized that we still didn’t have all of our materials, so Gabe and Axel went out to Cochabamba for the day. It’s a little crazy how we have to travel about 4 hours away to get our appropriate materials. While they were out getting supplies, the rest of the team hiked up to CETHA’s upper spring. It’s not that far up, but the climb there is pretty steep. After assessing their upper spring, we hiked up some more to the top of the mountain for fun. Altitude difference was definitely working against us during this hike, but the view was worth it. We were pretty much on all fours, using trees and shrubs to help us climb. There were a lot of rocks, but they weren’t helpful at all! I call them deceiving rocks, mainly because they look sturdy, but they crumble into powder or break off with just a light touch. After enjoying and soaking in the view, we tried to figure out how to get down. It was a lot of crab walking and sliding down the mountain.

Upper spring box
Upper spring box view of CETHA

View from top of the mountain
Thankfully, we made it just in time for lunch! We actually had meat! It was goat meat that they prepared earlier that week. After a wonderful siesta time, the students asked if we could play soccer with them at another school because they finished school early that day. We were a little unsure because we initially planned to continue working throughout the afternoon, but then they said that they wouldn’t be able to play unless we did. I’m pretty sure it was an excuse to force us to say yes, but we didn’t mind. Haha. We’re glad they want to include is in their activities! So, we walked over to a school in a town called Jatun-Kasa, down the road (30 minute walk). There were a lot more students in this school, mostly girls. Girls and boys play separately, so the guys played the first soccer round. Ben, Wes, Paul, and the professors teamed against the students. I think our guys did pretty well! They lost, but considering how easily tired we get from this altitude, they did great! While the guys played, Christina; Alec; and Laura, hung out with the other students. They were a little shy at first, but quickly became comfortable with us. They were all so beautiful and adorable! A lot of the girls were interested in our cameras, so we showed them pictures of our trip so far in Bolivia and let them play with our cameras. One of the best ways to get pictures of the students is to let them play with your camera. Then it was the girls turn to play soccer. We didn’t do so great…hahaha, but it was a lot of fun! After our soccer match, the guys and Christina played basketball and Alec played hackey-sack with the girls. Those girls are natural hackey-sack players, it was awesome! We did great in our basketball game (height advantage kind of helps ;) )!! Before we knew it, it was dinner time!
Thunderdome! Basketball/Volleyball/Soccer court all in one
Girls soccer match
Huddling to look at pictures
Beautiful students
Apparently, every Wednesday is cultural night, so the students prepared a string of talent shows for us. They danced, played guitar/chiranga, performed a comedy skit, and discussed their culture with us. They have such a colorful and beautiful culture. By their request, we performed a little as well. Christina and Ben explained our culture and then we sang a few songs: Lion Sleeps Tonight, Let it Be, Brown Eyed Girl, and a Wagon Wheel/No Woman, No Cry/Don’t Stop Believing mash. Yea, EWB-NCSU travel band right here! We’ve really enjoyed our time here at CETHA so far! We’ll write about today’s adventures later, but siesta time just finished and it’s back to work! Hasta manana!


Another work day for us! The weather was pleasant today though; it started out warm (about 70 F) and carried out through the day, until the sun went down and it was coats, scarves, and hats time again. We usually have some kind of fruit after lunch (so far, we’ve had bananas and mandarins), but today there was no fruit. We call them our dessert. No worries though, because Gabe and Axel brought sugar canes and a lot of mandarins with them! It was our first time having sugar cane and we loved it! Aside from working throughout the day, Gabe, Kia, and Christina had a Q&A with the students about our culture, politics, agriculture, geography, and history. Man, the community here really is great! We ended the night playing Rummy and eating peanut butter right out of the jar!
Sugar cane!

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