They’ve been cursed many a time back here in the office – when will they write, do they not remember us??? But at long last, we have an update from the hard working, hard playing group in Villa Maria this summer – enjoy!
Villa Maria Invierno Group Update
So Villa Maria Invierno 2010 begins: some arrived on a measly bus whilst others arrived in style after being upgraded to business class. Some even decided to get a taxi from the airport leaving the rest of the group waiting for over 2 hours at an unearthly time in the morning; the quote “Chantel got a taxi” is still being used. Lucho hermoso bello lindo guapo.
The first full day in Villa Maria consisted of meeting Alejandro and the gang, which inevitably led to a few surprises for the group – let’s just say Lucho hermoso has an interesting taste in films. We had a tour of the area, including the communities we would be working in, and even met some of the families we would be building houses for. One thing that struck the group was the sheer size of Villa Maria – something that pictures just cannot convey. Lucho bello hermoso.
The rest of the week was made up of building our first two houses alongside community work and being challenged by the locals to the odd game of football – our shins will never be the same after meeting Peruvian Beckham. We learnt many new skills involving tools (well some of us did – Chantel!!) and found muscles which we previously never knew existed.
Unfortunately the week was not without its losses; we mourned the loss of our new friend the puppy Nano. We did our first Domingos Familiares with our very own Lady GaGa in the form of Sam and even attempted a feria even though some of the group were slightly worse for wear due to the night before. Needless to say it resulted in us shouting ‘caramelos’ and throwing sweets for the children to scramble for. After a very satisfying, but painful, two hours the children had bagfuls of goodies and painted faces (varying in quality depending on who had done it.)
We ate Peruvian style with a couple of Polladas which are where food is sold to raise money for the children and families of Villa Maria, and they were delicious. We also celebrated the birthday of one of our leaders with homemade chicken pie which is still the best meal to date. The first week provided us with insights into character traits of some of the group: Tina and Rebekka don’t like dogs which may prove to be a slight problem and Amy loves to talk about certain parts of the male anatomy!
Second week started off with a really long working day – 11am-8pm – which was a struggle to get through considering the amount of beer consumed the night before for Robert’s birthday. However, it was worth it when we managed to complete two houses in one day. The underlying reason for working so hard was so we could go and celebrate Peruvian Food and Independence Day in Miraflores. Lots of Arroz con Pollo, Anticucho and Peruvian deserts consumed. Once we were satiated the group split for the afternoon. Some slept. Some shopped. Lucho es bello bonito guapo.
The evening turned into an eventful fiesta when we hit the town and attempted to visit a few of the clubs in Miraflores. Events of the night include Philsa’s booty shake, Chantel and Robert’s dance-off and Jaz licking windows and screaming for chips. A good night had by all. The rest of week was more of the same; Jo, Charlotte and Philsa wowing everyone with their cooking expertise (or lack thereof); playing with the kids; learning a few dance routines and we even managed to put up a couple of houses.
And so the third week began with us feeling competent in the art of construction; we whacked a few houses together in no time – lovely job! It was the most successful week to date as we built, painted and put up two houses by Wednesday – we think the whole group is proud of their efforts. We were paid a visit by a previous Quest go-er with his group of school children who had returned to paint a house they’d built a few weeks previous. In true Peruvian style Alejandro, Lucho and Pato saw it appropriate to prank them by making them carry buckets full of water up the highest staircase you have ever seen only for it to be poured out at the top! We also celebrated Zoë’s birthday by decorating the whole house and eating cheesecake courtesy of Rob and Peruvian cake courtesy of Alejandro and Chantel. Lucho es bello hermoso lindo.
Next came the biggest treat of the trip: a weekend in Huacachina! It is one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited; sand dunes for miles and miles. On the first evening we took a hard but worth it trek up to top of the sand dunes to watch the sun set, only to realise the fun was still to come with the run down. The night involved lovely Peruvian food and drinks. The Saturday was the funnest day so far with the daytime seeing members of the group soaking up the sun and buying goodies from around town and the evening dedicated to riding in sand buggies and sand boarding. I think we can safely speak for the rest of the group when we say it was one of the most amazing things we’ve ever done and judging by Jaz’s screams one of the most exciting too. The night involved dancing both good (Tina) and bad (Robert) and even saw some romance for three lucky members of the team.
Back to reality with a bump in the fourth week although we found that we’d actually missed our beds here in Villa Maria! As we write this (dressed in Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine costumes) the final two houses are being put up – we are the first Quest team to have built 8 houses and we are all very proud of this achievement. Despite all the early mornings, tiredness, aches and pains it is worth it when we see the finished product of our hard graft and the gratitude on the faces of it’s new residents. Villa Maria we will miss you! Lucho es bello huapo hermoso.