May brings us up to the present day in Villa Maria…
The team all dressed up and ready for the Sunday show…
So here’s this week’s update 🙂
We’ve now reached the end of our third week in Villa Maria, and I don’t think we’ve seen the time go by. It’s all gone so quickly! On Monday, we carried on setting up the new classrooms for the school and painting what will soon be the bathrooms, and in the evening we recieved a visit from John, from Quest! We had quite a lovely meal, together with the Peruvians, although John had to leave after only an hour.
On Tuesday we headed of for Huacachina (or Wakachina, as I spelled it in the team diary before realizing my mistake). After a 6 AM wake-up call and a five hour long bus ride (very, very bumpy roads but beautiful views), we finally arrived at the hostel. And what a hostel! It was beautifully decorated, had a pool and seemed to us like a five-star hotel after our very basic lodging in Villa Maria. But best of all was the weather….We had come from a cold, foggy and rainy town to a beautifully sunny village, surrounded by sand dunes. Sophie was especially blown away; she could’t stop smiling and letting out little cries of joy.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and then went sandboarding–an incredible experience. The dune buggy ride going up and down he dunes was exciting enough (like a roller coaster!) but the sandboarding was great fun. We were all terrible at it, of course, and fell millions of times (especially Matt–he had two rather disastrous falls, where he catwheeled into the air several times, but he ended up without a scratch) but it was still great. Emily did a wonderful job of teaching Callum to sandboard, and he actually managed quite well!
Afterwards, we went to the top of a dune to watch the sunset and headed back. Back at the hostel, after emptying the kilos of sand out of our clothing, we had the most exciting experience yet: taking a hot shower! (We’ve found that, living in a shantytown, you really do learn to appreciate the little things. The boiler is very temperamental.) For the rest of the small trip, we simply enjoyed to scenery and the weather and seized our first opportunity to be tourists–we went souvenir shopping, and had quite a good time. Finally, it was time to face the five hour bus ride back home.
On Thurday, we spent almost the entire day building our second house–in just one day, we had managed to build 5 out of 6 walls, and would have done the 6th if we hadn’t been missing materials. Quite good for 7 people, I must say! Thursday night was Callum’s birthday, so Lucho, the comical Peruvian, cooked for all of us. He made his famous ‘pollo a la Coca Cola’ (yes, that oes mean chicken with Coca Cola!). It was delicious (or so I was told–I had an upset stomach so couldn’t eat most of it). Yet another lovely evening.
Friday we finished the house, and on Saturday we went to assemble it. It was very touching, more than the first because in the first case, we were setting up a house for a family who was renting one and only had a plot of land. In this case, the family (that included the mother, the daughter, her husband, their baby, the mother’s four children and an orphaned child whose parents had been family as well) had a house, but it was made of bits of rotten wood, plastic and other scrap materials nailed together. We spent the morning pulling all of that apart and putting up the house that we had made. I think that we were all very glad to give that family a new home–they really, really needed it.
That afternoon, we had the Feria for the children as well (my facepainting stand was flooded with children, as usual, and I ended up continuing to paint faces half an hour after it had ended because they had all been waiting for so long). Today is Sunday afternoon, and we are about to have a rehearsal for the Domingo Familiar, in which we will not only be dressing up as giant cartoon characters, dancing and singing, but performing a play! (Lucho sprung the idea on Emily about half an hour ago–his shouts of excitement could be heard halfway across town). All in all, we’ve had a lovely week. I’m sorry if this blog is a bit long, but I wanted to make up for last week’s which wasn’t recieved… Hope you enjoyed reading it!