Stairs today. I’ll update tomorrow when I’m not dead exhausted and have time. Right now I have to try to sleep through the ridiculous partyers in the pool outside my room. T_T
Sorry if this is a bit short. I’ve had an exhausting day so I’m writing this on January 4, 2012. So we woke up later than yesterday since we were having breakfast between 6-7. I woke up pretty late (around 5:45) since I figured it wouldn’t take me too long to get ready for stairs anyway. I made my way down and ate one of the yogurt cups I bought the day before. We also had the basic bread and butter, which also came with some sort of ham (that had a peppery taste to it) and some meat spread, similar to the type they put on Vietnamese sandwiches. I was just happy I was getting some protein and not as many carbs. Plus I’ll need that energy to work today on the stairs.
We loaded onto the bus, which contained both UGA, Oregon, and Berkeley people and drove toward the site. I fell asleep during the ride since I was so tired. While we were driving there, I kept thinking, “ oh this isn’t so bad!” But when we finally arrived, I looked up at the path that we were supposed to travel up and I was awestruck. It was steep and slippery, especially since it really was just a hilly area with dirt, sand, and rocks. The trek up was okay; I slipped a couple of times and was traumatized but once we got to the area where the previous day’s group had finished the stairs, we were able to walk up.
When we got to the top, the view was AWESOME. We could see the coast from how high we were. It was pretty warm, but luckily there was a breeze and the sky was a little overcast. First we started with shoveling and mixing the sand and cement. We shoveled the pile right and left again. We then formed a pool to hold the water in order to make the cement. I didn’t do much since I figured I wouldn’t be much help anyway, so I just chilled and applied a third layer of sunblock.
While the cement mixture was being made, we went down the side of the hill to where the wood planks were forming the stairs. This was treacherous. I slipped so many times and had so many life-threatening accidents, I was terrified. Once I was able to find a nice foot hold and place to stand, the passing of the buckets commenced. I have to say, I’ve developed nice arm muscles from that workout. We were basically passing buckets of cement from the mixing area at the top of the mountain to where the stairs were being made halfway down the mountain. I did this for maybe about an hour, sweating profusely, before I switched to the other line which worked on passing empty buckets from the bottom back to be refilled at the top. It was pretty efficient and we worked pretty hard right up until 12:00 when we had to make the treacherous climb back down to get lunch.
Omg that trek was HORRIBLE. Luckily, Joe, one of the MEDLIFE staff, was there to hold my hand and guide me down, but I basically crabwalked down half of that side of the mountain since it offered more stability than just standing and walking. Once we got to the bottom, I was so hungry I had a cereal bar, an entire water bottle, and two sandwiches. FATTIE. It took us about 30 minutes and then we headed back up the hill.
Once back up, it was time for us to start the second set of stairs, but we needed to transport water from water tanks to the cement mixing site. So again, we formed an assembly line, but since the distance was so great, there was at least 10 feet of distance between persons. So we had to carry buckets of water and pass them down to the next person. Being the uncoordinated person that I am with horrible balance, I splashed at least an entire bucket of water on myself while passing them down. I was completely drenched. That plus how dirty the buckets were meant that I was basically caked in dirt; that really didn’t work well with the sweat either. After that, we formed the assembly line again to pass down the cement buckets. Since I was now an experienced cement bucket carrier, I knew the tricks to help me through it. I took another swig of water, found stable footing, and began passing buckets. We took a couple of breaks, but we were working for about 5 hours, just passing cement buckets. During one of our breaks, a community member, Cleo, brought us some Chicha morado to drink. It’s basically a purple colored juice made from corn that tastes similar to jelly beans. Another member also bought us inca Cola, which is a Peruvian soda which tastes similar to bubble gum. We were pretty proud with the amount of work we did, especially since we had less community members helping us out that day, but we did way more work than the group the day before. As we made our way down, some of the group wanted to play soccer with community members. At this point in time I was so tired I just went to the bus myself.
I tried to clean myself off with body wipes. It took about three body wipes and half a bottle of hand sanitized before I switched from feeling absolutely revolting to slightly dirty. My hair was a completely different story though. Gross beyond recognition. Anyway, once everyone finished playing, they got back on the bus. Again, I fell asleep on the bus on the way back and once I did, I wasn’t able to shower since a lot of the other girls who did stairs formed a line before me. So I figured I’d go to dinner and come back and shower when there was no one there.
Went to dinner and had some curry chicken again with spicy soup. I felt disgusting but didn’t really care since I was so hungry. Nommed everything down, went back, and took the most rewarding shower I’ve taken since I’ve gotten here. I must have washed my hair at least three times and scrubbed my body at least twice. I felt so clean and refreshed coming out of the shower so I dressed up pretty nice and got ready since we were going to karaoke that night.
We walked toward the city center again and stopped at the karaoke bar not too far from the park. It was interesting and very different from those in the US. The karaoke was free, but it was required to buy drinks. This made it pretty cheap. They surprisingly had a large amount of English songs, so we had plenty of songs to sing. We were able to fit our group into the 12-person room and sing to our hearts’ content.
We didn’t leave the club until about 11:30 and once we got home, I still had to get ready for bed. Still, it was horrible since people were partying by the pool right outside our room and playing really loud salsa music until 2:00am. I was so exhausted that I just slept through it all.