Only six more days in Las Tolas, and I've got alot of mixed emotions. It's been an interesting week. I take it from the weather that 'winter' has finally arrived, as it's been pouring rain nonstop for four days now. Pouring. The conception of seasons is interesting here, it seems as if seasons are unrelated to time, as last week when it was warm Alonso was telling me it was summer. But then the rains start, and suddenly it's winter. There's nothing in between. These last few days have been very wet, which I think makes my being about to leave a little bit easier.
I've had a pretty standard week. The one big new thing I did was go birdwatching with Salomon. We set off in the lechero early in the morning and got off at the last stop, which happens to be the Finca I work on, but then continued down the road instead of taking the path to the Finca. We got incredibly lucking in the first few minutes, seeing some black and red tucans, red black and white carpenters, tiny yellow tangerines, a beautiful green and blue tucanet, and several others. This part was really awesome. We saw various other birds as we walked further down the road deeper into the forested mountains, but the first few mintues were the best. We saw some cool vultures, Garcos (which are white stork-like birds), and several others.
Unfortunately, around 9:30 or so it got really, really cloudy, and it became impossible to see anything else. We walked to someones farm to grab a chainsaw which Salomon needed on his farm later, and then headed back. I could have hired and called a car to take me back to the village, but as I was only a couple of kilometers from the farm, I had Salomon drop me off on his motorcycle and I went to the farm for the rest of the day.
I had lunch and then spent the evening cleaning sugarcane and later cooking Panela. I slept on the farm, and it rained hard all night, and in the morning, leaving two foot deep mud everywhere. That day I cooked Panela all morning, and cleaned and hauled more sugarcane. We made at least seventy-five bricks, about 60$ worth, but I am pretty sure they cleared at least a hundred bricks by the end of the day. That was thursday.
I rode back to town on the motorcycle through torrential rain, after hiking back to the road through deep mud. I was with Elvirea again, and I was sure I was going to fall into mud banks at least five times on the trip. Elvirea made me feel better by pointing out all the spots where other people had fallen with her on the bike. 'I thought no one has ever been hurt on a motorcycle here?' I said, or as much in Spanish. 'No one's ever hurt, but they fall all the time.' Huh.
At anyrate, I didn't fall, and halfway back Salomon passed us on his bigger bike and took Elvirea, which left me to ride back alone, with a huge smile, kicking up puddles and arriving in the village totally soaked, and ready for a trickle of lukewarm shower water, to realize that the water was out in the village (and has been for four days). C'est la vie. Eso es la vida.
Friday I went to teach English again in San Luis with Cecillia. It was great fun. The kids were thrilled to see me, and I taught them how to say on, and under, in sentences, along with a bunch of review of animals, food, house objects, and of course, head-shoulders-knees and toes. After lunch we played soccer, girls vs. guys, which was hilarious. Everytime I got the ball all the girls screamed in terror, and all the guys screamed in Jubilation. We ended up losing 0-1, but it was a great game. I didn't play my hardest, as a teacher and three feet above the next person I would have probably hurt someone, but in all honesty we got beat by a bunch of little school-girls. Eso es la vida. Tons of fun nonetheless. It was dry all morning, and as soon as we got back to the village it started pouring again.
That night there was a goodbye celebration for the French girls, which involves them being 'pied' with a cake, as in having their faces pushed into a giant cake. Hilarious. The cake was delicious and they then proceeded to spend two hours picking out jewelery from Marianna and Rene. I'm sad to see them go, they were good company, but they invited me to come stay with them in Lyons, France, an offer I fully intend to take them up on at some point.
|Lara and Miranda after getting caked|
There's a new volunteer here, another Aussie from Melbourne, just for the week, named Stuart, whom everyone calls Stuartlittle, with a horrible accent. This is funny as hes taller then me, and thus the tallest person in the village (Damn, ousted!).