Saturday January 30, 2010
What a great week! We've only been here 5 days and have already lived 3 weeks of experiences. We are situated in the mountains at approximately 3500 feet altitude with a terrific view of San José and surrounding mountains. We are living the life of the poor and we are living with the poor. Our immediate world is made up of four viviendas (shacks). Our's is neither better nor poorer than our three very close neighbors. Together we make up a rather unique ensemble (dominican and canadian) and have developed an interesting group spirit/culture. If you speak to any member of our group of eight, he/she will express his/her astonishment of the simple life, of freedom, of inclusiveness and of the absence of sophistication. As every day unfolds, experiences keep adding up, experiences that words cannot fully describe the impact each one has on each and everyone of us. You would have to be here! Every moment so far has been rather special.
Construction on the first house is quite advanced. Foundations have been dug-up, poured and the first five feet of the cement-block walls will be completed by next Monday afternoon. The vivienda will measure 400 square feet.
Today was an excursion day at Palenque Beach on the Carrabean Sea. Tomorrow, Father Domingo will introduce us to the community at the 8:00 am mass. Then its back to Derrumbado mid-afternoon to begin construction again at 8:00 am Monday morning. Everyone is anxious to get back. A few gifts have been bought and a social activity planned for the younger ones.
It would be unfair of me not to share some tidbits of our stay in Derrumbado so far:
Chris and Corey took a ride on a donkey, in the dark. Chris almost laughed himself sick and Corey thought the donkey would break. A few people had to help Corey get off the donkey. Guaranteed the locals will never forget the moment.
Jean-Paul can now hold red hot ambers in his hands, as can many others... believe it or not. They even played a game tossing these red ambers to each other. You will have to ask them for a demonstration.
When we arrived in Derrumbado early Tuesday afternoon, it was raining. Mud everywhere; slippery mud like our Manitoba gumbo. And if you go anywhere, you are either going uphill or downhill. Going to the outhouse, at night, with a flashlight, slipping, sliding and falling down will not be forgotten. What a day to begin our experience in the mountains.
Our vivienda is well ventilated, so well so that you can see through the multitude of holes in the walls and the roof. Quite easy to tell when the sun comes up at 7:00. You can feel the wind and endure the rain drops. All bunkbeds and suitcases have now been placed strategically as to fit in between the INTERIOR rain. We love it there and would not trade for a more modern vivienda.
There is no electricity, no running water (there is no water, it has to be trucked in), no radios, no mirrors, no colmado (small store), no... You get the picture. It's wonderful.
Our cook SANTA lives with us and treats us to incredible meals. If one was to lose weight, one would have to be very determined and well disciplined.
We are living in the company of chickens, a multitude of chicks, pigs, cows, donkeys, horses, dogs, roosters and probably another animal! And of course dominican roosters and dogs have no concept of time. They think, it quite appropriate to express themselves freely at all hours of the night.
In the interest of meeting a deadline, I will end here and hopefully be able to return to you next week. There is so much more to describe. For the RED RIVER MISSION group of eight coming down on M onday Feb. 08, please take note of the following:
It can get rather cool at sundown and overnight. Bring an extra blanket or do as many of
us do, sleep with your clothes on.
We are frequently stepping into wet material, mostly cement. Review your footwear.
Sunblok is a must. You should see most of us 'lobsters'!
Aussitot que possible, probablement demain dimanche le 31 janvier, nous vous ferons parvenir la
version francasise. Pour le moment, le temps nous manque, ou nous allons manquer de se rendre a l'internet a temps. Hasta luego.