Monday Feb. 14, 2011
Today is travel day. The group met at the airport at 7:00 A.M. for an 8:30 departure. Everyone of us brought along 1 bag with our supplies and 1- 50 lb. bag with all the donations for the orphanage. We got to Toronto on time, had a quick lunch, then off to Lima. 8 hours later at 9:40 PM we arrived at the Lima airport. As soon as we got off the plane we felt the heat and humidity, Once we received our luggage, security wanted to randomly go through our donation bags, they checked 2 and then decided to let us pass. We then met our contacts who guided us to our bus to make our way to the hotel. The traffic in Lima is amazing. The roads are about 5 lanes wide and they aren’t marked. Nobody drives in lanes, so in these 5 lanes you might have 7 vehicles wide in some places, 6 in others and maybe even 8 in some. We got to the hotel around 11:30, settled in, went out for a quick snack and then off to bed around 2:00 AM.
Tuesday Feb.15, 2011
Everyone was up around 7:00 for a continental breakfast. The people were extremely nice. Our bus was leaving the hotel at 10:00 for a 2.5 hour bus ride to Canete. All 22 of us with our luggage got into a 26 person bus. Only about a quarter of the luggage fit under the bus so the rest was put into a small quarter ton truck driven by Ton, the coordinator for the volunteers, we then stuffed the rest of the luggage into the back seat of the bus. Real joined Ton for the ride to Canete
The area we were staying in was fairly affluent and commercialized. After about 5 minutes on the bus you could start to see another side of Lima. The buildings were getting more and more run down, garbage could be seen on the street and in the yards. Once we got to the city limits, the houses were now no bigger and than most of our backyard sheds and located in very close proximity to each other. Many of them had no roofs or part roofs. The terrain outside Lima is dessert like. The dirt and sand are fairly hilly. You can’t help but wonder how these people survive day to day!
When we arrived at Canete we were again amazed by the drivers. Once off the paved road we were on a trail of sandy dust. The orphanage is about 1 KM outside of Canete. We got a first look at the houses we were going to be working on. We arrived at our camp at around 12:30. There was a group from Alberta there waiting for us to take our bus back to Lima. We had a chance to talk to the other group to get some helpful hints. Our accommodations are 19 tents, on grass scattered in a non shaded area about 300 ft x 200 ft. A majority of the tents are about 6 ft x 8 ft and in very good shape. All around this grass area is acres of dusty dirt. The weather is hot (around 36 deg C) and the sun extremely hot and a danger to heat fatigue. Electricity is supplied by a portable generator and is only on at certain times.
In this area dogs run freely and aren’t pets like they are at home. At night they are quite vicious and you always have to be on guard. A few of us had confrontations with the dogs; however it appears if you stand your ground, they back off. After we got settled in, had lunch, and said good bye to the group from Alberta, we went to visit the work site. Two of the houses are almost completed, with final Electricity and Plumbing connections yet to do. Two houses have the walls up, one is almost ready to pour the concrete ceiling and is the focus of most of the work. We then went back to our tents for dinner and a little camaraderie. Everybody was pretty tired and was in bed by 10:00.
Wednesday Feb 16, 2011
Everyone was up between 6:00 and 6:30 for a little snack so that we could be at the jobsite by 7:30 AM. Most of us because of the yell of the Egrets (birds, that start screaming as soon as the sun goes down), dogs barking, the roosters crowing, the donkeys Hee Hawing and the brightness of the full moon had a pretty tough time sleeping. Once at the worksite, everyone took on different tasks, working alongside the full time work crew from Canete. The full time work group is comprised of about 20 people. As you can well imagine the work is very manual. Our group was involved in tying rebar, cutting rebar, hauling bricks, cleaning our the dried cement in the houses, cleaning up the site of debris, stripping forms, helping in the kitchen and any other work as requried. The work day ends at around 4:00 PM, however because of the extreme heat, many of us were forced to stop a little earlier. After the work day we had dinner, cleaned up and played a little cards. Again by 10:00 PM everyone was down for the night. Again the animal orchestra made it a challenge to sleep.
Thursday Feb. 17, 2011
Today was a treat, the orphans came to help at the site, to help with pouring of concrete on the roof. This was a real treat. We had to build a ramp from the ground to the top of the roof. This ramp was about 4 feet wide and was to be used to bring the cement the roughly 25 yards to the roof via wheelbarrow. The small boys and girls aged 14 to 18 from the orphanage were continually carrying 5 gallon pails up the ramp on their shoulders. There was also also 3 guys pushing full wheelbarrows up our 30 ft ramp. This really amazing to see. Some of the braver people from our group also took a try at carrying up pails of cement. We finished at 5:00 PM this evening, had dinner, sat around a camp fire. People started to go to bed at 8:00 and by around 9:45 all the lights were out and snoring could be heard from most tents.
To date everyone one is healthy and no one has been sick. The food has been extremely good and filling.