Saturday, March 31, 2007

here we are back in the internet cafe. right now we´ll have time for lots of updates. i´m sure if you´re reading this you perhaps have a sense of business in peru! everyday we change this. consider that, talk about other potential projects. it feels right for here, albeit difficult for others to perhaps follow.

last night we visitied the hardware stores! oh, what fun to try to talk to the owners about voltimeters, tools, electric adaptors...this is really causing me to search for the right words, kind of like going around my elbow to get to my thumb! . and pave likes hardware stores as much as me! we´re still pricing the sheet metal. we ha two proposals in hand now with a third to follow. and it looks like the second is quite good. much cheaper for the metal and a thicker metal to boot. ) we are concerned about the stoves lasting and making them so they can be upgraded when needed with new combustion chambers (ie, the rocket part.) and pave tells me the installation assistance we´re asking for shouldn´t be as expensive as our first offer (victor, et al .) she explained to me its the men of the families who will build their stove and its not like the technical help we´l have will be installing them one by one. its important for ownership reasons let alone the fact the money for this can go to other needs. so again its so very fortunate to have them by our sides in getting the best option.

today adela came by. she´s the primary school teacher. we got an update on whats happening in the village. some things sound utterly fantastic! she tells me the houses have working bathrooms! (but they don´t use them!) they´ve built 2 new schools, not just 1. they have a little playground for the kids in the center of the town. and, get this internet is coming in 3 months! WOW. all of this is due to the local govt. someone new is there. and accdg to pave, he´s smart. so all of the money for this has come from them. but they don´t have food for the ¨comedor¨. this is their daily lunch program and the water is still contaminated. so go figure. it all leaves me very curious to see everything.

next week steve is studying spanish. i will be putting together the questionnaire so adela can translate it in quechua. ( and figuring out the download thing for the photos. and the week after, i think the 9th we´ll head for sipascancha for our first week. we´ll be up there with adela and her partner nino. they´ll go with us to visit the families. because the families work during the day in the fields, interviews will happen in the am and pm.

there´s is so much to share. i feel so excited about it all! settling in to latin american time. and trying to keep in mind what i have control over and what i don´t. and letting folks help us and realizing everyone wants to be part of this. the people we´re with in all of this are unbelievable. whatever causes them to care doesn´t matter. their hearts are huge and i am totally honured to be part of it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

ok. previous entry below is full of typos. por favor disculpa. here´s a new one!

here we are in cusco. all is very well. we´re getting acclimated to the altitude. we´ve been setting up the stove project. namely the help we need here in cusco. pave is doublechecking the figures victor the welder gave us and then we´re off to the hardware store to make sure we can´t get the sheet metal, etc for cheaper. how exciting to go to a peruvian hardware store! i am (for real) excited! and saturday we head to quiquijana where there are working models of the stove. it will likely take a couple weeks (peruvian time) to get this really going. still a chance we might go ceramic for the rockets. i am thankful for pave and sister nellie as they are carefully watching where our money goes. they tell me i am too friendly and she is better at the business of setting up who we´ll work with. and sunday we move into our apartment 2 blocks from the plaza de armas! its furnished apparently. 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom with hot water (we´ll see about this...), living area...sounds nice but we haven´t even seen it!! again operating on faith!my friend found it for us and paid to hold it. so, we have a spare room if anyone wants to come!
it´s only been a few days and i´m happy with what we´ve got done thus far. steve is doing great. i´m happy to see old friends.

when we came to the center of town today there was a demonstration going on "the fight continues" was what they were saying in spanish. all campesinos, old people, some young folks, one guy on crutches with one leg. the women marching before the men. (there are alot of demonstrations here...the campesinos have an endless struggle.) steve got himself set up for spanish classes next week in my friends school. (then quechua!) and on monday i will open my first periuvan bank acct. everything feels new. and exciting. its very cool to share it all with steve. cant download photos yet but soon. i love all of you! take care , laurie

Thursday, March 29, 2007

wow! we made it! steve and i are at these damn peruvian computers trying to figure out how best to communicate wuith everyone at home. i had forgotten how they eat things and have different keyboards, etc, etc. it can be frustrating. oh well, welcome to the rest of the world!

we arrived to lima without a hitch. not one person looked in our bags. when we came thru customs in lima you had to push a button which then comes back green or red. you got it, red gets your bags searched. but we got the green light! we rode in a taxi (fancy one) to our hotel (also fancy) and had a pretty quiet night. in the am, we went back to the airport and flew onto cusco, again without a hitch. pave had thought we were arriving monday but thankfully after she saw we hadn´t arrived she sent hermana nellie to greet us on tuesday. she got us to pave´s house safe and sound. we were immediately given coca leaf tea. (¨mate de coca¨) meanwhile, hermana nellie, sefora, pave´s sister and another woman, (i´ve forgotten her name) all worked on building our beds. then we were instructed to rest. pave came home later and she and sefora got us some broasted chicken (a peruvian? specialty). sleeve wisely slept and rested while pave and i talked about the project, her meeting in lima, everything. she caught me up on some troubling news in sipascancha, namely problems with a health promoter i had worked with before. it doesn´t affect our work there but certainly my degree of trust, and the need to be careful and remember the way the villagers see things is very different than you or i.

so after our long talk into the night my head hurt more and more. and then it was the vomiting business. and all because of the altitude. sleeve was sweet though and fed me more coca leaf tea and i managed to sleep and wake still alive!!

the next day we rested and after pave returned from work we visited the welders. (you can check sleeve´s blog on all this too!) victor and his two sons, both named eddy (go figure) run a pretty basic shop (pictures will hopefully follow on later entries. ) they had 3 or 4 prototypes up and running. albeit basic prototypes. we lit the various stoves and or rocket portions of the stoves. they were clearly excited! we talked money. we talked changes to make. i asked as perhaps only an american would for everything on paper por favor. so we went to the store, una tiendita and bought some good food---ie., bread, vegetables to make some soup with and noodles. i was frankly afraid to eat anything else. and it was nice, our simple soup. sleeve then slept/rested 15 hours, me a bit less.

and today eddy (number one) and victor came with all the figures. and we are underway! at least with a model for sipascancha--and in one week they´ll begin the work on the rockets and the chimneys for all 120 stoves, provided we go with their proposal.. we have opted for metallic rockets and chimneys. i wish we could afford ceramic, but no. once the rockets and chimneys are complete the plan is we´ll transport them to sipascancha. and in that month we´ll be visiting the homes of the families wanting the stoves and doing the intake. and more introduction to the stove with our model. and then victor and eddy will work with us in the village mondays thru fridays, until all are built, again provided we go with their offer. it´ll happen in phases with instruction happening first and then the villagers completing that phase. and victor and eddy will be there to help with questions. and victor speaks quechua! it feels all ok. we´re watching our budget and in spite of this we may go over. we will keep yáll posted!

so today is also our first day out and about! we went to visit my friend rossana and when she saw me she had me do a twirl do to see me all the way around! only one person asked if steve was my son and i admonished saul for this because he knows i like my men younger. and rossana is all set to start sleeve in spanish classes. our apartment will be ready the first and we think he´ll start then. and then it was to DHL for where in the hell the vitaminas are. we have to call lima and rossana will help with this.

some some other thoughts: pave and sefora have very little. they only have water from 6am until noon everyday. so buckets of water are all around for use later in the day. their house is part completed, part not. they offered us whatever they had in food. but it wasn´t very much. pave, her sister and another friend manage to make food for some children in a local project of feeding the orphans. so every morning they are up early making food with nothing for the kids. utterly amazing.

peru smells the same to me, sort of sweet as long as you aren´t on the street and then it´s exhaust. still lots of dogs everywhere running the streets. las mamitas selling their food on the corners. the little kids everywhere trying to sell you a postcard. it can be sad and happy all at the same time. everyone we´ve met has been wonderful.

so mom, i hope you are reading this because i only have your old email!! write me!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

oh, what fun! packing and doing last minute stuff! the donated material is arriving and i think we'll make the weight limit. but, i still may end up mailing some misc stuff. steve helped me with adding some links. i then added more and he then fixed it! however as i sit here playing with it, i can see some aren't linking properly! and yes, there the ones i added! i'm not surprised! more technical help will have to step in. later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

here are the last two letters from pave with translations following. we are all totally excited!!

Hola queridos amigos:
ESpero todo salga bien , las cocinas que diseñamos funcionan solo falta decidir si la hornillas son de rejilla de fierro y cemento o de placha de fierro, yo estoy sacando costos paso a paso . En Sipascancha los comuneros esperan listos, ellos dicen que va ser facil hacer adobes en 15 días, fabricamos 4 rockets de plancha de lata gruesa costo cada uno 30 soles las chimeneas mañana sabre el precio, nosotros mismos las fabricamos y sabremos cuanto costará cada cocina, lo que pregunto es que cuando vamos a hcer las cien porque el tiempo es corto y si ustedes mandan algo de dinero para empezar a fabricar porque compraremos los materiales nosotros y los tecnicos fabricantes cortan, el diseño sueldan con autogena y solo cobran el trabajo, o esperamos a que lleguen ustedes y recien se empieza la fabricación, aqui siempre se trabaja por contrato y adelando en materiales.
Como decidan esta bien. los espero y el 26 de marzo es lunes pero pedire permiso en mi trabajo para poder estar en el aeropuerto, un abrazo grande y les esperamos muy alegres por su venida.
Su amiga y compañera , Pave.
Responde para saber si mandas dinero para empezar la fabricación.

hi dear friends,
i hope all is going well. everything with the stoves is good. we are only left to decide whether the lining of the oven will be off metal and cement, or of a sheet of metal. i'm pricing things. our friends in sipascancha are ready and waiting. they say it will be easy to make the adobes in 15 days. we have made 4 rockets of a thick tin costing 30 soles (about 8 dollars). tomorrow we'll know the price of the chimneys. we are making these ourselves and will know every associated cost with that. the question is when can we begin the first 100. time is short and if you could mail money we could get started. we could buy the materials and then only have left to pay the workers. the design will be (?)automatic or (?) the same for all. or, should we wait for you to get here and soon begin the construction? here it's always work by contract and the materials are (?) included, come along. you can decide. i wait for the 26th. i only have to let work know i'll be at the airport. big hugs. we're all waiting happily for your arrival. your friend and compadre, pave.
ps write if you are sending the money early.

(so, unfortunately i couldn't send money early because of this phishing incident that required me to get a new bankcard, which prevented me from wiring her the money. but fortunately it is not much in the way of lost time. )

and the most recent letter of tonight:

Querida amiga siento que estes mal, espero llegues sana, si en Sipascancha estamos contando con 100 cocinas y en Sonco 20 son 120 igual que el principio. Solo faltan seis dias y esperaremos para contratar contigo a los técnicos soldadores para hacer rockets y chimeneas. Por favor dime a que hora es tu vuelo del lunes de Lima a Cusco. Si en mi casa te hago un espacio no es mucho pero nos acomodaremos gracias por tu carta. Te esperamos

my dear friend,
i feel bad that you are both sick, i am hoping you will be well soon. yes, in sipascancha we have counted 100 (YES, 100 families!!!!) wanting the stove and, (GET THIS!) there are 20 families wanting the stoves in Soncco! like what we estimated!! it's only 6 days until you arrive and then we'll talk with the welders who are making the rockets and the chimneys. please tell me what time your flight leaves Lima for Cusco. yes, in my house i have a small bit of space that should accomodate you. thanks for your letter. we're waiting for you.

WOW. 120 stoves. this will clearly not be a vacation of the usual sense...oh, it will be so great to see everyone, and for steve to meet pave and the villagers and their families. and to see all those kids again. and to soak up cusco. ummmm. and yes, make this happen the best way we can. and have FUN. WOW.

Monday, March 19, 2007

hola, que tal? ..... allin p'unchay....just practicing! ('hi, how are you', in spanish and 'good day', in quechua...)

we will be on the plane in a week!!! steve and i are beside ourselves with excitement. it look like we'll have a little apartment in San friend is holding it for us!! things are winding up in terms of packing. i have my stuff ready but it's all pending the weight of our donations. in the next 3 days, we should receive our clinic supplies donated by MAP, Intl/Johnson and Johnson, our pencils and drawings from North Branch School, and medications from CMMB. this being further supplanted by donations from vivian of more clinic supplies! we have an unknown yet in terms of weight may be necessary to ship some things...i hope not :>)

the last minute nature of it this making me a bit nutty. but my list is getting smaller. on it is to provide a link to steve's blog and his to mine. mine will have photos, his not, and it'll be cool to read our different slants on things! so, there's stuff like that to do....i so know on the plane, that will be it and all will be well....and i can't wait for that feeling!!

i will just say after getting a few emails about donations that you can call me this week if you want (email me at and i'll send you my number. if interest rises while i'm gone, i'll speak to my friends at the bank and post info.

one more night of work! later....laurie

Monday, March 12, 2007

thanks go out again to sarah and dale for the itsy bitsy pulse oximeter! and to christa and leslie for their donations towards the stoves! it really means alot and i look forward to making sure the people in sipascancha know of all my wonderful friends and their generosity.

well, we are rapidly approaching march 26th!! i am temporarily settled in the ex-husband's house. a few days after i arrived, he got very sick and is now in the hospital with pneumonia. and he was doing so well...we're all worried about him. mica, my son is still here, first helping me move, and now, fixing up a car while he waits for his dad to be discharged. (and josiah is coming soon.)

the move went well. the only thing is about blackie, the cat. (quita is all settled in at my old neighbor's house.) so, at 4:38, (i had looked at my watch) he appeared in the back of the house with his little paw held up like he had hurt it. i had already explained to the landlord he had been a stray and that my son was going to take him. so, when i picked him up, pus just dripped out of his little leg. we called the vet to discover he would have to go to the on-call vet and likely for surgery. unfortunately, i couldn't do that, but we bought some first aid supplies and in the car i was able to clean it, drain it, apply neosporin and wrap it with coban. it was a mess! he was a very good boy. i felt terrible as we had decided i would go back and forth to feed him until mica was ready to pick him up and then scurry him to california. the next day i couldn't find him. but the day after that i did, and he was walking on his leg normally! i cleaned it again and rewrapped it. and now i haven't seen him since. everyday i look and call him, but no sign of him. i am so bummed. on the bright side. he still has a chance as mica hasn't left yet and even josiah offered to take him in the event i can't find him when mica leaves. but there are new people there already, and they don't seem to be too worried about an old stray cat...

on a brighter side i've started packing! i have just a few more nights of work! the only thing i'm waiting for is to hear if i qualify for a a "mission pack", which is medical supplies from an organization called MAP international/Johnson and Johnson, and whether or not i qualify for a package of medications dfrom CMMB, and for the donations of pencils from North Branch School. the plan is all that will weigh 100 pounds and take up two of our four bags. and as to the money we need it's likely i will end up borrowing some. darn, i tried! however i am very grateful for beau, who has offered to lend me what i don't have and will be patient about my paying it back once i return.

so, time to do some errands and then off to work.