Friday, June 29, 2007

hi friends,
new photos are up of the last of the stove project! a few good pictures of finished stoves, going away party in C'orao, some scenery and finally a few shots of Usi, a potential stove site above Quiquihana...touristy shots will follow in a couple days from, laurie
ps, porfavor disculpame si hay duplicados...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

per sleeve:

Another busy week…After I wrote the last email the parades just kept going, all of Saturdaynight. I was stupid (not used to carrying the money) and took some cashdown into the crowd where I was promptly pickpocketed in the crush ofpeople. No ID or cards, just cash and my goddamn 70-sole tourist ticketwhich I had to buy again.Sunday we got up early for the festival of Inti Raymi (Quechua for “SunFestival”), which brings in some hideous number of tourists (like 80,000). The day begins at the ancient Inca temple of Qorikancha with a 10 A.M.ritual. We skipped that and decided to head up the hill to the Incafortress of Saqsaywaman to try and get an early seat for the main ritual. Got there around noon, thinking that it started at 3, fortunately itstarted at 2. We were some of the last people to get decent seats (whichwas nothing but a steep hillside, the “real” seats cost $80 US). At 2,elaborately costumed actors began the performance of this ancient solsticeritual, which involves over 600 costumed participants arranged in groupsall over the different levels of the fortress. Very impressive, althoughthe entire thing was narrated in Quechua and therefore difficult tounderstand.That night I went out to Perro’s and the owner got me sick-drunk on toomuch free pisco, which he kept pouring into my glass. I met a cool olderguy from Montreal and took him to Ukuku’s to see Amaru Puma Kuntur onelast time. Fortunately I got sick later that night instead of in themorning, because we had big plans for Monday.On Monday afternoon we took a bus back to Ollantaytambo, had dinner, andcaught the famous train to Machu Picchu at 8 P.M. – the only way to getthere. We arrived in the Pueblo Machu Picchu (until very recently namedAguas Calientes after the hot baths there) at 10 P.M. and got a hostalroom (El Tumi, very nice, cheap, and recommended). In the morning wearose, got a ridiculously expensive breakfast, and got our bus tickets togo up the road to the site.Nothing I have seen here previously could possibly have prepared me. Thescale is immense, the scenery is more amazing than anything I have everseen, and the sound was also just unbelievable – you can hear everythingfrom the valleys down below rising up the mountain chasms along with thesongs of dozens of bird species. These days, scholars think the site wasa summer resort for the Inca royals, not primarily a ritual site as hadpreviously been thought. It was also possibly a retreat/refuge, which Ican believe due to its ridiculous inaccessibility and the fact that it istotally hidden from below. We spent all day there, but were unable tomake the climb to the adjacent (and higher) peak Waynu Picchu due to itbeing an unusually busy tourist day. Still, there were many times when wewere totally alone. We also took a short hike to an ancient Inca bridgethat you can view from a distance, however the rest of the trail to it isin ruins. Really, words fail me, I promise to have Flickr pictures upthis weekend.Spent a leisurely night in the Pueblo before catching the 5:45 A.M. trainback to Ollantaytambo, where we had breakfast and continued on by bus toPisac. There we presented our tourist tickets and hiked the Pisac ruins,some of which are pre-Inca. They have a pretty amazing volcanic rocksundial thing as the centrepiece, which of course is totally invisiblefrom the valley floor. It was a long hike and we took an even longerpathway down a side canyon instead of the terrifying stairs that are themain access. It seemed to me, like Ollantaytambo, to be an almostimpenetrable fortress and I can’t imagine how the Spanish dealt with it.Today we tried to get maximum use of our tickets (since Laurie’s expirestomorrow) and went to Qorikancha (the Temple Of The Sun where the morningInti Raymi ritual is performed), the Santa Catalina Monastery Museum (tonsof hideously gruesome Christian death-worship, even more than usual, alongwith a lot of really cool stuff like wall frescoes and this amazing “trunkof the Story Of Christ” that folded out into a 300-piece diorama ofstaggering intricacy and detail depicting various biblical scenes), andthe Regional Museum of Cusco (more pre-Columbian stuff and some laterChristian paintings and furniture). Tomorrow we visit Tipon (an aqueductsite) and some pre-Inca ruins in between here and Pisac. Then our ticketsexpire, although we still have personal invites to the Museum of PopularArt that we plan to use on Saturday. Sunday is our baptism, on Monday weleave!I’ll write one more update after we return discussing this last weekend. Friday the 6th slideshow is still a go as far as I know. And, of course,I’ll let y’all know when I get the pictures up.
just a few more days are left for us here in cusco. i am both sad to be leaving and looking forward to being back and seeing my friends and family. we have been playing tourist this week, what with Inti Raymi, visiting the ruins in the Sacred Valley and seeing a few friends along the way. even hit an authentic peruvian disco last night with my friend carlos!

sleeve is writing about the Inti Raymi and the ruins as i make a brief entry and upload photos of finished stoves! so i will copy and post that and focus on the photos!

and as to the photos, oh dear, the quality is quite poor! we had given pedro and cristobal each a disposable supposed flash camera. (need i add peruvian camera??) it doesn't look as though the flash always worked. so what you see is what you get!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Check out sleeve's take on all this and for what i has been quite a week!!

love, laurie

i could keep going with the list posted last time about the positive aspects of what seems to be everyday life here, (at least on one level). for example there is yet another festival/parade/music going on in the Plaza de Armas as we type away! the month of june brings the festival of Cusco, daily parades, lots of drinking and dancing, a free concert last night, then tomorrow, Inti Raymi, or festival of the sun, also day of the abeja, or sheep, various religious holidays, all coinciding with the first peak of the tourist season, warm days and cold nights, all perfect for partying. we heard someone in a restaurant, a volunteer in a school, there was a near uprising in Calca as a result of parents being fed up with all the days off from school the kids had!

( i type, a man is singing his heart out accompanied by a band, being amplified across the entire plaza. altho i can't translate it, it likely relates to the heritage of their very loved Cusco.)ha, you have to love it here...

we went to C'orao last weekend to bid our goodbyes. we all met at the market and were led to believe everyone would meet us there. as it turned out many did. first the president and secretary of a local organization, apparently the same one as our stove families. he gave me a document asking for help for 16 more families to have stoves. we talked about helping them in the next few months and also about if they were interested in trying to come up with a ceramic rocket portion using arcilla. on the down side it does appear they were shortchanged and unfortunately all we knew of C'orao from pave had been about the four families who had apparently done alot to help get the market up and running and that she wanted stoves for them. so, we feel bad and will try to accomodate the rest. if they were to come up with a combustion chmber of arcilla, using materials in their yards practically, there would be no problem in very quickly getting them the money for the chimneys, etc. and, this is the direction we're headed: ceramic chambers. cheap ceramic chambers so more families can have them. ;>)

and, then all gathered with their potatoes and cuy, for a little celebration after. maria fernanda held my hand, or my arm, not leaving my side the entire time!. (she's the daughter of andres who had had such a bad toothache when i met her and who apparently has not forgotten i came back with pain pills for her.)

as to the cuy, steve was gracious but under his breath to me saying, ¨ this will be the LAST cuy i eat!! ¨

monday we went to sipaschancha for news on how many more stoves were constructed and to say our goodbyes. happily, there are now 35 constructed and in use! (and 14 not!) we talked about just what to do. first i wish we hadn't put a time frame on it....while i understand pave's rationale at the time, what with their work in the fields, their community projects and pedro's inability to get to everyone's house always within three days, well it hasn't set a good precedent. so again we gave more slack...mainly because pedro and his family are coming to cusco the 1st of july for little laurita's baptism and he will have time to go by their houses again, this time beginning to take parts if there is no sign of planned construction.

alberto gave me some weavings of ricardina, his wife and asked if could sell them in the US and send him the money. so, ask me if you're interested! they are beautiful, the wool hand dyed with local plants, in a variety of patterns and reasonably priced!

we said out goodbyes...and i almost cried with adelita. we ran into marten, a man involved with weaving copoperatives in a variety of communities. he and a bunch of women were on the hillside weaving. he gave us each a letter making steve and i honorary madrina and padrino of their soon to open shop in cusco sponsored by the municipality!

we then headed to cuyo grande to visit paulina and quintin and josue anderson, another little god son. it was a wonderful visit but saddened by their news of how their combi, (he has a transport service), had gone off the road with 20 people on board, all killed, a year ago. the driver was his nephew and 4 children were also on board. well we have described this combi thing to you; also the roads and the lack of transportion. its very tragic. so, they must have not been insured as now they are paying all the families involved. its wearing on paulina and quintin is trying to just do the best he can. to help pay the costs they have started making various ceramics. i will be bringing some home to sell. again let me know if you are interested.

and, yeah, sleeve had to eat cuy one more time, but this time just a taste. he said he was a vegetarian to get off but took a ´bite¨to please them!

we got up early again to go to quiquihana. to see the stove there and to visit Usi, a small community 1/2 hour from there and a possible site for a stove project. first the stove is beautiful! completely covered in cement and quite elegant looking! hermana nelly loves it. her's will need a new rocket likely quicker than the others. it's used more often and their rocket does not have an arcilla layer. thankfully pave will attend to this! the oven they have is more like smoker and they use it to cook potatoes. Usi is a beautiful little town of thatched adobe houses. it seems quite clean, houses are more bunched together, and it's only 1/2 hour up from quiquihana. the road is rough but passable. hermana luz mary (the little pixie nun!) prayed away in the back seat for a safe and productive trip! honestly, she went on and on, it was cute. we met with the president and a few locals and talked a bit about the project. we explained the stove and why it was important in regards to the smoke inhalation of traditional fires. and hermana luz mary, spoke of their orphanage opening in august.they will be able to take in 100 children, house them, feed them, they would go to school and go home on the weekends. we met a man there who at 36 has a bad heart conditon, no hope of any possible miracle with one daughter already living with the nuns and he asking if they could take his little boy. :>

( and as to the potential of a stove project. pave will need to go up for one of their monthly meetings to talk to more people and perhaps bring a small model. it does seem promising.

finally wednesday arrived and we headed to ollantaytambo for the solstice! plan was to hike up to a place over the ruins at 4PM where we could see the first light come morning. but true to peruvian time standards we actually hiked up there at around nearly 7PM! it was getting dark and a few spots on the trail was like scree and on a slant. (yikes! my backpacking buddies know just how i feel about this!!) well we made it, it really wasn't far, got our tent up and a fire going. a young boy, isaac, from the village below accompanied us, carrying the tent. carlos had never met him before and just asked him if he wanted to come. he helped out with everything quietly and efficiently, fetching cow dung and dry branches for the fire, in spite of some nasty freaking stickers all over the place. he was quiet but when he said something it commanded your attention. one comment surprised us all in regards to money: ¨you have to make your money work for you!¨ even carlos was caught off guard by that!

thankfully it wasn't cold in the tent! we woke early to find lots of folks camping and waiting for the sun to rise over the mountain. there was drumming and singing far off. and down below you could see a fire going and hear more singing. carlos explained the pyramid design one could see from above that included ollanta but also covered the parceled off land around it, all in rectangles and apparently laid out this way by the incas. (pictures will follow!) apparently, at different points of the year, ie., the solstices and equinoxes, correspond with the particular lines of the pyramid form we saw below. different ¨windows¨or parceled off parts of cultivated land light up as if a window. and on the mountain on one side of the ruins one can see the eye of the llama, that is said to be on the rock face of the mountain. well i saw the windows, a bright gold one and a bright green one. i saw the ray of light light up the street falling exactly on the middle line of the pyramid form. but i missed the light of the llama's eye! damn!! it was very cool.

we spent an addiitonal night in ollanta, visited the ruins there, and then headed to salineras and the agricultural garden, both not far from urubamba and in the direction of cusco. the salt mines are amazing. i'm sure sleeve wrote all about them! a cascade of little pools, all intricately plumbed down this mountainside beginning from a small outlet where mineral water spilled out. and with the intense sunlight this time of year by day, they dry and salt is left behind. it like tiles! (again, picture will follow!) we then headed to the agricultural gardens. these are circular terraced gardens where supposedly the incas tried out what plat or vegetable grew best a what level, temperature and type of dirt. in the very middle it's hotter than hell!

we stopped off in yucay to see a padre there, an old friend in regards to an upcoming baptism. on the first, a quechua family i have known for some time will make the treck to cusco for little laurita's baptism! i was a bit panicked on how to locate a priest!! they seemed to think it wouldn't be anything more than walking in a church and asking! but padre rene came to the rescue and set it all up for us!

we're back in cusco now, taking care of loose ends, enjoying inti raymi and ruins clse to town. on monday we take the train to machu picchu! even tho i have seen all this, to go back is wonderful i had always wanted someone to share it with and it gets to be sleeve!

Friday, June 15, 2007

goodness, on a more positive note a few other observations are required especially after my last entry :
  • there are fiestas nearly everyday, with traditional music, or marching bands, clothing, costumes and dancing.
  • people and families are always out and about strolling.
  • they love their Plaza de Armas
  • girlfriends hold hands or link arms.
  • pequenitos (cute, adorable, little children) dance in the streets during parades, and are applauded and honored.
  • the culture is incredibly rich and their is a national pride shared by all ages.
  • anytime you pass someone and take the time to smile, they nearly always smile back.
  • the music of the andes sounds like the wind.
  • Peruvians definitely know how to have a good time!
  • people love to dance to anything.
  • there are some incredibly sexy salsa dancers.
  • women are greeted by both men and other women with a kiss on the cheek.
  • the colors are vibrant and beautiful, both in the clothing and in the blue sky and orange tile roofs.
  • the less traditional young and middle aged women of all sizes dress sexy without one single issue about it.
  • people are nearly always helpful.
  • people are generous with what they have.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

this is long, but it's the state i'm in....

yet another beautiful day here in cusco! a marching band is going by outside the cafe. sleeve is off picking up his personally fitted and handmade suit and then headed to yanapay to help tutor children in the school there in math. i'm here at the internet uploading photos of our day in Soncco giving away stoves. I hope to post more, if this part doesn't drive me crazy!! geez, i took a peak at sleeve's posting of sipascancha recipients, as we were concerned we hadn't gotten everyone's name right! while i tried my hardest to keep names straight and write them down in order, i cannot guarantee the last few entries!! (someday if the villages ever do have internet i hope they do forgive me!) but, if you can imagine it was quite busy, and what with everyone's names being some variation of the other; let alone the wifes' names different than their husbands, or children, again with different names and sometimes, someone other than the person on the list picking up the stove. it is no wonder i had a headache at the end of the day!! ( and that the list got a bit mixed up!)

when you view the photos, i haven't marked who is from soncco and from sipascancha! we handed out stoves in sipascancha either at the market, or in front of the clinic. and in soncco, it was out front of gavinos's house. i think you may be able to tell the difference, but most important is that most have big smiles on their faces!! and sadly we're short eight photos, as we left cristobal to take the rest so we could walk back to Sipacancha before dark. (Once we have pedro's and cristobal's cameras of the completed stoves on disk, i'll be able to post those also.)

(while i continue to write here, i'll post a few more of the fiesta of Corpus Cristi, other shots of cusco, sipascancha, corao and soncco. so, be sure to take a look! for more explanation, please click on the photo...)

so what i really want to write about is some of our challenges and realizations here...i was talking with sleeve this morning about it. i'm not sure i can express it all so other's can understand. most of what i've written has been positive. and while i would return tomorrow and do this all again, i have learned so much from this experience that i will try to share with everyone reading this the flip side of it.

the village of sipascancha has apparently been the recipient of much help from various NGO's, the municipality of colquepata, etc. this has occurred over the last 7 years. along come sleeve and laurie, with the idea of bringing stoves to the community. in our case, we expected the villagers to meet us halfway. but a good part of the time we have encountered folks who expect, or seem to expect, this type of improvement is up to us and not them. we have handed out 59 stoves in sipascancha and as of wednesday, 20 were constructed. a bit disappointing. Some have had the parts since May 23rd. it took 4 days for the families who had committed to wanting a stove to present to the center of their own town. on the other hand, in soncco, in one day 34 families presented to receive their stoves. the next day cristobal came to tell me everyone was busy building their stoves there. the difference between soncco and sipascancha according to many we have spoken to is that soncco has not been the recipient of much in the way of assistance. it brings to mind it's not always helpful to help, especially when whom you are helping does not have to meet you halfway. or has been taught that they don't have to. so many good meaning folks and administration-heavy non-governmental organizations have done things in a way that has set a poor example. ayayaya.

one morning, i was sitting outside the clinic building in sipascancha drinking my anis tea. ciprian and a few men came by and ciprian asked me what i was going to do the next time i came back in the way of a project. i said i would go to a village where no help had been known to happen. he asked why and i explained my opinion of what happens to people when too much is given to them without an equal responsibility on their end. as our conversation went on, the attendance grew, all men of the village. we talked about how many were more than willing to come to me two, three, up to four times for a LED light, but when it came to their stoves either they had not listened in the first place about needing to sign up, or did not show up when they had promised, or came practically begging to be added to the list when no more stoves were available. alberto vehemently stated his village and others like it have been abandoned by the government, particularly the health dept. he said they needed an ambulance. i responded would he or anyone else know what to do with an ambulance, did they know about oxygen, or emergency meds or what to do with a critically injured person?? i asked where in the world would you even get gas?? i said it would be a sitting museum! i asked him if all the projects that had come to sipascancha were projects intended for them to help themselves, to be healthier and to be less dependent on a system that didn't really serve them. he agreed with this. ciprian asked about the trees that will be planted with the money collected from the stoves. he pointed to a big eucalyptus tree and said it was over 30 years old. he said it was too long to wait. i reminded him the projects here were for the future, not for him or the other men here right now but for their children. he looked surprised. so this was quite a conversation and i can't begin to touch on all the topics we discussed and the reactions i encountered. ohhhh. luckily they seem to respect me. i can only hope such conversations shift things a tiny bit. and how arrogant of me to think i can trigger this! all i can say is to help doesn't seem enough. one has to think about how they do it, about teaching the people you're trying to help, about maintaining their dignity and not just dumping your good ideas on them.

its all so much to try to express in words and in pictures. there was the night i went outside to pee and outside the door in the dark was a little boy who had eaten soup sleeve had left out there for the dogs. we gave him bread, and a little can of milk. all day long projects are underway, courtesy of various organizations. new schools, bathrooms. bathrooms next to where little kids are pooping what looks to be giardia infested doodoo. the fathers of the primary school children are building another greenhouse. it is in no way all the fathers, only the ones of the youngest children, as their children will enjoy the vegetables. teachers who get up at 4 Am every monday, leave their families to live in villages like sipascancha and soncco in a combi of up to 23 people, up a treacherous road, not to return until friday, laughing abnd joking all the way as they are packed in like sardines. little children with their dirty traditional clothes on in their classroom covered with their clean little aprons on while they color and paint. the old people with health problems that haven't been tended to in years. mom's with sick babies unable to get to colquepata. me enjoying extravagant healthcare in clinico pardo. the fact that ciprian can come to me with 300 soles for 2 very cheaply made bicycles he wanted. how many people ask me daily to please honor them enough to be the godmother of their children. alberto asking me if i can bring back weavings to sell in the US and send him the money. in soncco, the baked potatoes we were fed for lunch while waiting for folks to pick up their stoves courtesy of gavino and his wife. nothing more---dirty baked potatoes. everyone that went by was offered to join us for a potato. the mother teaching her daughter to weave. the village of soncco building a studio for artesanos in the hope tourists would come 3 hours out of the nearest tourist trap where hardly transportation existed to buy their products. the teachers in sipascancha explaining to me the difference in the andino communities these days, formerly hard workers, not accepting anything in the way of charity and now. one teacher said to me look at us, we peruanos are ecstatic to recieve a nightlight. he asked what would americans think of such a gift? people like pavela who keep at it for their fellow peruanos, and the day she just cried because they just didn't get it, didn't get their part in it and that she couldn't do it all. the drunk grandfather on the street here in cusco, with his two little granddaughters trying to rouse him off the street and no one helping them. the lavish restaurants serving the tourists while outside a father is begging with his two sleeping children next to him. how many people ask me for money when i am on my way for an expensive drink or dinner, at least by peruvian standards. it can be way too much sometimes. at least for me. it's impossible to fully understand. crazy, but i would come back tomorrow to do it again, just differently.

so enough. i'll finish posting photos here and get on my way. saturday night we're having a party to celebrate our project, and our friends here. sunday we go to c'orao to celebrate with anna, timotea, andres and his family, tranquilito as anna put it. monday we're back in sipascancha to see how many stoves are up and what we'll do with the the extra stoves from the folks who haven't taken the time to build them. cristobal will also come with his cameras of the progress in soncco. on one hand i'm optimistic, on the other, i don't know... it'll be our last day there. adela has pictures the children have drawn for the north branch kids. and then she and pavela will tend to the stoves still needing a home. and ciprian will collect the money owed from the folks in sipascancha and cristobal from the folks in soncco. trees will be planted later in the year. we'll stop in cuyo grande to visit a family and godchild of mine. tuesday we go to quiquihana to say good bye to hermana nelly and my favorite, hermana luz maria. pave asked us to visit Usi, a community up from there that has not known any assistance in regards to our next stove project, a ceramic design. and then we're on our own more or less. sleeve and i will travel the rest of the sacred valley visiting the ruins with our final destination in machu picchu. the day before we leave yet another little godchild, laurita will come all the way to cusco with her family for a baptism and i get to be a formal godmother.

and geez, then we'll be home! see you soooon.....

love, laurie

Sunday, June 10, 2007

first and most important, new photos are up on flicker. and YIKES, Steve made me aware today just how little time we have left here!! i can't believe it! today we headed to c'orao to check out the stove completion. WOW. each person had a slightly different design. anna had hers decorated with whit plaster sculptures of animals! celestino had a second hornilla sort of off to the side with a more complicated canal and timotea had an oven in the side!! pictures of that will follow also.

anyway got to go! check out the photos of our stove recipients and drop me a line if you can!

Friday, June 08, 2007

hola! we've been back from sipascancha for a couple days now CELEBRATING our last 3 days there! yeah, we did it!!! i will just say my fear of no one showing up was wrong!! however, it was crazy at the same time. totally crazy.

as you may recall, we had 71 families wanting stoves in sipascancha. at least let's say 71 families signed up and supposedly committed to wanting a stove. that was why we had 100 each of the various parts built. (with the extras for the other 2 villages.) once we had gotten them up there, we then assigned days for people to come and get the parts, sign the contract, etc. we put up notices, talked on the radio, put ourselves out in the market, talked to the president, etc. however, each day that went by for us to hand them out, not everyone showed up who had signed up! interestingly enough everyone who had paid up-front did show up. and when one hands out LED lights (thanks jamie!), or has a bike for sale, one can see how just fast word can travel there when one is actually listening!! and, meanwhile, our list for soncco had grown to 34. and up there, to add a another factor, there is no transportation mid week. and our time is shortening here. and to transport these things requires a big truck, a taxi or combi won't do! so i discover by some miracle a truck is headed up to help us move them. (i had written a note to a friend to ask but he had no phone to call me to warn me!) and our wonderful helper cristobal told me is his horrible spanish/quechua that quintin, with the truck was coming at 6 AM on wednesday. so what all of this meant was to send cross one's fingers and send 34 onto soncco, knowing it was hard to get transportation and with the fear the sipascancha folks would show at the last minute to get there stoves parts! and that yes, if we needed too we would buy more stoves but this being in the face of our shortage of money left! so i fretted and said my little prayers to myself for it to please, please work as it should...


so tuesday night after a fair day but not outrageous, we sat awash in electric heat (we brought our heater!!) and discussed over a couple beers what we had to do. and that we'd rather not have to buy more, as we are running short on finances. fortunately, we were able to talk it over with ciprian who totally understood our position. it was decided to go with the soncco delivery and to wait until 10AM wednesday in sipas for the people actually signed up. meanwhile we made a waiting list for sipascancha to take affect after 10AM. ciprian announced the cut off that morning on market day, so it was well attended and one could assume everyone knew. and once 10 rolled around our waiting list folks showed up and we gave away every last one. (minus one we're saving for isidro and ruffina, our truck driver and his wife.) so, 34 Soncco, to be handed out next week, 5 C'orao, 61 in Sipascancha!!

as to the completions, they are progressing as well- pedro and cristobal are visting the houses for us and photographing the completed ones and admonishing others for not finishing. but on a second visit cristobal noted more to be constructed of our first 16 issued. we visited alberto to see his and its quite elegant. very nicely sealed, appropriate dimensions, and smoothed over and most importantly in use! he was quite proud really. and everyone has received the word to coat the rockets with a layer of clay before putting it in its space within the adobe. anything to give it more duration! i went through each and every copy of the instructions and by hand noted the change in red and then talked to each of them about it. but we have also heard some have made theirs with only one hornilla (burner). i think we have to accept if they are building themselves, in spite of our instructions and statement that it should be built as indicated for optimal function, people will each do there own thing. optimistically, its how people learn and this will be a process not ending this month.

so here in cusco the weather continues to be beautiful and more and more tourists arrive daily. and every morning the day begins with firecrackers (at some ungodly hour!) and there is guarateed to be a parade somewhere. yesterday was the fiesta de Corpus Christi. an outdoor mass in the plaza, parade, music everywhere, a typical plate of food for the day on sale (sausage, cuy, chicken, fish eggs, cheese, seaweed and tortilla. (I've forgotten the name but will bet sleeve wrote about it!) and out of the blue, long sugar canes and coconuts for sale everywhere. we went out later in the afternoon and met two friendly guys drinking beer on the steps of the cathedral. they proclaimed it to be the one day citizens of cusco are free to drink beer on their cathedral steps! and it was in the usual fashion: one glass and a liter bottle. the one drinking passes the bottle to the next. when finished drinking, the custom sems to be to shake out the glass and go on to the next holding the bottle and so forth. they insisted we join them and it turned out one was the director of an art museum we haven't gotten to yet and now have free passes!

so next week it'll be more handing out of stoves first in soncco and then a couple more days in sipascancha following up on completions. our plan is to then post photos of all the recipients, along with their names. and once the guys bring us the cameras of completed stoves we'll get those on disk to also post!

so that'll be it for now. a couple more weeks, then tourist time and home. chao!!!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

well, what a lazy, lovely past few days we've had here in cusco! the weather has been bright and sunny during the day, steve and i have walked and walked looking for what we have not yet discovered.

trujillo was nice. since the last entry, we did there what we do here: stroll, eat, read, take siestas, and ooh and ahh at cute peruvian kids. (at least when we're not working!) we didn't get back to las huacas but oh well that day we spent on the upper level of the house surrounded by friends and family, grilling anticuchos (YUMM), sipping trujillo pilsner, and enjoying everyone's company. it couldn't have been better. i got to spend a little time with popi, one of the elders of the house. many years ago he was in a car accident and lost both of his legs. he has hoped for nothing more than prosthesis' but according to him there is no help or justice for the decapicitated here in peru. he has a tiny little area where he builds things, adds embellishments to his wheelchair and makes a variety of tools to allow him to do the work of maintaining his house. he is as they say here tranquilito. he told me he doesn't like to drink, never has and prefers to spend his time thinking about ways to get help to walk, and of his kids and grandkids. he is really quite sweet. the anticuchos were fantastic, however there was one i couldn't eat--that being patitas which are grilled chickens feet. apparently they are good for the kids, particularly the gelatina inside. well, i couldn't bring myself to chew the foot and suck out the gelatina. however, the corazon, pollo, chancho, and chicken gizzards (don't know the name in castellaño) were outrageously yummy. (ie., heart, chicken, pork and yes, gizzards.) we ate ensalada, papas, camote, and choclo practically all day as each thing came off the grill....the evening was spent chatting with rosa and lola and little kids periodically checking in and crawling all over us. and when i went to sleep, it was beside la madre de la familia and she sat up and had her nightly conversation with God. and she said what she always tells me, that she gets used to me being there and then misses me when i leave.

so back in cusco. steve and i discovered a tailors street. actually there are streets where many things are congregated, like for example, hardware stores, mattresses, clothing, bandaros (religious sort of wall hangings and costumes) etc. he is having a suit made by a lovely peruvian couple! it'll be a classic design. next week we go by for a try-on where it will be basted together. the machines they use are treadle! the iron looks ancient! it's really a very charming shop. we are on the hunt for the hat street and are narrowing in on it but have not yet located it.

today there is a big hoopla happening in the plaza. groups are all staged for a parade. it mostly looks like school children and bands and the issue is around protecting the environment. cute kids in uniform carrying signs defending their environment. aahh! earth day, maybe? but, as steve said as we walked by, ¨just another day¨ in the plaza de armas!!

the we'll be heading to sipascancha for the next few days tomorrow. we aim to hand out the remainder of the parts, complete interviews, have a meeting stressing the importance of a layer of clay around the rocket, and leave there knowing when those will all be built, exactly how many more rockets and chimneys will be needed in soncco and how we will move them, likely by truck the following week. tuesday we'll be going to the school and handing out all the pencils and filming. i am hoping we stay incredibly busy!! and aren't cold!! (we're bringing our little heater from the apartment!)

so yeah, i am prepared for some of the 70 families to not show. so much one has to wait and see. i was talking to a friend last night about this. it's like anywhere. for example one wants to do something make a big change....and yes, talking is cheap...and where the hesitancy can come in is when the rubber actually meets the road. in this case actually taking the parts home, with your agreement to build it. and knowing this is it. so, there is only so much one can do. part of the responsibility will fall on the people themselves. and, worse case scenario is that we have more for soncco, as there is apparently 15 more families interested. the important thing is that who has them really wants them and understands why they're important. and for others to learn from those families.

chao, the sun calls.