Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wow, this month has flown by. Planning for our trip continues. It's been up and down. Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I'm getting nervous! In part it's why I haven't written. So, forgive me and what follows is an update.

I think I've mentioned we'll have four people working with us, actually three adults (Steve, Amy, and I) and one near 12 year old (Anahkin). Our plan is, together with Pave (and now an additional volunteer from Spain) to have at least two working together, that way we'll have a presence in the village thoroughout the week and some time off also. We'll have more days that we can do interviews and exams, as well as to build a model so to teach about the use of stove. It would be fun to do the food fests we saw done in Cochabamba at CEDESOL where with integrated cooking methods they showed folks how everything worked while actually cooking and then everyone ate and had a grand old time!

And speaking of Amy and Anahkin, Amy is busy in Portland plugging away for donations as well. She is affiliated with the Portland birthing community and is approaching folks she knows with a personal interest in mom's and their babies. (We looked for information on birthweights and while it's not "proven", it's highly suggested breathing smokey air also affects birthweights.) Anahkin goes to the environmental school up there and will be assigned some sort of project while we're in Peru. We will want to keep him busy! Larry Winiarski, our friend and one of our "stove" mentors had us all over a couple weeks ago to talk and practice "stoves". He's worked with alot of kids in other countries and feels strongly of the importance of teaching the kids. His ideas have been to work with kids who would then agree to make a different kind of adobe, (unlike adults who have fixed opinions about things like that.) Larry picked his brain with questions and Anahkin put together a combustion chamber a few times and now knows more than many where we'll be about this! (Thanks again Larry and Ken!)

And, while I'm at it, we may pursue with Larry an adobe mix of a higher organic material that could be used for the combustion chamber. (Which may allow many people to build their own stove.) However, during our mentoring session, Ken Goyer is not sure about this approach! (The two mentors can have opposite opinions!) The question is duration, as the heat will cause it to breakdown easily on itself, and chip away a bit when adding wood. one could put tejas (ceramic roofing tiles) along the portion where the wood touches. hmmm. Interesting. It's one more thing I've run by Pave and am waiting for a response on. I had suggested we find some people in C'orao who may want to try it.

Speaking of Ken, we had dinner with he and Ellen the other night and gave him information to send onto the board in regards to the task of putting our organization under his, Aid Latin America. As it turns out there are contracts for this and a friend sent us one. (thanks Phil!) It actually looks pretty straightforward, so, maybe we'll here from them soon? And, an aside, we cooked the corn-on-the cob on a rocket stove!

One of our biggest project hurdles now and when we first arrive is to get ourselves set up in a community we don't very well, ie., Usi. The question is if we can stay up there, or if not, with Hermana Nelly in Quiquihana. Also, I'm counting on Pave to set up a other things like the initial meeting to identify how many families actually are participating (we plan on 100 stoves), a translator, perhaps a driver, and help in the village. One doesn't realize how many things need to be in place, until one walks though a project such as this in their head. (hence my anxiety.) I am not too worried about the return to Sipascancha and Soncco, other than the fact they need to know we're coming! Our friends are still working there (as teachers) and can help with the translating, and I'm assuming we can stay in the clinic. We'll do repeat health exams and check out the stove use, combustion chambers and chimneys. We should be done with everything there within the first month.

I should qualify we also have another hurdle: money! To that end, first, we want to thank Margaret, Ellen, Brian, Nan, Kevin, Bruno, Dave, Katherine, Teresa, Barbara, Ken and Larry, and Chanteuse for their donations and help to Vidas Mejoradas. Also thanks to the Recycling Crew (of the Country Fair) and Ann Marie who have kindly passed our email onto others. Barbara is helping us out with the web site. Nan and Kevin, both potters, and Ellen are putting together a "PR" piece to announce two pottery shows of "Nelson Clay" in the Afton, Virginia area, where a portion of the sales will be donated to us! And Margaret has sent me (I think) four paintings from her gallery show in NYC as a fundraising donation. They are due to arrive at anytime. These paintings were priced at 3200$ , and if anyone reading this has ideas on how to best use them, please email me! (check out Margaret Girle, Australian artist if you're curious.) So, yes! We appreciate everyone's support of our work and even more your trust in us to see to it that your hard-earned money and work-of-the-heart goes as far as it can in helping another Peruvian village have access to clean indoor air. Muchisimas gracias.

So, yeah, a few nights ago I laid in bed doing one of the things I do very well--WORRYING. In particular, worrying about our project. (Imagine that!) Lots of balls are in the air right now! We're hoping to get some media attention through a couple local papers and radio stations here. We've sent them information and expect to hear something back! We're actively saving money and it's been a bit of a challenge. We've also been asking for money and that's awkward at best for me. Especially of my friends who are probably tired I can't get past this (or rather don't want to!) Our tickets were expensive and this time NOT covered by CMMB. We're in the midst of arranging fundraisers; however I won't say anthing definite just yet other than it's a night at Sam Bond's and music. (Less definite is the silent auction but not yet ruled out.) I am waiting for a letter from Pave and up till now have just talked over the phone. She's excited for sure; it's just been a challenge to address all the plans and questions, and now patience (and faith) is required.

I am grateful for one thing: the advice of my therapist to take a Pilates class for my back. Gosh, it helps! I was (secretly) a bit worried as to how my back will take all of this. but, with classes twice a week and dedicated hiking up Mt Pisgah, and the Ridgeline, I'm feeling quite strong!

So writing this and organizing my thoughts have helped! Just taking a deep breath also helps! Best yet is having Steve for a partner in this.