Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update from Sleeve with a few comments by Laurie:

Here I am at the internet café, Laurie is pre-packing staff. (From Laurie: YIKES, I cannot believe how much shit i have!!) It’s Saturday. Last Monday I tried to go visit the Cusquena brewery. As I walked around it trying to find the visitor’s entrance I realized it was HUGE. First I found the truck/loading entrance but the guards wouldn’t let me in. Finally, after circling an area that was maybe 6-8 city blocks, I found the visitors’ entrance. Unfortunately, they wanted me to make an appointment and told me that photos were strictly prohibited. So I gave up. Sorry, brewer friends! Please note that Cusquena is the only Peruvian beer that follows the German Reinheitsgebot, the beer purity law that allows only barley, hops, water, and other natural ingredients like fruit flavors, spices, whatever. They have cheaper beers here, but they are vile hangover-inducing swill. There is a “craft beer” that they brew here in Cusco, but I tried it last time we were here and was not impressed.

On Monday night our friend Carlos came over, he postponed his work trip to Australia because he ran into some woman from Singapore who is financing a big project in a village called T’astayoc up above Ollantaytambo. As we talked, it became clear that he needed some help with the stove for the kitchen they were building. When it is a whole kitchen they call it a comedore. The stove needed to be double size, so we couldn’t just give him our plans. We decided to hire Tomas to come up there, and made plans to meet up early in the morning on Friday, come up to the village, and document the building process with photos (which we hadn’t had the opportunity to do yet).

Tuesday I was taking laundry to our lavenderia and walking through the plaza when I encountered Laurie’s old friend Oscar. I was delighted because he sells bootleg pisco which is exponentially better than the stuff you can buy in stores or bars. We had thought he was out of town in Ica, the part of Peru where the best pisco and wine is made. And we had run out of the bottle from last time. So I bought one full bottle to mail home and one half bottle for our last week. We went to his house and he poured it out for us out of a 5-gallon jug, into recycled bottles. (From Laurie: one would be amazed at how a room can turn into a real home here. people live so much simpler than we do.) I had some trepidation about mailing it because it was totally bootleg, no label on the bottle and no receipt. But the woman at the post office didn’t care as long as I paid the staggering sum of $40 to mail a package slightly over 1 kilo. Needless to say, it will be saved for special occasions. I’ve never tasted anything like it.

On Wednesday we had to go out to C’orao to see if Tomas could do this crazy stove thing we had decided on with Carlos. When we arrived bright and early at the Puputi station they told us there were no buses to Pisac that day?!? What the hell?!?! We got into a taxi with 3 other people and quickly learned that there was a strike on. The background here is that for at least two months there has been a major controversy brewing because of a border dispute between two regions of the Cusco Department (departments are like our states, regions are the next biggest entity and then provinces which are like counties, kind of, except regions are in between). Apparently the border between Calca and La Convencion has been redrawn for some reason, putting two and a half provinces that had been in Calca into the jurisdiction of La Convencion, and resulting in 29 schools being transferred. The Calca folks (Calqueños) are PISSED about this, and we can understand why. Not only the schools and students, but all the jobs and state money that come with them are being transferred.

Our time in C’orao was uneventful, Tomas agreed to do the T’astayoc trip and we also stopped by to see MaFre who had just had her eye operated on with money donated by Laurie and my mom. She was going to lose her vision otherwise and she is too smart to have that happen. Plus, we really like her and her family. So there she was, all bandaged up. Her brothers, who are 6, 7, and 10, all kept poking into the room and it was obvious they cared a lot. The middle one, Lenny, had a Pikachu doll and played with it in a most adorable fashion. Her folks boiled us up some fresh corn and it was delicious. We discovered that the doctors had, um, neglected to give her pain meds so we grumbled our way across the street to the Centro De Salud to buy ibuprofen.
On our way back, oh shit, here come the Calqueños! They were marching on Cusco in a huge procession of buses and cars and combis, all flying the blue and white Calca flag. We later learned there were around 8,000 of them. We gave MaFre her meds and caught a taxi back to Cusco.

When we approached the city, the Calqueños’ plan became apparent. They had blockaded the entire road up above Cusco heading to Pisac and Calca.The taxi had to stop, but we were able to walk through down the hill with no problem, it was a one-way blockade. We had to laugh as we saw several doomed tourist buses optimistically heading up the hill past us as we came down. Calca isn’t a tourist town and is proud of it. Later that day the main body of Calqueños came down and marched on the central plaza and the Municipal Palace. They also blockaded intersections in the streets. The next day, we read the same typical foam-at-the-mouth bullshit that you would have read in US papers about a boisterous protest. OH MY GOD SOMEBODY BROKE A WINDOW!!! Violencia injustificable!!! For a protest of 8,000 it was really quite calm from our point of view. The next day, Thursday, they called off their “huelga indefinida” (strike with no ending point), the roads returned to normal, and the relevant authorities agreed to hold talks between the two regions. I really don’t see how Calca can prevent this though, as Laurie noted it seemed more like a face-saving exercise to me – letting people know that Calca can’t be pushed around without a fight.

The rest of the day was uneventful although I must note that Laurie made some really really good pork chops for dinner, which we had been planning for a week or more. (From Laurie: What fun to buy pork chops at San Pedro market! huge sides of pork hanging from hooks, pigs' heads prominently displayed. and women swinging cleavers like no tomorrow. i got two big think chops!)

On Friday we were up at 5 AM. Carlos had told us about a street where there were cheap buses directly to Ollantaytambo, and he was right. Ten soles! We rode with three nuns and some other guys while the driver played a gruesome selection of the worst romantic ballads that the 80’s had to offer. You know it’s bad when Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You” represents a distinct uptick in quality. In the plaza at Ollantaytambo we met Carlos’ “chauffeur” (i.e. friend with car) and Tomas showed up a little later. The chofer tied the double-size chimney on top, and up we went. And up, and up. This was new scenery to me and it was stunning. Native forests, cataracts rushing down steep mountain slopes, up into the clouds we went. At the very peak, we arrived at T’astayoc, which tops out at 4200 meters. From there it is downhill to the jungles of Quillabamba.

We met up with Carlos’ dad, Ismael, also his dad’s 2nd wife and two daughters who we were previously unaware of (Laurie has known the whole other side of the family, mom and five sons, for years now). They had finished a wide variety of impressive projects including a big greenhouse (too cold for vegetables otherwise) and solar powered lighting. About 75 people live there, and there are 30 kids. The houses are made of STONES, with thatch roofs. ( Comment from Laurie: these places are freezing cold at night! and as noted below they do not have the adobe we are accustomed to seeing everywhere else. the roofs are thatched with Paja.) I started taking pictures, and we will have them up on the Flickr site later tonight or tomorrow. Unfortunately, Laurie almost immediately became very sick with soroche (the Quechua word for altitude sickness). We hadn’t thought 13,000 feet would be much different from 11,000 feet, but we were very wrong. Within half an hour she was vomiting with a splitting headache (soroche causes edema, actual swelling of the brain, and you can die from it further up than where we were). So I alternated between taking photos and massaging her head. (Comment from Laurie. soroche is horrible. i have been told your body puts off less important functions when there isn't enough O2 to the vital organs. and the stomach is apparently less vital! so hours later after eating one can vomit and have it appear completely undigested. so, yeah i thought about the wonders of that as i laid on the floor where Ismael sleeps wishing i could be part of the fun. but in truth it was a big hassle and alot of jimmy-rigging as there wasn't enough adobe and the work space was full of others plastering. however as always Tomas came through smiling.) There were a bunch of other guys working on the comedore while Tomas built the stove, I’m pretty sure some of them weren’t from there. For lunch we were served a delicious soup of quinoa and alpaca meat, plus strong black coffee with sugar.

Carlos had mentioned earlier that he would be up to get us around 3 in the afternoon, and Laurie was ready to go by 1:30. Tomas, however, needed more time to complete the stove because Carlos had drastically understimated the amount of available adobe (we needed 40, they had 15 plus a bunch of broken pieces). As a result Tomas had to improvise and change the model to accomodate that. Ismael promised us that Carlos would be there to get us by 4 or 4:30. At 4:30, Tomas finished the stove and cleaned up. Laurie was still very sick. We walked up to the road to wait. (From Laurie: due to the walking, i started vomiting again, this time amazed that the quinoa was still intact!) We kept waiting. Once it hit 5 PM, the sun went behind the mountain and the rain kicked in. We had no gear at all for spending the night. We started trying to flag down cars and trucks, all of which refused to stop. If it had been a real emergency somebody could have died. Laurie vomited some more and was reduced to tears. Finally at 6 PM Carlos showed up with his friend and the car. Laurie is still pissed at him, he really didn’t acknowledge that there was any breach of contract or problem. (From Laurie: I think he was playing soccer!By the time we got back to Ollantaytambo it was pitch black and too late for Tomas’ bus home. We took him to Cusco with us on an empty tourist bus, and put him up at our house.

This morning we went out to Mandorani to say goodbye. There was a little party with cuy, potatoes, and orange soda. We also said goodbye to Andres, MaFre was in Cusco so we assume she is recovering just fine.

Laurie has just informed me that we have run out of room to pack stuff and are going to have to start triage. (Comment from Laurie: I bought things today from three of my godchildrens' families to sell for them at home. hence, one problem. the other? those wonderful rubber boots of ours. I think we should just leave them here with the stuff we are storing at Rosanna's. we'll sure need them! and otherwise i am just a hoarder, i guess.) We have leftover soup for dinner tonight, and if we are really lucky the crepe place will be open and we can have dessert crepes. It is like winter at the beach here, the absolute bottom point of tourism. The tour and restaurant hawkers sometimes walk a block to try and catch us. They are invariably disappointed. Fortunately Los Perros reopened after being closed for most of the month, so we plan on having a last meal there on Monday night before we head to Lima.

I may update from Lima, but it’s equally likely that I’ll wait until after our 16 hours of airplane/airport hell. We’ll see.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

quite a day today! we got up early to see tomas in mandorani to talk to him about building another stove for us. we awoke to a huge strike that ended up involving the bus we would normally take. apparently the district of Calca was staging a demonstration opposing the new boundary between it and the district of La Convencion. for quite some time it wasn't clearly delineated and now 29 schools will be transferred to the district of La Convencion much to the dismay of Calca. so what this meant for us was there was no bus going to Pisaq! the roads were blocked! but for some reason taxis were allowed to pass so we took a taxi. we met with tomas and gratefully he will build another stove for us this time in a small community above ollanta. our friend carlos is involved where he is assisting a person from singapore interested in funding a comedore (a kitchen and area for a community of children to eat). the comedore has been recently built and he wanted one of our stoves in it. the difference is is that this will be much bigger to accomodate two huge pots that will feed 30 children a day between ages of 5 to 14. so he gave us some meansurements for the chimney and rejilla and adjusted the materials to accomodate such a stove. we are all going up there on friday and will photograph the process. its a village (i have forgotten the name) at an altitude similar to sipascancha . so the meeting went well and we made our plans to all meet in ollanta at 7 AM on friday. carlos will see to it the materials are gathered. it feels good to know one of our last stoves will go to this cause!

on our way back we stopped by andres' house to give mafre the envelopes for the letters i'm hoping she'll write me. we discovered she had her surgery two days ago and was in bed complete with her eye bandaged and her glareproof glasses on. poor thing, her eye hurt and why i do not know but she was not given pain pills. we went to the centro de salud and bought some ibuprofen for her. she is otherwise doing well and will see the doctor on monday for follow-up and will be back in school on tuesday!

so then the adventure of getting home began. we caught a ride with a taxi but by the time we reached sacsayhuaman (ruin site above cusco) the road was entirely blocked. we ended up walking from there somewhat gleefully watching all the tourist buses unknowingly heading up the road not knowing they would find boulders blocking the road. we were lucky enough to catch another taxi and then walked easily down the hill. in town every block up avenida del sol was blocked by groups of people in defense of calca. steve thinks this is a show of saving face for them, and i have to agree. it appears the decision is made. none the less the show of support for calca and their disagreement and expression of it was impressive.

so no other big news other than to report our bottle of special Pisco is enroute via the mail to Eugene. we ran into our supplier, Oscar and bought a bottle yesterday. and amazingly it was all legal to send it even though he pours it from a gallon jug into an empty bottle, fitting a cap from a sack he has of spare ones! it is delicious as far as piscos go and we look forward to it's arrival in eugene!

Monday, February 23, 2009

i've been wanting to make mention of the handful of Mr Random's space money that i brought with me from home.  (for those readers who do not know what space money is, it sort of like "bills", ie.,  smaller than real dollars but bigger than say monopoly money.  Each is individually handpainted (and beautifully, i might add) with an energy put into to it creating prosperity.
"prosperity" meaning what anyone's definition of prosperity might be.)

Because i can't seem to post a pic to illustrate, you can look here to see some examples of space money! 

so it had been my intention to give these away and create prosperity!  it felt funny to though to call it "space money".  i mean with all respect to Mr Random, whom i think is totally cool, i really didn't know how to translate it with respect to the culture and poverty here. or for that matter to even translate it literally!  (according to it is "espacie dinero" or it could be "plata de espacie".)  most of the people we deal with would see it as a painting but likely not know what quite of.

one way i could have done it was to establish a connection between a holiday here called Qoylloriti and space money.  People travel to a mountain (Apu) called Shinikara and take with them small miniature symbols of what they would like to have (for example a house, animals, a little car, etc.)  and as the theme goes in one year they (may) attain) it.

Happily,  i was able to explain the concept of space money to the curandero/shaman and pieces of it now sit in his temple Qoriqancha!  and i am otherwise leaving it in conspicuous places for people to find and enjoy.  I hope that's OK with you, Mr Random!
I am just finishing up a sheet we have decided to give to all our families about troubleshooting potential problems with the stove.  after visiting bernadina's place last week and seeing their nature is to not always mention a problem, it seemed like a good idea. 
it covers: 
1)  too slow of a draft (open the door) 
2.) too fast of a draft (close the door and semi-close the chimney)  
3.) if there is smoke (wait for the chimney to heat up and be sure to cover the pot holes with pots)  
4.) how to keep it looking pretty (patch it with more clay- dirt-cuy hair-liquid from the cactus mix) 
5.) about always using dry wood and keeping the ash and chimney clean.  
While our advice seems like common sense, it will hopefully add to the education process.  we will have victoria pass them out with her first visit.

so my report on the curandero advised purge:  well it wasn't nearly as bad as a cleanse pre-colonoscopy, I'll tell you that!  the day before i ventured to the San Pedro market and located a woman with medicinal herbs and showed her my "prescription".  No problem, she had everything!  The next night i cleaned and chopped everything, including potato skins, fresh from the chakra of Andres and simmered my mate for a few hours; then strained it, leaving it for the next morning.  at 7AM,  i first downed the aciete de ricina as instructed (Some kind of oil?) followed by my first glass of what tasted like potato tea.  it actually wasn't that bad!  this went on every half hour while at home reading until 12:30.  nothing dramatic ensued, other than feeling full!  so steve and i went off to watch our downloaded Lost program, while i finished my last four doses, carrying the green stuff in my thermos!  by then i will tell you things were moving.  and not to gross anybody out, it did smell differently, so in my infinite imagination i envisioned all this poison leaving me!   promptly at 2 PM we found a place serving the simplest vegie soup with rice and yucca and i ate like there was no tomorrow. ( i know yucca has a reputation for stopping diarrhea.) then we went home and i fell asleep for three hours which is highly unusual for me.  i woke energized, ate again, went for another walk, became yet again exhausted,  and was able to sleep deamily for the night.  the curandero was in my dream telling me i always had a place there.  and this morning, i do feel different.  more energized?  less weighty (perhaps a given, given the circumstances!) and coughing less.  hmmm.
so i am about to do errands now.  i am off to the doctors' offices to get copies of my records, do a bit of shopping and photocopying.  and here is Steve's latest post.  he remembers to write about the rest of the stuff i seem to forget about!

One week left! Last Saturday Dan and Cindy came over for dinner, we made spaghetti and meatballs. About halfway through dinner something that was (to me) very weird happened. My first thought was “why is somebody pounding on our door so hard?” Literally less than two seconds later, Dan and Cindy had leaped out of their seats and into the doorframe of the kitchen. About half a second after that, I realized that it was an earthquake and dragged Laurie into the doorframe with me. Then, of course, it stopped immediately. Dogs were going crazy everywhere. Our friends are from Southern California, which explains their reaction time.

On Sunday we went out to C’Orao and did another interview, this one at the house of the soldadura’s (blacksmith’s) father, Lucio. He had a complicated family with stepdaughters and various other configurations, and his son had also tricked out his stove with an oven (!!!) and a third burner. We talked to Victoria about doing our followup visits and she agreed. As our last item of business, we took our big rubber boots and our arm-length rubber gloves, went over to Lucila’s house, and cleaned up most of the trash her neighbors had thrown into her yard. We stuffed three rice bags full, and the rest was in standing water that was too deep to wade into. Good thing I’m a hardened Oregon Country Fair Recycling Crew expert, there were used diapers, bottles of urine, and all manner of mud-filled tins and bottles. I am pushing for us to have Victoria keep tabs on that situation to make sure the neighbors stop their behavior, we have a little bit of incentive since they got a stove and want their 30 soles back.

Monday morning we went off to the Visa office, bright and early. Last time it was a major production, we had to go pay at a different bank, bring back a receipt, go to a copy shop to copy forms, wait in lines, the whole nine yards. This time they had greatly streamlined their process, we were done in less than an hour. We were amazed and pleased. With some of our extra time, we visited Rosanna’s new “Second Chance” project, which is just getting off the ground. They are still doing construction work within their rental space. Later that afternoon, we sent off our first stove to Choco, and had a lovely dinner at Rosanna’s, talking to a Swiss and an American as well as her family.

As the week progressed we did some grocery shopping since our budget is getting tight, sent off another stove to Choco, and had another one of Laurie’s friends over for dinner (Carlitos, a guy who had been working in the jungle as a vet at a rare animal shelter). On Thursday Laurie spent the day in Ollantaytambo trying to get Hermano Vidal’s stove working, but he hadn’t gotten all the materials together so it wasn’t finished by the end of the day. That night we went with Carlitos up to a bar in San Blas that we didn’t know called Siete Angelitos (7 Angels). As we scouted around the bar for seats we were quite surprised to find most of the Hampy crew (Dan, Cindy, Brian, and two newer folks) hanging out in a little room off of the main bar. Turns out most of them live near there in San Blas. We stayed up late and got fairly drunk, at some point I was talking with Laurie and Carlitos and realized that for the first time ever I was actually talking and thinking in Spanish… finally. Right before we were leaving, it started to POUR down rain, more than I’ve seen anytime except that one night in Sipascancha. The streets literally looked like rivers, with several inches of rushing water in them, pouring down the steep inclines. After 15 minutes it stopped.

This past Saturday we had planned a big meeting in C’Orao, we had sent notices out to all the families and were hoping to get more interviews of people we had missed before. Silly us, thinking we were more important than working in the fields or markets. Almost nobody showed up. Tomas had been called away for an emergency in Cusco, Lucio (the welder’s dad) showed up to say that the two women in his house couldn’t come (they were in the fields), and Erasmo showed up just to say hi (we had done his whole family already). So we decided to go off and start looking for people. We ended up getting six more interviews from various houses, bringing our total to 48 out of 70. Even though that is pretty good, we decided to go back this Wednesday and try to get some more. We also discovered that the first stove that had been built, at Bernardina’s house, was having excessive draft problems similar to the one Tomas had put the damper into. We left a note for him and will make sure the problem gets resolved when we go back this week. We also promised Timotea that we would take a rain check for her lunch that she had planned, now we have it down for next Saturday. Sadly, the watermelon we brought won’t last until then, so we need to eat it starting today.

Yesterday was supposedly “Carnaval”, but it was totally dead and very little went on. The night before seemed more festive, we went to Kamikaze for a bedtime shot (having discovered an acceptable kind of rum, the Cuban Matusalen brand) and they were gearing up for a busy night, with masks and all. If anything did go on, we missed it ‘cause we were sleeping. The only thing that happened yesterday was that a bunch of annoying teenage boys ran around throwing water on people, especially women. Since it was cold and cloudy, this did not seem amusing. I tried to put on my “lens of cultural differences”, but it still seemed like a bunch of macho bullshit in the end.

Today we are knocking off a bunch of errand-type stuff from our to-do list, and I am going to attempt to visit the Cusqueña brewery to take some pictures for my brewer friends in Eugene. Carlos is also trying to get us to visit a village up above Ollantaytambo where he is building a comedore (kitchen building) along with some other projects. We might do that Tuesday or Thursday, but time is running out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

well, there was no party!  we arrived to mandorani with our exam equipment and two extra baskets and a 30 pound watermelon.  and as is most days, we found out most everyone was out working in their fields.  but we made good use of the time by tracking down 6 or 7 kids needing testing, seeing andres and mafre, dropping off the paperwork to victoria, delivering another message to sipascancha via a girl selling things at the Purikuq market, delivering two messages to tomas and probably most importantly visiting Bernadina and Florencio to see how their stove was.  and what did we find out?  that it was not working properly, like that other stove, because of a strong draft pulling the fire sideways!  their kitchen is small and while the stove is more or less in front of the door, it's also very close to the stove.  so we assured them there was a fix for this and tomas would come out this week.  so that was the reason for the second message to tomas! (the first was in regards to returning to Ollanta tomorrow to build Hermano Vidal's stove.)   Florencio also explained his stove was not as "pretty" pointing out the smallest ding ever!  Bernadina went on to explain since their's was the first, tomas had learned more and been able to make the others more attractive. so i mentioned it in the note, but really it seemed like a minor detail!  (just not to them!)

When i met up with Andres it was quite fortunate as i was lugging two baskets to leave at tomas' house.  he stepped right up and carried them for me!  thank god!  i would have had to stop and rest ten times!!  first we went to his house. he called Mafre to come down and we talked again about the operation.  it will be to replace the lens of her right eye.  i explained to her we had the money and that one half of it was from me and the other half from Steve's mom, Ellen.  Little Misael Andres was watching us count the 600$ and said, "yo podia casi llorar!" (I could almost cry!) he is but six years old.  Andres was incredibly appreciative and all Mafre could do was hug me.  so it was very sweet.  (thank you again Ellen!) Andres gave Mafre the money.   her appointment for the doctor is on Monday and then she'll know the date of the surgery.  as i write this it occurs to me i should leave an stamped envelope  for her to write me about how it all goes.  i told them in two years we would come back to Mandorani for another stove project with enough for her to have the second surgery, where the lens will be replaced again.  (and again it will be in part thanks to Ellen for this also.)

this afternoon all the extra material went out to Chocco!  So yet another thing off of our list!  Steve treated me to a maracuya juice to celebrate!  (ummm...the very best passionfruit juice!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

things are surely winding down here.  yesterday i spent a wonderful day in ollantaytambo where tomas and i went to install a stove for a friend i have there, an older guy who is the local curandero/shaman.  we had been in contact about this for some time and unfortunately i had thought he was ready with all materials but in truth he was not.  so tomas got to visit with him and quite a few campesinos who tend to be around hermano vidal's place about the stove and it's design.  so it was still an enjoyable morning!  tomas then left with plans to return on sunday to build the stove.  what's exciting is that carlos, our young friend from ollanta may be able to go watch the stove being built as he wants to put one in a comedore (kind of a kitchen for children in a village above ollanta.)  he had called looking for a chimney (of which we have no more.  darn!) yet if he can see the building of it we have already discussed the likelihood of an adobe chimney if needed in a pinch. 

so, i hung around as i like to there.  it is such a beautiful and warm spot. Hermano Vidal has a variety of paths leading here and there, buildings for various functions, like a beautiful temple, a library, rooms for people who come and stay with him, an outdoor shower, and little spots for just sitting quietly amidst nature.  flowers and fruit trees are everywhere. he has a big kitchen and bakery (he sells homemade bread and little orange cookies to support himself).  his stove there is one with a chimney and not too smokey. the new stove will go where he lives and will be for cooking for himself. he is maybe 65 and up at 5 AM daily, either baking, selling his bread or working his land.  he gets a fair amount of help from the locals who all appear to have the utmost respect for him.  so we made a big lunch!  Soup, rice and tarwi.  tarwi is a sort of bean, like a soybean really that´s soaked and then ground up and cooked down to make a aort of sauce.  he fried a variety of vegies and blended it all together adding raw fava beans while it simmered.  he cooked this in a clay pot.  (it did not burn despite being over a roaring fire.)  he then made a vegie soup first sauteing all the vegies, adding water and then wheat to thicken it.   the rice was the best i've had here!  again it was first toasted a bit in a clay pot, he poured water in it (of course not measuring a thing) and it all cooked for a few hours where we then enjoyed a wonderful lunch together.  its always fascicnating to be there. indigenous people from villages up above in the mountains  always join him and conversations vary in quechua or spanish and are usually full of laughter and jokes.
when he heard this cough of mine he asked to examine me.  (he has once before, but for a different issue.)  so into the consultorio i went.  i laid down, all my clothes on. he uses an egg.  he does this by shaking the egg all over me and resting deep in certain spots that might be considered chakra points head to toe, front and back.  he then cracks the egg in a glass of water and asks a variety of questions.  he thinks i have had an injury at some point of which the only significant one i could think of was when i hurt my back.  he said i have suffered in my life, but it's been in the past, and he said am not to forget i am woman who needs to be loved and that i have much to give, but always need to allow myself to receive also.  he then focused on my feet, pressing here and there, causing great amounts of pain, i will have you know!  YIKES!   this information told him that this cough i have is more related to my gastrointestinal system than anything.  (the doctor here is treating me for reflux, saying that it has been a trigger for my cough.  and on an internet search i discovered reflux can cause a cough and asthma, as well as hoarseness which steve and have noticed lately.) so his prescription for me was basically to fast for a half day after taking two small bottles of an oil  followed by a one glass every half hour of a mate´ made of herbs called pilli pilli, milva, and keto keto along with potato skins.   i am to do this until 2 PM and then have a soup of vegies, rice and yucca.  he insists if i do this my cough will go away along with these strange and thankfully rare attacks of something like asthma.  (so i guess people have done crazier things! i plan on doing it sunday and will report back! )  after the exam he suggested i rest and good god, i did, i fell asleep for 2 hours to wake up and enjoy that wonderful lunch we had cooked with the sweetest prickly pear for dessert.  (called tuna in spanish.)  i had a nice walk back to ollanta in the sun and a sleepy ride back home on the bus. ummmm. a  great day.

tomorrow we have our last day in mandorani, hopefully we will complete our exams and have a big party!  i will post photos of both Hermano Vida´'s place and that.  now i am off to the docotr again and i think i won't mention this little fast  and purge.....  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

i failed to mention that we did get to talk again to andres in mandorani our last time there. i had left him a note about wanting to help somehow with Mafre, his 14 year old daughter´s eye surgery. he explained its a type of corneal surgery and that it needs to be done soon, and then repeated in two years. she can't read now even with her glasses. her eyes hurt. he told me with the consults from the doctors and the surgery itself it will cost $600, or about 1800 soles. of course they have no insurance . (only pregnant women have a national type insurance and thats provided their documents are in order.) so i have the money in my savings and i can't think of a better thing to put it toward. mafre and i have had a connection since meeting. it's just one of those things. i plan on giving it to them next week.
otherwise no word yet from my godchildren's families as to whether they have weavings and artesania for me to take back to the US and sell. i hope i hear from them but there's really no telling. i may end up going there but its unlikely with the roads right now. and as to the school exchange, we'll meet with adela and nino after the 24th and see what they can do. right now they're on vacation in quillabamba.
well, i have spent far too much time editing my link list!  I decided it was time to delete a few and add a few, especially organizations we've mentioned, and recent articles that have actually been written about us.  i've also included some stove info links for those interested.  So if you're browsing, take a look and please let me know if they aren't appearing as they should.  thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In regards to a few more details here, today we ran into Nino at the used market steve writes about below. we'll be visiting him and adela to see what we can do to somehow continue the school exchange that both students in North Branch in Virginia (the school where steve´s nephews go and where his mom is on the board) and in Sipascancha have so much enjoyed.  we will see.  i am hoping  for the best.  Nino mentioned thay are headed to Quillabamba soon, where adela´s family live.   steve and i just may have an opportunity to visit also!  we´ll be done with our work, with a few extra days and it's practically like the jungle and a new experieince for both of us.  (and it's not too far!) otherwise in regards to Sipascancha  (and Cuyo Grande) i have sent letters out to my god children´s families and hope to bring home with me some weavings and artesania to sell on their behalf.  we will see about that also!  sending "mail" was by way of some young girls from Sipascancha  manning the market at Purikuq, and by way of taxi to Cuyo Grande.  certainly less dependable than US mail (i suppose.)  As always "todo es posible pero nada es seguro..."
hi again folks.  attached is steve's latest post...some of it a bit of a repeat and some not....

Friday we returned and went to Lucila’s house. As Laurie noted, there was a lot of trash in the yard. When she asked Lucila about it Lucila said that it was her neighbors! Please note that these neighbors are the same problem family that I talked about before who had the kids without shoes and the separate kitchens that they would not share. A good example of how bad apples can impact the whole community. I was pretty pissed off and we decided to come back with empty bags and gloves, clean it all up, sort and separate, and give it back to the offending family with instructions to knock it the fuck off. As Laurie mentioned, Tomas has been very helpful and he agreed to take our notices of a followup meeting for health testing (Saturday the 21st) to some of the further-away houses. We checked in on the stove that had given us problems on Wednesday with the excessive draft, and Tomas had installed a damper in it which had solved the problem. We also talked to Andres and worked everything out with him, he is in the middle of the village politics but he will build a new stove when he has time. As we did the interviews, we discovered that MaFre (the older daughter) has some major problem with her cornea and needs an expensive operation, the diagnosis alone was 150 soles. We are going to help them out as much as we can.

Last night we were supposed to have dinner at Rosanna’s. I failed to mention this story before, but back in late November or early December her business partner was robbed at gunpoint of $14,000 (!!!). He was taking it to pay a lot of people somewhere in the jungle where there are no banks, if you are wondering (like I was) why the hell he would carry that much around. Anyway, she needed to make a loan payment and borrowed $2K from us. We have had some problems getting her to pay it back, her not returning calls, etc. We were getting kind of worried (although she only owed us like $400 by this point) and so Laurie went to the school to talk to her. We learned that she had been taking care of two German students who had arrived at the school with Dengue Fever and malaria, respectively! Yikes! Also, she has set up an entirely new business which is inspired by our discussion about welfare and the Juntos program, she will be teaching single mothers how to teach English. We are going to see her new office on Monday.  (Note from Laurie here:   the program is called and what really hadoriginally inspired her was my tale of woe from years ago when a single mom trying to finish nursing school while on welfare.  After our discussion about the similarities between Juntos and Welfare back then, (ie., the interest to keep people "down" rather than empower them) she took the idea and ran, as rosanna does.  She has asked me to be the sort of madrina of this and on Monday we´ll visit.)

Anyway, Rosanna got stuck in Urubamba last night and had to cancel dinner. On a whim, we decided to spend money and went to Cicciolina’s, probably the best restaurant in town. We had one of the most unbelievable dinners I have had in years. We started with tapas – an amazing lomo saltado skewer (beef sauted with onions in a kind of soy-based sauce), hummus and grilled zucchini, a smoked trout and wild mushroom and red pepper thing on bread pieces, a dizzyingly delicious skewer of fried prawn with sweet potato and a wasabi sauce, and then their mouthwatering fried calamari with a hot/sweet sauce and more hummus on bread. We each had a red wine from Argentina called Trilogie, a blend. Then we got two more of the prawn skewers and an antipasto plate that was also exquisite. Dessert was an incredibly perfect little glass of espresso and Bailey’s with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. Just a little side note there for the foodies amongst us. Our total bill was slightly over $20 apiece with tip.

Today we went back to Calle Huayruropata where I bought my rubber boots, since I discovered that the reason the right one was hurting was because it was a quarter inch narrower than the right! The woman remembered me and very graciously agreed to let me trade them in for a bigger pair, it is so much better. We also bought rubber gloves for our cleanup plan. In the afternoon we went to the used market in Santiago for several reasons. We wanted to find a new Swiss Army knife for Laurie, since hers was stolen by a scumbag taxi driver about a week ago. Nino and Adela have a booth there and they sell knives, plus we wanted to talk to them concerning several items of business (school exchange stuff, visiting, etc.) As we wandered around waiting for them, I encountered a booth full of vinyl records! My eyes bugged out when looked through them and I realized that the woman had run a store in Cuzco, probably 25 years ago. The 12” LPs were beat up garbage, but she had two or three hundred 45’s that were totally unplayed mint Peruvian pressings of stuff from 1977-1982. B-52s, Go-Go’s, Fleetwood Mac, disco stuff, oh my goodness. I ended up buying about 25 of them for a little under four bucks. Then later on we found ANOTHER stall selling all-Peruvian records, I got an LP of solo guitar by various artists and another LP of ceremonial dances and songs. Needless to say, I was very pleased.

We have three families left out of 15, only one of them has a completed stove because the other two have not paid their 30 soles yet. We will be doing his house tomorrow. Monday we need to spend a big chunk of the day extending our visas. I was off by one day about our return, we get back in the afternoon on Thursday March 5th. At this point we are counting the days and trying to make sure our to-do list includes everything. On Monday we are also transferring our 5 extra stoves over to Choco. Somehow we ended up with three extra baskets for retention cooking, not sure what we’ll do with those yet.

Last week we went to a jewelry store and bought two very simple silver engagement rings. We would appreciate it if people didn’t make a big deal out of this because we aren’t going to. There are a number of very practical reasons why we are considering a civil union. Our relationship does not need to be legitimized by the state. That said, we might have a big party this Halloween, which will be our 4th anniversary.

OK? OK. Only seventeen days left until we leave Cuzco, probably two or three more updates.

Friday, February 13, 2009

We continue on our mission of teaching families the use of their new stove and retention cooker. things are going well!  we have such a system down, you would be proud!   our latest families have been Betty and Erasmo,  Juan Quispe, Geromima and Alejandro, and Lucila.   Betty and Erasmo had quite a nice home, very organized and clean given they have dirt floors like all here. The stove lit beautifully and the teaching went smoothly.  Juan Quispe was actually working and tomas has offered to do the teaching for us there.  we will be visiting him to make sure all is well. Geronima and Alejandro and the parents of Timotea, Tomas´s wife.  that was an absolute pleasure to do!  their home also was clean and organized and what was most striking about working with them was their response to our posters and discussion.  ditto for lucila.  there we gently suggested she clean up a bit outside.  she sadly said the garbage was from her neighbors. one thing that deserves mentioning is tomas.  (again!!)  he has been simply invaluable.  he understands all we are trying to include in our teaching and takes the time with us to be with each family and explain anything less than well understood in quechua.  he is amazing and steve and i over and over thank god for our first impression of him.  of note, as to the problem previously mentioned where the draft flew through the stove sideways, tomas corrected the problem by adding a damper at the back end of the stove where the chimney enters.  (thank you for your input John!) voila! working perfectly now!

today we met someone from the centro de salud at corao and will be hopefully meeting one of the doctors on sunday to discuss our project.  our experience both previously in sipascancha and soncco and now mandorani seems to mirror others experiences of working in these communitites.  we got a vote again for keeping the projects small!  sunday will nearly be our last day there!  we´ll be taking care of all the money end of things and teaching at least one more family.  and on the 21st we hope to have all who have missed their testing to come and do it that day.  notices are out.

on a nice note all is well with andres, as far as the stove issues go.  he is simply in the middle and thats all.  so we are letting him off the hook.   we are looking for someone else to do the follow-up also and he is happy about that.  he will build his stove.  sadly we found out today mafre, his wonderful daughter will need some type of corneal surgery on her right eye.  we are encouraging them to find out how much this will cost as steve and i hope to help pay for it.  she is far too young to suffer vision problems and we will do what we can.  more on that when i talk more to andres.

so as i jot a few more notes here, i am uploading our latest photos.  my health is steadily improving. the weather seems a bit less cold.  we await carnavales where for some inexplicable reason locals douse everyone, including themselves with water.  we haven´t been hit yet!  we are both excited about nearly being done , tying up loose ends and getting home.  we spent the day in pisaq yesterday where we wandered around and enjoyed no less than yummy cheesecake at a cafe called ulrika's.  (we met her one day when she picked us up hitchhiking from mandorani back to cusco!)  we have had company a night or two for dinner which is always a pleasure.  on monday tomas will come to our house where he will meet the folks from Choco to make the trip there and instruct them in the construction of the stove.  and later in the week we will go to ollanta to give a stove a a curandero friend of ours, again with Tomas´help.

geez, i am just running at the "fingers" here.  i will close for now and label the photos.  enjoy and we love you all!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

i am just now back from another day trip to mandorani. steve left early after not sleeping well last night and what was a challenging first family. rather than challenging "first family", i should say, challenging stove. this particular stove, while no different than the others (perhaps other than it´s position) lit fine but the draft was so rapid, it prevented the flames from really licking the bottom of the pots and blew through nearly sideways. so it took forever to boil the damn potatoes. which of course threw off our timing. oh well. more important than the timing was the fact tomas was also there and that we all witnessed this. this is why it's so important to see every stove in action! so in another post where steve mentioned going to choco, he described a stove that had been positioned in line with the door to aid the draft. in this case the stove was off to the right side of the door with the chimney in the corner. We talked to tomas about adding a flue. and he brought up the point about it perhaps needing to be in front of the door. later he also talked about repositioning the stove. regardless, it was clear there was a problem. it used way too much wood for just a pot of potatoes not to mention way too much time. our gracious homeowner´, jose luis (there in place of his mother) understood the problem and is expecting tomas tomorrow to come and correct it.

teaching went fine but yet again, the difficulty in testing all family members came up. not everyone is home all the time. and what with just 14 families participating it is looking unlikely we will acquire enough clinically significant data. i (on the more positive note ) said, "well, if so and so tests this volume this time and is improved the next, what´s wrong with that?" Steve´s comment (on the more negative side, but true) was " we will not qualify for grants if we don´t show more numbers." today it had been our intention to catch up and do bernadina´s kids and tomas' sons also. what we failed to remember are buses are not as dependable on sundays, not to mention the unexpected time duration at jose luis and the fact when i got to bernadinas, no one was home and then on return to tomas´s house, his kids had to go to cusco! yagain, oh well. what is a girl to do??´ my only thought at this point is to set up one day where we go just to do that and announce it prior, maybe our last sunday here?

second home was that of simon. he is a member of the local government but proudly is bucking their system and wanted a stove anyway. what a house! (steve really missed it!) about the cleanest i have ever seen in these parts! a living area in the middle with the kitchen on one end and a bedroom for the kids on the other. and in the kitchen everything was hung up in neat little rows on the wall and a seating area sat opposite the stove. sweet! so this stove fired right up with the potatoes boiling in less than 20 minutes. the teaching was a breeze! All of his sons were home, less one that lives in lima. his wife however was not home. (so we did get more testing done here!) what i thought was sweet was to see him discuss in quechua with his three sons, (20, 17, 14) the posters we have of the dirty household vs the cleaner, more organized one. it was striking to see him discuss this with his near adult sons. the potatoes did their fifteen minute cook time and we illustrated the retention cooker. he proudly said his boys helped their mom and would show her how to use it.

one other note. Lucita came by the house of jose luis earlier today. appparently she was one of the original 20 families and somehow was later claimed to be one of the five who did not want a stove by victor. well as it turns out she wants her stove and if i understood correctly she had paid for it and victor had not given her money back. so of all things she insisted i not go to retrieve her money. she gave me an additional 30 soles and will have tomas retrieve the money she origianlly paid to victor. so we are up to 14 families now in mandorani!

otherwise, there was not much time for detective work re: this andres mystery. timotea did allude to the fact another problem is that andres is pretty tight with juana and victor. i still wonder what pave may have to do with this. the truly unfortunate thing is that his wife needs the stove. and if he actually builds it, fine, its just that he paid, signed the contract agreeing to tomas to build it, to the visits and for receipt of the retention cooker. we need some one-on-one time with him. after our visits tomas, timotea and i batted this around a bit over a delicious cuy dinner coming to the conclusion everyone can make their choice.

one very nice thing he shared with me is how much each family has noticed and liked that we are coming to each house. this appears to be making the impression that we indeed care about each stove working well and giving each family the attention needed to use it correctly, along with the retention cooker.

so i will add a few pictures and call it good. as i look at them i did not take any of the problem stove to show everyone what i mean by the draft going nearly sideways. oops.

so, monday we are off to mandorani to visit one family and to pick up jorge´s chimneys and rejillas. we are hopefully bringing a young friend, diego to show him our work. then there´ll be another doctors appt. and a nice day off on tuesday. love to all.

Friday, February 06, 2009

another day here in peru.  i am uploading new pics from our latest visit, today, in mandorani where we reviewed and taught about the stove use, retention cooker use and did interviews and exams with three families. things are moving along and we have a system, so to speak.  ie., what to bring, what order to present things in, time with tomas and plans for our next visits. bing. bing.  bing.   

one challenge today, and really the first for us in mandorani was to vist a home where it was truly filthy, and truly all were sick with something or other.  worse yet the home appeared to be owned by an older couple, Reynalda y Juan, but their two daughters lived there each with young children.  they all sleep separately and cook separately.  so while there is a nice new stove, paid for and used by reynalda and juan; it sits in the same house as a traditional firepit only partly separated by a wall that does not enclose either space.  so yes, we arrived to a smoke filled house inspite of this nice new stove.  I was mortified and went on a bit until i realized this is an example of a family who does not understand all.  worse yet, shit was everywhere, kids without shoes, with moms' seemingly not attentive to all the dangers that lie lurking.  

their first question for me was that these kids needed madrinas (godmothers).  i declined.

So in spite of this scene, it also presented itself as our first family where maybe we could make a huge difference.  we showed them our posters (previously pictured in flickr).  Interestingly enough Basilla´s (one of the daughters) first comment on seeing the poster of the more dirty household was to note the tree and squirrel pictured outside the house and it was us who first pointed out the kid with diarrhea, the rats or garbage strewn around.  with more conversation (they did speak spanish) it was clear they understood the relationship between the filth and illness, especially when she explained the kids were sick with diarrhea and we pointed out her son was playing in this dirt and putting his fingers in his mouth.

so interesting family dynamics here as well, especially when i kept suggesting all share the new stove.  clearly it was not what they planned to do.  we did talk to tomas about it and he suggested talking to the sister with the traditional stove about putting in a cocina mejorada.  we will see.

so as to numbers we go back and forth a bit.  we are now at twelve families with two to four possible extra chimneys we can still give to families in córao.  tomas will talk to more families and if people can pay their 30 soles they can have them!  five additional are still saved for choco and jorge of  we spoke to andres, originally he was to assist tomas with the building of the stoves but for reasons unknown clearly to us he has no time.  we stopped by to see him as tomas had mentioned many times he asked him if he was ready for the new stove and he hemmed and hawed.  he has paid his 30 soles but claimed to not have the material ready.  when we went to see him, it seemed like something was up.  both he and tomas denied any problems between them.  we offered he and his daughter, mafre a job to be our person in the village to vist all the families with the stoves every two months to follow usage and care of the stove.  (we have an agreement that with evidence of usage and care of the stove and chimney, each family can receive their 30 soles back when we return in two years along with 5 soles extra).  originally we had thought of his daughter to do this, but because the entire family could benefit, we decided to offer the job to both of them.  he wanted to think about it.  again his response seemed a bit coolish.  he wants his stove but wants to build it himself.  and he wanted to think about the job we offered as well.  we are hoping he has not been placed in the middle by the presidenta and secretaria, juana and victor, or pave for that matter.   truthfully it was our gut feeling.  it would be a shame.  i told him his wife honorata needed this stove as her is huge and in a small kitchen and very smokey.  so we will see.  we plan on bringing her the retention cooker and if indeed he wants to build it himself, to return half the money he paid.  just to be fair, as part of that fee does consider tomas´charge for building each stove.

so that's enough, isn´t it?!

So tomorrow is a day off.  we are looking forward to downloading the latest LOST show for a treat to watch on the public computer!  We´ll be in mandorani on sunday, monday, wednesday and friday of next week.  my last dental appt is saturday!   my next MD appt is monday and yes, i continue to improve.  We´ll be taking another day off maybe tuesday to go to lower elevation to a lovely village called Urubamba as it seems to help my bronquitis.  (we enjoyed a lovely day there last week!)

and final good news is that we are leaving earlier.  anticpated date is march 5th out of Lima!  we anticipate our project being all done (and done well) in spite of our many challenges these last couple months.

thanks everyone!      

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

one other thing. we found out something SHOCKING yesterday. while having coffee at a little local cafe, Ayllu next door to the main cathedral, we discovered that STARBUCKS (of all f*****g things) is aiming to take over this space! apparently it is owned/managed by no less than the ARCHBISHOP. He is refusing to reauthorize their lease. (see reason below!) they have been here 37 years! this location is on the MAIN PLAZA where Tupac Amaru was pulled apart by four horses back in the day. this is HISTORY here folks. First, I am shocked that the ARCHBISHOP seems to think so little of their history and culture to put something like a STARBUCKS here. Second, how outrageous STARBUCKS has the balls to set themselves up here. (they are apparently denying it at this point.) as far as i am concerned big f*****g deal they use advertising ploys claiming they support poor coffee growers. it is totally bullshit. i am ashamed they are a northwest born organization and doing this. we all know they are going out of business thanks to greed in the states and are now particpating in the ruin of the culture here. shame on you Starbucks.

And shame on you, Mr. Archbishop. the archbishop will receive $10,000 a month from Starbucks for this spot and unless Allyu can pay this, they are out. Apparently on review of some internet sites here, he is also the one responsible for something no less despicable, a McDonalds´a few doors down from this quaint coffee shoppe. (get this: they import frozen potatoes from Idaho, no less while in the country where the potato was literally BORN.)

Comments from tourists on various blogs wonder what Cusco residents think of this. the sad part of this is that residents of places like cusco are dependent on tourism. and then we have the greedy catholics. we tourists and visitors can make a difference. Write! if you come here, please only support the local businesses and keep these trashy places where they belong, on strip malls on ugly main drags in places like the US.

it is such a shame.

Here are contacts:

Mailing Address Archbishop:
Arzobispado, Apartado 148, Hatun Rumiyoc s/n, Cusco, Peru# Telephone: (51) (84) 22.52.11# Fax: (51) (84) 22.27.81
Official Web Site:

email contact for Starbucks Peru:

McDonald's links:
i am continuing to feel better! yeah! we went to the Dr Pinedo yesterday and he thinks i am improving and has adjusted the medicines. basically it is a type of asthmatic bronchitis. why and how he can´t really say, but he does not think leaving is necessary. so now i´m on gradually decreasing doses of prednisone, an inhaler and medicine for acid reflux, and cough medicine only if i need it. he is treating what he feels are triggers for my coughing fits where i lose my breath. so i am to note what seems to trigger them and minimize them, and its working! steve was right there too and if he was satisfied. (and if he was satisfied, perhaps others will now believe i am not taking unnecessary chances...) he did mention i need to stay back when lighting our new stoves (they do smoke a bit at first), so steve will be in charge of that and i will hang by the door until it gets going. so, as i said to steve a couple nights ago, i am truly stubborn. no doubt. but to say "oh lets go out tonight, " and then change your mind is one thing...but to come here, have our goals, do all we do, and to know what you leave undone could come back and bite you in the butt, and that you won´t be back for a good long while, it´s hard to just say f*** it without really making sure. (what would anybody do, i ask??!!) so i will say no more and just be thankful i have the fortune to have the doctor i have, the money to see him and for the medicine, that we can still finish this , do it well, do it early, and at the same time take care of myself. next appointment with my attentive doctor is thursday.

so i am posting pictures from the visit to Victoria´s house yesterday. Jorge, from and some volunteers, who will be working with him on this, came along as we plan on giving him five chimneys for his project in the village of Choco. interestingly enough, one man, Dan King has family who live near Larry Winiarski and they know each other. (small world!!) his wife Cynthia also came along. they had been in the peace corps in northern peru, (they met jorge through his former work with the peace corps teaching spanish). also, Brian, a newbie to stoves, and now a new convert came (and he is from seattle) along with Christian, a peruvian who works in the Hampy organization with Jorge. all went perfectly! tomas got a chance to meet everyone and as soon as he is done with our stoves (now 13 families are participating!), we will pay him to go to choco to teach a local there the design for jorge. we will also give them our remaining baskets we are using for retention cookers along with the rice sacks. and speaking of the cookers as it turns out, after 15 minutes boiling time and 2 hours tucked away in the basket snuggled up with those sheepskin filled rice sacks, those potatoes were actually a bit overcooked! so yes, steve took over for the talkative laurie yesterday, as before my appt with the doctor i had thought talking too much sometimes brought on these damn attacks. so he did us all proud, all in spanish. covering all points while i just interjected this and that. Victoria´s response to the stove was "exelente". that does not need translation. the folks from Hampy too were thrilled and look forward to doing something similar in choco. (and, Dad, i told tomas about the damper idea in the chimney as well as the need to make the next set of chimneys a wider diameter and he was totally with you.) he thinks we can add the dampers even at this point. so as i write this i will make a note to myself to see if we can leave money to cover that. the Hampy folks also know of your suggestions because if they end up doing more than the five, they will enlarge those chimneys.)

so today i resume dental work and get to take it easy. we are going to the valley for the day tomorrow, just for the sun! and on thursday, steve will get to visit choco (and take pictures that i will post). i will go to the doctor and probably have the finishing touches of the dental stuff. and then friday we will return to mandorani for teaching of two families,. with another trip planned on sunday. we´ve decided to try to get there on sundays because kids are not always home during the week for the spirometry and oximetry tests we are doing as part of our exams and surveys. maybe we´ll even have party the last sunday we are here to tie things up!

and speaking of lung evaluations, it is not just damn ironic i am here with this lung thing whole doing a stove project with their lung function in mind! when i went to see the doctor yesterday, i happened to bring along my own oximeter (to which he replied was a nice one, and was of note 94%!) and my spirometer! (i think that is why he decided to not send me to another guy to have it measured, it was 598, which he thought was good!)

so again our best to all and don´t forget to check out the latest pics accessible on the sidebar.