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Living La Vida Loca

Living La Vida Loca

After two months in Peru, I think I’ve come to accept the fact that I am not just visiting to do a quick project, I am living here. I figure, if I’m renting two apartments (the one below shares a compound with an orphanage in Urubamba) in a country for more than an entire season, and I go to the market everyday to buy food, and know people in the street, I think that qualifies as “living.” Of course, my Spanish is getting just good enough so I can make myself misunderstood.

my second floor apartment in urubamba

I have stopped thinking that I can maintain a close continuity with my life in the U.S. during my absence, but I look forward to resuming my routines and my friendships when I return.

The project is going well—the walls are up and the wood forms for the beams in place—and I feel strong, even though I continue to deal with persistent and tenacious intestinal parasites. (Ah, the pleasures of working in the field.) And I had to extend my return date till August 19th so that I can complete the project. That has always been part of the MicroAid plan: stay till the project is done.

There will be three weeks down-time at the beginning of July, while the ceiling-beam concrete dries. I will head to Mancora on the north coast and visit my friends there and surf. Better than watching concrete dry. :0) When I return to Urubamba, we will remove the wood forms, finish the walls, plaster the inside, stucco the outside, pour the floor, and install the doors and windows. (That big wall in the background is not part of our house.)

It feels strange to miss the northern hemisphere summer—we just had the winter solstice here. The solstice is a big reason to celebrate the return of the sun and the longer days in the towns in the Sacred Vallley and the Inca-Quechua-Spanish culture—lots of interesting festivals, but freezing temperatures—at night, especially—11,000 feet in the mountains. (Above, a potato competition in the country where they invented the tuber—2,300 varieties.)

As I type, I am sitting at the worksite in an overcoat, with a hat pulled down over my ears. My gloves are off as I type this draft—to be sent later when I have Internet—but my fingers are getting numb. More later after the thaw.

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