(Note: Entry from earlier trip - not a real time post)
It is interesting to see how much electric power affects the way we live our lives. Here, where there is no electricity, life assumes an entirely different rhythm. When the sun sets completely, it’s dark … seriously dark. There’s no ambient light … really … none. Out of necessity, waking hours are determined by the presence of natural light. And it works. At home, after the sun sets, I wring several more hours from the day … usually staying up well into the night. And morning is not my friend … I prefer to spend the first hours of daylight sleeping! Here … after only a couple of nights … I’m awake when the light begins to seep into the day. I wonder how long it will take me to fall back into my old habits once I return home … combined with the different time zone, probably not very long. And I must confess that for about an hour after dark, most members of our team are busy at our computers, pushing the battery limits to the max. Within moments of our heads touching our mats, though, we are all sound asleep.
Having said that, tonight there was music and laughter and singing and dancing and these scrumptious little pastry (although pastry is probably not the right word) things filled with a jumble of fresh fruit … much like an empanada, but not quite. I couldn’t begin to tell you what they were called, but that’s something I want to find out. Given my love of sweets and fruits, it was heavenly. Torches were lit and kids were allowed to stay out until they could no longer keep their eyes open, falling asleep wherever they could find a comfortable spot to land. There are few things more joyful than the total abandon of dancing with a child. Even the monkeys participated, howling from the edges of the darkness … almost as if they wanted to join in … although probably they just wanted the yummy treats.
Today we built raised platforms to serve as ‘foundations’ for shelters. By raising the structures onto modified stilts with deep footers, the hope is that the next time flooding takes place (the rainy season begins in May), the waters and debris will wash beneath them instead of sweeping them away. By preparing more ‘foundations’ than we will have time to build on, the residents will be able to build on them as needed in the future. Thank goodness that in this area, all I am responsible for is following directions and doing as I’m told … Anthony is the construction genius.
By the way (and speaking of genius), Amanda is the person who makes sure that I know what’s going on around me … translating in such a seamless and unobtrusive way that, to some, she is almost invisible. But not to me. In this part of the country, there are numerous dialects that have been cobbled together over the years … add that to my real lack of working Spanish and without Amanda, I would be lost and clueless. She has this eerie way of knowing, just by a glance in my direction, whether or not I understand what those around me are saying or if I need her to make sense of things for me. She’s my voice and I never have a moment’s worry that maybe something isn’t communicated just right. She is amazing and brilliant and her sweet nature adds so much to the time spent here.