This week was a day and a half of regular classes, then a trip to shadow a current volunteer. Many people took overnight bus rides up north, but me and three other WASH guys just had a two hour ride down to Canete, where the famous Goyo is finishing up his service. I say famous because he has done a lot of incredible work during his two years. I feel a lot more directed and motivated after seeing a real live volunteer in action. I feel better about not having construction abilities, because it’s not really about that. It’s more about organizing and making sure everything is where it needs to be.
We visited a goat farm where he’d done a few big projects, including a solar well pump and a biodigester, which is this great thing that can convert poop and organics into methane gas for cooking. The farm was right on the coast but it’s not exactly prime real estate. The owner was really cool though, and he gave us some free samples of his goat yogurt and cheese.
We walked around the town and met some of his counterparts and community members. He lives in a town of about 6000 that isn’t bad off. It has electricity, clean water, internet, paved roads, and garbage pick-up. One of his best friends was the position right under the mayor. One time, he told us, they got a flat tire on the highway and got the town garbage truck to come pick them up.
We did a handwashing booth Friday morning. Jacob taught us how to make balloon dogs and swords, which were a great incentive for kids to actually come and not just stare at us. One awkward moment was when a girl asked me if I was a man or a woman, owing to my short hair, I suppose. When I told her I was a woman, she said, you look like a man. How sweet of her.
Another exciting excursion was visiting some 1000 year old burial grounds up on a nearby hill. There were piles and piles of bones just lying there. They had been pillaged pretty badly over the years, but you could still see pieces of pots, woven cloth, and little corn cobs for their afterlife needs.
The trip was a really good insight into what I might be doing at site, and now I’m kind of impatient to know where I’m going and get started.