Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Work and Play

Well folks, now more than ever it feels like I am working. First lets back on up to where we left off. I was feeling like there was no hope for my project and just kind of seeing other options in my community. Then, all of a sudden, a very respected person in the community asked me to show him what I had been working on and seemed to like what he was seeing. The very next week I was out on the river in a boat using GPS to determine the rivers length. This may seem all fine and dandy, but I was on the river with guys that had never really been in a boat. It took a little getting used too, not to mention that the river was cascaded in brush and fallen over trees. We had to use the machetes. Oh, and don't worry Peace Corps, I had my life jacket and helmet on. During our adventure we saw a butt load of wild life. I saw giant snakes, a sloth, and iguanas just to name a few. It took us about a week to travel the entire 20km río. We would embark from a random bridges leading to the campo and travel to the next bridge leading to the campo. Every time we saw a bridge, we would stop and get a ride back into town for some lunch. Everything was going somewhat fine, but on the 4th day tragedy struck. We were stuck with a new experienced boat navigator that we had not used yet. I really doubt he had ever manned a boat in his life, because after about 100 meters on the water he ran the boat into a tree and the entire the turned over on its side. So picture this, me and a bunch of Ecuadorians that cannot really swim are stuck in the middle of the river while the boat is flipped upside down. I handed off my life jacket to one of them and started swimming away. I was mostly ticked off that this had happened. I get out and am standing on the other side of the river and watching them struggle to maintain composure. They were going to be ok, they were only like a foot away from the shore. They get out and immediately start to blame me, which is usually how things go around here. The gringo did it, its his fault. Of course, none of them can take the blame. It was all good though. I fired back and pointed out that I was the last one in the boat trying to keep it from flipping. We eventually all laughed about it and got the boat out of the water.

Now, we are standing in the middle of nowhere in someones pasture and have to get a boat and a boat motor to the nearest road, which is about a half a km away. Everyone is fighting about who is going to carry the boat motor because none of them really could carry a motor by themselves and that was going to be the only way to carry it considering our terrain. Well, you guessed it, I did it. I put it on my shoulders and began to walk. It was easy at first, but then two guys that were about a foot shorter than me wanted to help. One got in front of me and one got behind me. They pretty much pulled the motor down towards them and caused me to lift more weight and walk slower. I eventually made it to the truck, but I still had to go carry one half of a boat back, while they 4 people on the other side. It was a sight I can tell you. We made it back to civilization and there were no hard feelings. Mostly laughter and sighs of relief. I am still a little irritated about it, but what can you do. We did finish this part of the project and celebrated doing so, by toasting our progress with beers. These pictures are backwards, so sorry.

El Río

El crew
Juan relaxing while the motor was broken

We did fix it

Some guys posing for a pick and then asking me to help out. haha.

After this long week I took time off and went to the beach. I went fishing and ate delicious food. It was a much needed vacation.
I even caught a pretty big fish.

Now for more work. We now needed to go out to every persons house along the river and explain that we would be around clearing brush and planting new trees. Every seemed ok with this, so that was easy. Every house wasn't so easy to get to.
Work truck

A very sturdy bridge

Work eventually led into carnival and carnival has led into now. Carnival was somewhat crazy, people spraying foam on other and throwing water balloons. It was really fun. As for now, we are clearing the buffer zone of the river of brush and invasive species. This is going to be quite the long process, but we got a team of people helping out. Until next time, I help all is well in the states and I miss everyone. Sorry for such a long post, I am sure there are many spelling errors and sentences that just don't make sense, but thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow - I would have panicked falling into that river. Snakes would have been the first thing on my mind (Water moccasin scene from Lonesome Dove comes to mind). Glad y'all were all okay, though - glad YOU were alright! What kind of fish is that you caught - did you eat it? I'll have to share that pic with Michael!!

    Love you - glad things are improving work wise for you! About time someone listened to you!