We heard from James today. The group has now been in their community for three days. Upon their arrival they were met by a group of organized women called the Mother Team. These women, several of whom are host mothers for our group, were all clad in traditional red dresses. They presented each group member with a flower bouquet and a katha (a traditional simple white scarf). After this warm welcome, everyone went off to their homes.
Speaking of the homes, each one has its own distinct charm. Most of the houses are made from clay — both the walls and the floor. The homes are immaculate. Some of the homes have stunning views of range upon range of mountains extending off to the horizon. Some are next to rice paddies or corn fields, offering the beautiful patchwork of agriculture upon a gorgeous landscape.
The work has been going well. We spent the first couple of days getting bricks to the worksite by forming a human chain, passing a pile of seemingly thousands of bricks one-by-one across a distance that our group perfectly spanned. There were just enough of us! Then it was time to start erecting the walls. That work has gone quickly and now it’s time to start some secondary projects. Toward that end we had to walk to a nearby town, Ranipoa, where we could buy paint and painting supplies. With those in hand, we’ll be starting a world map mural that will adorn one classroom wall within the school in the village. We’ll also be painting a couple of the classrooms, including (we hope) the two we are currently constructing.
The weather has been good — sunny and hot during the day, with some rain at night. As a matter of fact, some of the houses have tin roofs, which one might argue would create a huge din and make for challenging sleeping. In fact, the sound is very soothing.
Here’s one final story to leave you with… on the day just prior to the start of our trek we stopped at a lunch spot to bulk up on some calories. One of our students mistakenly left a favorite pair of sunglasses there when we left. On the day following our trek, we happened to stop at the same place for lunch, and lo and behold, they still had the glasses and were thrilled to reunite them with their owner. Needless to say, those glasses haven’t left that student’s “sight” since then.