Today was the fourth day that we have been at the work site! It’s quite a bit of work and we’re short two people this time. Olivia wasn’t feeling well and Summer started helping out at the school in the neighboring community. Last night I learned an interesting fact about the kids who go to school in Santo Tomas, they have about 33 kids that attend school regularly. Out of those 33 only three go on to secondary school in Yanashi, which is very expensive for them to attend because they have to pay a host family to stay with on top of their necessities for school. It’s such a small turn out, but it makes me realize how easy it is for kids in America to gain a proper education.
Today our workday consisted of leveling out more land for the clinic site. Edwin told us that we had to cut about seventeen meters worth of trees and in the couple of hours that we were there we cut about 10 meters, so overall it was a great workday, even with our group being so small! Upon arriving back to Madre Selva, the Rockhurst students (the biology class) were taking off. It was surprising how free everything felt with just six people there, plus I think it really allowed us to get to know one another better because we didn’t have to worry about random people giving us mean looks if we were talking too loud.
The rest of our day consisted of moving furniture that we took from the empty huts into our huts, napping in the big dormitory, eating and then playing charades at night. Sam W. found a weird bug bite/cut on his knee that looks really infected, if it’s not better by tomorrow he is going to let one of us cut it open and pour alcohol in it. After dinner we all had about an hour and a half to hang out so we decided to break up into groups and play charades. The greatest reenactments were: Jurassic Park and The Heart is a Lonely Warrior by Sam W. and A Bug’s Life and Johnny Tsunami by Sam H. Once the generator turned off we all waited in line to go to the restroom, but ALL of the bugs in the rain forest decided to hang out in our restrooms that night and attacked us as we tried to go in. There was only one clear one and even in that one we had to make sure there were no leaf cutter ants because Sam H. had been bitten by one before. Once we got to our huts, we thought that we were free from all of the bugs, but unfortunately Sam^2 were not. They had a beetle in their room and it was in Sam W’s bed, it got so bad that Brie went in their to kill beetle but it failed and we all just laid in our huts dying of laughter.
This morning our wake up call was a herd of cows passing by our huts. It was the most random thing ever, and if that wasn’t exciting enough Sam decided that his wound was too infected and wanted us to open it up and clean it. Summer played the role of surgeon and tried to keep Sam calm and she opened up his knee. All of us just stood around taking pictures and laughing because it was such a funny site to see. “Doctor” Summer advised Sam to keep it wrapped and then let it air out once we got back from the field site. At the work site today, we continued to chop trees and make burn piles. We have a little ways to go before we finish leveling everything out.
When we got back to Madre Selva Brie and I went in search for this spider that decided to hide itself in my mattress! It took us a while but we finally found it and really overkilled it because we freaked out so bad. This is where Brie and I lived for the past month! It was a lovely little hut inhabited by a large wolf spider and millions of mini ants. Regardless, I loved it and my moldy pillow!
Today and yesterday consisted of doing some more chopping and making large burn piles around the clinic site. We are trying to save all of the plantain trees and palm trees, but everything else gets chopped down. So far the land is looking really well! It’s going to be a nice large area where other things can be added on to in the future, should the community members find the need for them. From cutting all of the trees, the entire group has experienced millions of ant bites from the little ants that hide out on top of the trees and then fall on you once you tried to chop down the tree. The good thing is that the mosquitoes aren’t really biting too much; it’s really just everything other than mosquitoes that has been feasting on us since we have been here. Edwin, Emerson, and Devon come back tomorrow though so we will have a better idea of what to do since we’ve finished cutting the land for the clinic.
Every Sunday we have a rest day and go to the community to hang out with the members and play soccer. It is always so fun to get to see everyone in a relaxed state having fun and enjoying the company of one another. Everyone in the community is pretty close so being around them kind of makes you feel like you’re joining part of their family. Sunday is also the day when we get to talk with our family members! Everyone bought phone cards and tried calling but some of us weren’t that lucky, so we went back to Madre Selva with empty phone cards and more bug bites.
On Monday our materials for the clinic arrived! Yay! It was so nice to see people from all of the three communities get together and work towards bettering their health and communities. It was inspiring to see them care enough to travel the distance just to help us haul everything off of El Gran Yanashi. In the evening I went with Julio and his family to Yanashi to buy gas and we had the chance to talk about his family and different things that he thinks will help improve the community for his kids, the clinic being one of them. While we were coming back from Yanashi we got caught in a rainstorm and had to put bags over our heads so that we wouldn’t get as soaked, this made me realize the difficulties that people in the community can face if they have to make a late night trip to the clinic in Yanashi, which takes about an hour to get to in a slow motor boat. This clinic is really going to help everyone in the communities avoid nights like the one I experienced.
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