I finally had an egg on toast this morning! Well, we don’t have a toaster, so it was more like an egg on a hamburger bun. Still, it tasted like home — though it could have used some ciracha. We also said buenas dias to the pigs, and tried to throw our banana peels to the one we call flaca — unfortunately, she’s not the brightest pig in the pen.

After deysauno Mads and I got started on painting one of the smaller classrooms. It was great to be outside, because at night, our casita is freakin frio. Apparently the winters here are extremely cold at night, and perfectly sunny and hot during the day. Not too shabby, though it makes layers pretty necessary.

The work was fairly easy, considering the hardest part was maneuvering my handmade ladder over the uneven lawn. We also had help from Dina, the 7-year-old daughter of the groundskeeper’s girlfriend. She was more of a help to my Spanish vocab than anything else, rambling on about her classroom, and firing math problems at me. I definitely mastered the phrase mas pintura! Although mostly I repeated any palabras I picked up like, wall, steps, brush…

After painting, Mads and I made some lunch and tried — again — to turn on the hot water for our shower. Unfortunately, however, sometimes the water that goes to our entire pueblita is shut off, especially in the winter, so it’s intermittent at best. And even when water is flowing, it might not be enough pressure to operate the shower. So, let’s just say I’m glad I squeezed in a shower before I left my dad’s house… on Sunday. No worries, though, Mads and I still have plenty of drinking water. And with the combination of my filter pump plus her steri pen, our tap water puts Evian to shame.

Things move pretty leisurely here, that is to say, much slower than anything I’ve ever experienced. After Balthezar showed us how to potentially work the shower, the only thing left to do was to make dinner. After that, the sun sets at around 6 p.m. and the temperature in our casita drops, so the best place to be is under three Peruvian wool blankets and inside my -15 sleeping bag. At times it does feel like we’re morphing into the grandparents of Charlie from Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but we’re actually pretty productive from bed. Our radio is Mads reading aloud — this week’s program is Uncle Tom’s Cabin — which I like to keep on while I study Spanish and make bilingual labels for our household items.

Not much else happens in our pueblita at night, except for the occasional bark from los perritos. Mads asked Balthezar about that today and he said they’re barking at people who are walking around the perimeter of the school. Apparently they’ve had some run-ins with thieves in the past, who steal… sheep! If the only thing thieves are after here are livestock, I’d say we’re pretty safe.

We do have plenty of time to discuss potential projects for Almeria, but it’s going to come down to coordination and funding. Mads and I are planning on doing some serious legwork this weekend in Cusco. Right now the system here is to make money by raising and then selling sheep and pigs. There are greenhouses, which used to be operational, however they’re not exactly profitable so they’ve been neglected. Subsistence farming is definitely alluring, considering we’ve mostly been eating rice, beans, potatoes and carrots. A little greenery sounds delightful. Plus, the kids could probably use some supplementary verduras.

August 16, 2013