Well I haven’t made a post title in head-shakingly bad Spanglish yet this trip, so here it is. I woke up today feeling great – almost as if a rock thrown by a kid sitting in my lap hadn’t somehow hit me in the head – and was having a lovely morning, at which point Ryan beaned me in the forehead with a twelve foot cuartón (local slang for 2 by 4). So, back to square one: me duele la cabeza. Okay, not really anymore; I just want to give him a hard time.
Today was exciting in that there were no dead animal discoveries (so far). And guess what else: we did an impressive amount of work! I’m pretty sure we constructed and assembled all the roof pieces for the third tank in about two and a half hours. Domingo’s three-day-old calf was tied up nearby and kept entangling Mama Vaca in the leash, which provided half time entertainment before we took off for Luisa’s to begin installing the plumbing.
My biggest concern that had been keeping me up at night (er, besides bug bites) was that it would be impossible to nail the gutter in between the already assembled roof pieces. I was right. It was difficult. But, we found that if we wedged a short piece of cuartón into the gutter – which is a piece of PVC cut lengthwise – there was enough space to swing the hammer into the wood. Being the smallest human around, Catherine did the honors and managed not to fall through the lamina roof. I’m hoping that says more about the roof’s structural integrity than about her tininess.
The best moment of the day was 86-year-old Luisa’s face when she saw that we’d installed the faucet on the tank. It will still be empty until the truck comes. She was thrilled. She put her cantarro underneath the spout, turned the valve that held back nothing, and said, “Careful! It might overflow!” Mike says this is common Luisa humor. She once invited him into her house and said “Would you like some caviar?” Before he could process that he’d heard correctly, she said, “Oh, but wait a minute, I have to turn on the air conditioning.”
We also finished the piping at the tank near Chepe’s house. The gutter slot was a bit slimmer on this one, which we had previously seen as an advantage. However, it soon became apparent that the slot wasn’t wide enough to allow hammer access. D’oh. After Catherine and Erynne had struggled for some time, Chepe appeared from the trees as he does and climbed up on the roof and made it work. Seems the roof can hold two people.
Catherine and Erynne also managed to get about a page and a half worth of GPS points for our GIS map, pending. Later, Ariel and Catherine found an actual map at Don Fermín’s house. The mayor had called and said that the maquina would not be able to go up the insane hill to Chepe’s tank, because it was technically private land. Talk about a punch in the gut. So, after seeking out the map from the blind and defensive Fermín (who could still read the map better than they could) they proved that the hill road was, in fact, drawn with the same kind of line as the roads the maquina had already covered. Ariel called the mayor.
Sass ensued. Unfortunately, Ariel’s fiery Spanish was to no avail – the mayor admitted he had been wrong, but still said that the maquina couldn’t come back because it was already committed to other projects. It would cost more money than putting extra hose on the PIPA truck (not that he’d pay for that, either). So…machete time? Really it’s just about getting out a few stair-like roots. And redistributing the earth to make a smoother incline. The mayor did say he would send a small tractor when the roads were finished, which is presumably at the end of January, because then the PIPAs will be reemployed to deliver clean water rather than dirty water for roads. But once again, we’re thinking about the mayor “mostly cumpliendo promesas.” We shall see what the community thinks tomorrow. In any case, the mayor hasn’t restricted the PIPA from going there, so that’s better than nothing.
Voy a dormir, because everyone else has. Hasta mañana!