Today we had a full day working at the school at our various duties (for me, that meant English grades 5 & 6, then assisting with hygiene), and then we went to work on Hernan´s house. For those of you who are actually reading all of these entries, you might remember Hernan from the entry titled “A home visit.”
Given Hernan´s troubled home situation, we were prepared to be the only ones present working on the house, but we were gratified to see that Hernan´s mother and uncle were there. With them, the boys (Hernan, Darwin, and Juri), Iris (the social worker), and all of us volunteers, it was truly a group effort. Some of us worked on adding adobe bricks to the existing structure, while others went to work clearing the field of the old crop to prepare it for the planting of a new one. It was hard work for all involved, but incredibly rewarding to be a part of creating a new home for the boys. Even their mother, who was previously absorbed by her own private troubles and the alcholism, seemed inspired by our willingness to help. In fact, when the first group of volunteers arrived, she was overwhelmed with gratitude and, with tears in her eyes, kissed each volunteer on the cheek. According to Ginny, she even started talking about plans for planting new crops, which is the first time Ginny or Iris heard her speak of the future. This is the sort of thing that makes volunteering so worthwhile.
We´ll be returning to Hernan´s house next week to help finish adding the adobe bricks and clearing the field. Since next week is the last week for many of us, this means that adding the roof and sowing the ground will be left to the few remaining long-term volunteers and the fresh crop of volunteers that will arrive once we leave. I have to admit that I am sorry that I won´t be here to see the completion of the work. Peru, Pumamarca, and the children have built a permanent home in my heart.
Incidentally, I am leaving for the Inca trail trek tomorrow morning. Wish me luck…