The Short Bit
Day: 14, 15 March.
Activities: Nail painting, bracelet making, pushing our van…
Highlight: Mac & cheese for lunch!
Panpipe song of the day: Grandma’s hands – Bill Withers.
Mood: Seeing the funny side of life.
Learning: Age IS just a number.
Hashtag: #createandbehappy #RESPECTyourelders #enjoyunpredicatibillity
The Long Bit
Today started with a queue of ladies waiting to get their nails painted and the more glittery the nail polish, the better. Sounds luck a nice relaxing activity, but trust me these ladies are picky and if you don’t file their nails in the correct shape or miss a bit of polish from the edges, there is hell to pay. There’s also a certain amount of competition for the smartest nails, so the bigger your queue the better you paint!
Before lunch the craft room opened and Petronilla (below) showed us ‘chicas’ how to make macramé bracelets. These are sold at Los Martincitos for 5 soles (1.25 eur) to help generate an income. This 87 year old lady with arthritic hands churns out bracelets like there is no tomorrow and while we were all still struggling through our first 5cms she had finished and started a new one! She was super patient with us and very particular, making us unpick rows, start again OR at worst making us buy the ones we had made as they weren’t good enough for the shop – Needless to say I have a few, so some of you might be getting a little gift 🙂
While bracelet making was in progress, other volunteers were working to create a vegetable garden. Andrew, a 6ft4inch (193cm) Canadian, was put to task digging up tree roots, however three of the female seniors were apparently not impressed with his work swiftly commandeering the machete to demonstrate how it should be done. Despite being under-empowered and under-valued throughout much of their lives, these woman are head-strong, independent and do not let any kind of illness or ailment prevent them from getting stuck in. Truly an inspiration and wake-up call.
After serving lunch, we were picked up by our driver for the chaotic 40 minute drive back to the homebase. Today the van decided to give-up and broke down three times on the way. Although managing to fix it the first two times, the third incident resulted in a breakdown in the middle of a busy main road (the driving here is a cross between driving in Thailand and Milan, but with more dust and less rules), and after refusing to re-start we had to get out of the van and push it to the road-side. Somehow (?) the locals figured out we weren’t from ’round here’ and we attracted a lot of attention while pushing and waiting at the road-side for a replacement ride to pick us up. It was hilarious.
After about 20 minutes our new ride turned up and we made it all the way back, to be greeted by macaroni cheese for lunch. When you’ve been pushing a van and eating chicken and rice for days, it felt like all our Christmases had come at once!
The small things (and a positive attitude) definitely brighten up a day.