This morning nearly everyone woke up early. Our rooms have no air conditioning and we only have screens on our windows. The roosters started crowing again at 3:00 AM. The cows were mooing very early as well. We were supposed to be up by 6:00 with breakfast at 6:30. We had no trouble doing this.We went a little early to breakfast to get coffee. When we arrived, there were boxes of cornflakes, which we assumed was our breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I ate cereal for breakfast. There was also whole milk. I never remember drinking whole milk, even as a child. We always drank skim milk. Anyway, I dove in. Unbeknownst to me, they would be serving an egg, tortillas, pineapple, ham (I think – I passed) and mango. Breakfast was very good and we suspected that the egg was gathered that morning. The yolk was very orange.
It seems that the Rotary Club of Jutecalpo did not get the computers to us. We only have monitors, so it was decided that the people who were originally going to work with the computers would be reassigned. Our options were latrine building, concrete floor building or painting at the school. Iopted to paint at the school. Obviously, I wasn’t planning on this and did not have proper clothing for the task. Fortunately, Blake McBurney had an extra tee-shirt that he was willing to give me. If you know Blake, you know it swallowed me, but it worked. We were all loaded in a range rover and a 10 passenger van and were driven to the high school and library. The grounds were beautiful and we saw a building where the children and adults had painted mariposa or butterflies. We walked on to the library, which was a beautiful, but simple building. It is all open windows with iron bars on the openings to keep people from stealing the books, etc. The ironwork was beautiful. The children were being given a program by the librarian, I assume, and we were invited to come in. They were very curious about us and answered with an enthusiastic “hola”.
We were then taken to our worksites. My job started with painting the metal doors to each classroom with black rust resistent paint. There were 2 bathroom doors, an office door, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade doors. I moved to painting the outside of the school yellow with rollers. We had a team of probably 10 people doing all this and we worked from about 7:30 to 11:30 painting. We got quite a bit done that morning. When the children were on recess, they were curious about what we were doing and came behind the school to see. I motioned to the closest one to come help me paint. He shook his head, acting a little shy, but also smiling. I ran over to him and told him I would paint him. They speak no English, but he understood what I was doing and ran away laughing. Oh My Gosh!!!! I think the entire schoolyard came to me to be chased with the paint roller. It was on a very long stick and they would come up behind me and touch the back of the stick, then I’d whirl around and chase them. I think I was told there were 120 students there. At any one time there were 40 surrounding me. I did get a coulple of soccer balls painted and they screamed with laughter over this and obviously this was a badge of honor to them to have their ball painted. Each one wanted me to chase them and they would call me with an “hola”. It was a lot of fun, but I thought I’d have a heart attack before recess was over and they woould not let me stop. I’m praying the computers come in tomorrow because I know they will want to do it again. We cleaned up with mineral spirits at the school, then at noon, we were picked up to come back to the ranch for lunch.
We had beans, tortillas, a vegetable mixture, some vegetable that sounds like coyote and chicken. We had heard that the lemonade was homemade and awesome, so we were anxious to try that when we learned it would be served at lunch. Blake took a swig of it and was surprised at the taste. He said that it was incredibly sour and that it probably was just in comparison to the orange drink he also had. I had to try it, too. It was without a doubt, the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth and I wasn’t as nice about it as Blake was. Then it was all over because then everyone had to try it. Everybody but Alicia agreed that it was terrible. We compared it to some of the coke products from around the world that we have all tasted at the World of Coke. 🙂
Anyway we took a 2 hour siesta before returning to our jobs. I heard that the floor pouring crew worked absolutely the hardest. I am not sure everyone wanted to return, but as it turned out, they had done such a good job that it was decided to wait to do another one the next day so that we would be sure that there was enough to do for the entire week. Some stayed behind and others went on latrine duty. The rest of us girls and Dave Funderburk went to paint at the school. I was put back on door duty with Christine and the rest painted the courtyard walls yellow. I finished my door and went to check on Christine and found an incredible mess around her. She was working on her shoes with the mineral spirits cloth and I said something about stepping in black paint and tracking it up. She assured me that was not the case. She said that she was just a sloppy painter. We all laughed. As it turned out, she was not kidding. There was only one more door to do at this point, so we decided that she would paint the inside and I would paint the outside. Once she finished on the inside, she opened the door and again, there was a terrible mess on the floor (neither of us had drop cloths). There was probably one drop on my floor. She took one look at my floor and said that I must be an amazing attorney. She would not stop talking about it and decided that I never made a mistake at the office. She went into much detail about it to the delight of the rest of the people, then proceeded to wash down her floor with mineral spirits. Unfortunately, my painting skills put me on the metal grills in the windows, so for about an hour or two, I worked on that while the others finished up the walls in the courtyard, as well as the colums in the courtyard. We were told that we would be picked up shortly. We cleaned ourselves up once again with mineral spirits and headed back home. Alicia and I got in the back of one of the Land Rovers and everyone inside from the other work detail was nearly overcome with the smell of mineral spirits. We tried opening windows, but gave up and turned on the air. Unfortunately, it pushed the smell to the back of the car and only cooled the front passengers. Oh well……
We arrived home and everyone proceeded to the showers. Now we have 7 women in our room and we have only 2 showers, so it was awhile before I got mine. One thing I will say about the showers is that you will not survive if you are modest. There is almost no privacy, but we make it work. Under the portico of our house there are about 4 rocking chairs and probably 20 adarondack chairs, as well as about 6 hammocks. We all hang out in the chairs and hammocks until the dinner bell. It seemed that the ones that went into town to work on latrines didn’t actually have to do too much and were somewhat disappointed with that, but the process of building latrines is only a one or two man job, so you are left just bringing concrete block or buckets of concrete when needed. There is a lot of standing around. Anyway, we all heard the dinner bell and wandered over to the mess hall for dinner. We had a BBQ pork chop that I finally picked up with my hands and ate like fried chicken along with the obligatory rice, beans, watermelon and tortillas. We may have had something else in there, but I can’t remember what it was. We enjoyed eating with each other, though, and sharing our stories.
After dinner, we had a meeting to discuss the day and what would happen in the morning. Bob named the princess of the day and it would be Laura.
It seems the overseer of the ranch, Jose, decided to drive to Jutecalpa to pick up the boxes and bring them back first thing in the morning. It is a very dangerous drive there. I found out later that we had come through the corridor of death on the way in — named because of the profusion of banditos on the road. I hope he has security and I understand that it is more dangerous for him than it would be for us, since we are American and are on a big bus with security surrounding us. He will only be in a truck with about $25,000 in equipment on it. I hope he is okay. We discussed the sustainability of the computer program and heard from Marshall about some interesting ideas he has going forward. We also discussed the problems with the roof of the school that we had just painted. It seems that the roof will cost $7-8,000 to replace and it definitely needs replacing. We have actually deicded not to paint the interior walls as they would only be ruined when the roof is replaced. We were asked to help with funding and a 2-1 match was proposed from someone back in the states to get this accomplished. We were asked to make donations anonymously for this project. Our donation would be tripled with the matching funds. We adjourned about 7:20PM and headed back to our rooms to go to bed. We realized how early it was, so here I am. I have to walk in the dark to get to the office to find Wi-Fi to post this. I am using my cell phone as a flashlight to get here and I will use it to return. It is now about 9:00 and I am ready to sign off. I seem to be having trouble uploading pictures, so I’ll try them on FB.