Day 6: I woke at 4:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I removed the ear plugs (yes, much needed!) and listened to the birds chirping, the bugs buzzing and the roosters crowing. I’ve been spending too much time in the sun and the itchy arms have begun. (I have a reaction to the sun while on some medication.) Sheer misery!
We drove the trucks down the same road we walked up on the first day in order to reach the tiny village of Las Joyas. Mike and Bill discovered this village on a run 8 years ago. They were the first white people to visit the community. Since then, Mike has developed a relationship with Manuel who works for him two days a week at the hogar and two days a week weeding, feeding and watering the animals, etc.
Mike has done much for this community. One thing was to create these washing stations/lavatories. The corrugated tin to Mike’s left is a door to a flushing toilet. Before Mike, the residents used the woods which would seep into their water source causing illness and diarrhea. In the middle, Mike is leaning on a tub, called the “pila,” which is a water reservoir used for washing – clothes, dishes, people. To Mike’s right is another small room where people can bathe in privacy. Before they had this, everyone bathed in the river which afforded no privacy and dirtied the drinking water.
This is a second well where the other residents get their water which is located on land that is for sale. Mike wants to purchase this land in order to preserve the well for the community. The community will plant coffee on the land which will be a source of income.
This is a sand filter that Mike gave to the community to filter their water. It costs about $200 and requires clean sand. The new filters that we brought to the other villages are lighter and cheaper. This is Don Manuel’s home. He is the elder of the community and also the pastor. He holds church in this “building.” I think about the massive rain storm we had the other day and what this shelter must have felt like during the downpour and wind. Behind me is a small bedroom that does have “walls,” sort of, but this house is situated on a hill, so all the rainwater washes right down the hill, flowing through the house and its dirt floors.
I was struck by the size of this hibiscus “tree”. Annie is standing next to it for scale. See how tall?
The view leaving Las Joyas. The mountains are so beautiful. Uh oh! Cows in the road! Once they ford the river, they will turn out of the way.
This was the cleanest community we visited. The children walk straight up the mountain to attend school (the one where we helped with benches.) Every day. Rain or shine. Did I mention it’s a MOUNTAIN? It takes them an hour.
Our time here is almost over. We have seen and done a lot!