Last week of workaway

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End Feb 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sky Hacienda (Ed and Juneīs)

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, September 6, 2010

Workaway no. 2 = definite good experience.  One downside was getting sick for a few days, right when it was time to learn how to build with adobe.  Tuesday we cleared the land of rocks and weeds, then mixed the dirt with straw and water to make the adobe bricks.  The next day, I woke up with stomach cramps, so I couldnīt work. I was out the next day, too. I might have gotten sick from the chorizo, or something else I ate, or anything I touched. It wasnīt too bad, but I wasnīt 100% better until today. Anyway, Friday we worked on building the walls for one of the bungalos (there is Ed and Juneīs main house, then there will be a bunch of bungalos that they will rent out to tourists).  We had to use half thickness bricks (chopped in half with a hachet), and then flat stones to make the first layer level, then we could use full bricks for the other levels. You can probably see this in the photos. 

Hereīs what Iīve learned about adobe building: The mud has to be the right proportion of mud, clay, rocks, straw, and water.  First you dig a trench for the foundation, then fill it with stones and cement, then build with the adobe bricks on top of that. We have to use a level and a plumb line to make sure the walls go up straight.  Cement and adobe are mixed on the ground by making "volcanoes" of dirt or cement and filling the middle with water.  Smallish rocks are okay for the bricks, but for the mud in between, you have to sift the dirt and just use fine dirt or small pebbles.  Eventually a roof will be put on, and the walls have to be rendered to protect agains rain. 

The shower was finished (ish) on the last day we were there.  The last day was also the first day we joined in the daily after lunch soccer game.  The field was a dirt area only mostly cleared of stones.  We played 6 v 6 with the workers, and it was so much fun! I was sucking air because of the altitude and because I am out of shape, but that didnīt make it any less fun.  I think the guys enjoyed it, too, even thought they probably havenīt played with girls before, let alone gringas. 

Sunday there was a festival in Yotala, which is the city the hacienda is actually in.  There was a rodeo type thing, where guys with cloths or just holding their jackets taunted bulls until they charged, the point being to tire out the bulls so they could grab a colored cloth from around their neck.  One guy got taken away in an ambulance after a bull tossed him in the air with his horns, then head-butted and trampled him on the ground.  Aside from that, it was entertaining. It was a carnival atmosphere, with vendors selling ice cream and snacks, plus kiddie rides and games.  In the town center, there were a bunch of ladies roasting and selling pork in the streets. I got some seriously delicious ribs

Later that night, we were on our way to a movie when a parade crossed our path.  They are celebrating some saint. The parade was marching bands and dancing ladies, plus a ton of kids, possibly from different schools, dancing synchronized dances and wearing neon colored strips of cloth around their waists.  It was pretty cool.  The parade was still going after the movie ("American Beauty") and into the night. 

Iīm staying with Cathy, Jonny, and Myah in a hostel in sucre now. We will be leaving tomorrow or the next day to go to Potosi and do a tour of the silver mines. Then weīll head to the salt flats in Uyuni, where Jonny wants to ride the kite buggy he built. Then itīll be to La Paz. I have a flight out of Lima, Peru at the end of the month (to London), so I might spend some time there first. Weīll see!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. I didnīt spend much time writing about them, sorry. 
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alicia. on

P.S. My Spanish is coming along slowly. I can understand a little bit when it´s in context, and I´ve picked up some handy words and phrases. The other day I learned a very important word that I can´t believe I didn´t learn as soon as I got to South America: helado. It means ice cream. And in Sucre it´s only 1 boliviano, which is about 14 cents. I´m in heaven.

Mom on

I can't believe you dug that trench! I'm just glad you didn't decide to taunt the bulls too. I enjoyed the pics. You're looking good. Love you.

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