First Week in Pisco
Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
90Trip End Ongoing
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Getting used to life in a disaster zone takes some time, but we are making good progress. I (John) have spent most of my first week in Pisco and the surrounding areas doing demo work on destroyed homes. Kristina is currently away in Ica for a week doing a project which Hands On temed up with Unicef to build temporary classrooms so the thousands of roaming refugee children have some place to go during the day instead of wanding around looking for trouble and laughing at gringos.
The government is about to declare the initial stages of disaster to be over, but you wouldn´tknow from looking at the place. People wander the streets looking for anything of value to pick up out of the rubble and sell
Today was truly a humbling day. Most of the days I have spent flexing my huge bicepts and crushing the remanants of homes with a single blow. The idea is that the government has told people here that in order to be given temporary living supplies, and help to rebuild (tents) they have to demolish their destoryed home. This involved smashing down walls, tearing down roofs, taking out windows and doors, cleaning up the junk, and leaving nothign but the floor and the foundation. It is to the point that a crew of 5 of us can demolish a 4 room home, walls, roof and all, and clear it out in a day. Its hard work and makes your back hurt, but after a few days, the sorness subsides
The work ethic is interesting here, as is the edequitte in the neighborhood. Sometimes its the grandmothers who get in there with us and roll up their sleeves and move brick with us. Sometimes there are a group of able bodies men who set up plastic chairs across the road, drink beer from 8am to 5pm and laugh at us all day. Its a mixture. We can see that our help is appreciated, but it definately doesnt always feel taht way.
We run into bumps aloing the way as well. Yesterday our demo site contained lots of what has deemed to be aesbestos. The aesbestos problem has gotten a little out of hand, somewhat comedic, but not really. We have come acrossis a number of times. Of course, the locals have never heard of the stuff. Apparently, a huge nearby factory remodeled its roof a few years ago, presumably because of the hazardous substance it was constructed with. Instaed of disposing of it, they simply put it all out on the road. Of course, the locals strapped for cash, salvage absolutely everything. To them, this appeared to be massive slabs of perfectly good roofing and housing
Anyway, thats a snapshot of the work. Otherwise, we live well, eat well and get a hell of a lot of excersise. As always, ill direct you to www.hodr.org if you wanna make a donation.
Check out the photo, and video, should be interesting