Friday, July 23, 2004
The last couple weeks have been quite the blur. I haven't had much of any time to blog. I finally finished getting the computers set up here in the office that my brother got donated. Also, the 8 computers that have been locked in customs were finally released which is a bit of a miracle in my mind. My opinion towards the government here is slowly improving just a little bit. I found out that the professor I teach with is payed by the government which is cool because the refuge could never afford to pay him.
It is fun to have the computers all set up here in the office. The staff really likes them I think. They are all WindowsXP which is nice. It should cut down on the time I have to spend helping people with problems.
Tricia and I are heading to Lima for Peru's Independence day next week. To say I am looking forward to it is an understatement. I can already taste the Big Mac that I am going to eat. It has been almost 4 months since I have eaten at McDonald's which I believe is an alltime record for me. We are also planning on going to the best seafood restaurant I have ever been to...at least the best value seafood restaurant anyway. I get this amazing crab and shrimp dish that would blow you mind for $7.
Another team is coming the week we get back (the week of the 2nd of august) from California. As classes are off that week I will be with the team most of the time. Tricia is also in charge of teams here in Pucallpa till another Hunger Corps volunteer gets here later this year and takes over so she will be quite busy with the team. They are building a schoolroom I believe. After that team, a team from Japan will arrive to build another building.
At this point some of you are probably thinking..."Why fly 10-15 people half way across the room to build a building? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just send the money and have the community build it themselves?"
First of all, the community does build it themselves. They have already started on it and will largely complete the frame of the building before the team arrives. The team just usually puts the finishing touches on the building like painting and siding (there are exceptions to this like the last team from Oregon which did quite a bit of the siding, roofing, and framing). The team also provides the cost for the materials which here is the large majority of the cost (80% or more?). If this support was not provided the building would not get built. Also, the community is always impacted when they see people come from other countries to help them. It is a very cool thing for the community and provides a lot of hope and blessing to Food for the Hungry. Finally, it is frequently a life changing experience for the team members themselves to come on a trip like this. That, in a nutshell, is why I, who was until recently a big skeptics on short term teams, now think they are a good idea.
Oh, one final thing. I marched in a parade today for independence day. It was scorching hot, but the parade was only 100 meters so it wasn't too bad. The parade was for the school that Refuge of Hope operates. I don't really understand why everyone gets all dressed up and then marches 100 meters, but regardless...it was fun. I'll post pictures.