Monday, July 11, 2011

Stark Contrasts

July 8, 2011

Friday morning the kids were up early. Raul got up to lead a run at 6:30! We have a lot of athletes on this trip and they want to stay in shape. Very impressive. After breakfast we met our families. Each student introduced his/her self and each father introduced himself, wife, and family. I cracked the same lame joke I always do, since every man here my age already has a wife and at least three kids. I said, “My name is John, I am 35 years old, and my wife is my motorcycle.” It gets a laugh every time.

The houses are very close together which is great for me and Molly. Last session one house was a 30 minute walk, now the furthest house is 15 minutes max. But the contrast is so profound that we talked about it all day and we are still dealing with it. In the last village, everyone wore traditional clothing, lived in meager single houses, and were very poor. There was no electricity, cell phone service, or any luxuries of any kind. Potatoes were the only thing that grew at that altitude, and the land was not very fit for grazing. There were no roads, and the people said that no one ever climbed up to help them before.

Palomar: A metal plow?

Here, every single house has a bathroom!!! The city built them for each household 4 years ago. The houses are separate from the kitchens, and most homes have a garage-like area too. The houses have plaster on the sides, and have electricity too. One family picked up the students in a van!!! It is the wealthiest village I have ever worked with. Even the abode bricks were the double-wide ones that the wealthier families use.

We are framing this project in our minds to understand that the guinea pigs are still making a difference for these people. Even comparing this village to the other one, there is a lot of need.

The scenery here is once again stunning. We are completely surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Tonight the moonlight is reflecting off the snow caps and is so amazing. I think I will do alright living here for five more months.

Beautiful Scenery

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