Cooking remained a strong theme and as the girls gathered in the kitchen to make cinnamon buns and cookies Ed and Dotahn went on a picante rampage cooking a monster batch with 25 chillies and 10 tree tomatoes. However the picante was never truly relished as the sound of smashing glass echoed from the kitchen the next day. More than half was on the ground, a wet red splatter like a murder scene. Dotahn also lost a beer to that fateful accident. It was hard to console the two and Ed ate it anyway with glass splinters and all.
With a new working week came an onslaught of new volunteers, with blistered and cracking hands Dotahn looked on with glee seeing all the possible rock carriers filing into place. Two young British boys who played rugby and had muscles to match, Tom and Chris, two tall and capable Canadians, Colin and Matt and an eager young character from Northern California, Abraham. With the onslaught came a huge increase in the pace of the wall construction and more was done in one day than had been completed in the previous week. Unfortunately it also meant a trip for more materials was needed on the day after and that quality control of the wall became more difficult. Luckily Abraham was very keen and had some knowledge of wood so the next day was made better with wood for the treehouse and more cement. The plans were completed and the forest properly laid out on paper and the treehouse platform began to take shape. Good progress was made that week and the wall began to look like a wall.
Paper. Such a marvelous medium and the epicentre of most of Emmily’s work of late. Bringing it back to basics Emma and Emmily decided to make the puppet heads from paper mache. Covering themselves in glue and paper strips (and experiencing de ja vu from the nursery) Nico, Emma and Emmily started the Frankenstein process. The kids went crazy over the balloons, which was a good way to keep them distracted from the glue. Paper pulp was mashed onto the black and white bulbs and Wa La. Grey, lumpy puppet heads. Drying was a timely process once again so shopping missions were the next priority. At the Salasacan market Emma and Emmily bought a beautiful black and red weaving for the theatre’s curtains. Next, Ambato, to purchase materials, paints and trinkets to make and decorate the puppets bodies.
Creating the skin color of a Salasacan puppet became a harder task than first thought. But Morgane came to the rescue with paper tree bark that worked surprisingly well. Although Emmily tried to find the more funny side when Googie saw the heads and said “Wow, that’s amazing that your making the heads out of potatoes” he was not being sarcastic. Slowly the puppets began to take form. Damir’s sleeping shepherd doll looking shifty, Nicholas’ mother doll having a big toothy smile, Emma’s father doll looking more like the girls boyfriend and my girl doll still without a name.
That week Robert was quite ill and we were all worried about him. He was delirious with fever and wouldn’t go to a doctor. We made him chicken soup and brought it to him, but still he was quite ill. Eventually Rufino, one of the original teachers at the school decided to help. Rufino happened to be one of the few remaining locals who maintained knowledge of the traditional medicine of the area and still practiced these techniques. He came to Robert and gave him a traditional bath in herbs which includes a whole ceremony involving the moving and cleansing of energy. He also gave Robert a herbal tea he had made to try and cure him of his illness. Robert said he had very strange dreams that night and the next day he was evidently on the mend. A lot can be said for traditional medicine which has been handed down for centuries and used to succesfully treat large communities of people.
By the end of the week all the puppets but the condors were complete, yay 4 us. Now with the remaining materials for the stage at hand the final touches were put on the theatre. It really was a masterpiece of collective genius. With some time on Emms hands she stayed up at the school after lunch one day to hang out with the nursery kids, getting in as many cuddles and laughs as possible. Emm also enjoyed staying after lunch on fridays to watch the childrens traditional dance class.
With the end of the week came the sad parting of a comrade. Lizzy was leaving to continue on her adventures and so we decided to have a party. We had been discussing the idea of having a school photo which included everyone and Ed suggested that we do it that afternoon as a gift for Lizzy. We somehow got everyone together, including Robert, teachers, volunteers and children and an amusing yet succesful photo opportunity ensued. That afternoon the girls went on an outing for ice cream while the boys went to purchase a horrible amount of cheap rum. So ensued another relatively wild party. Many Cuba Libres, the emergence of Santa Claus, aggressive boyish games, lots more dancing and many a group sing-a-long of ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in five different languages. Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and English. Although occasionally a little out of hand it was a great party and we headed to bed far too close to dawn.
Saturday morning we were met with a house in disrepair and housemates continuing the festivities in a far more impaired manner. We decided with Emma, Damir, Tanya and Ed to go to a nice French restaurant to escape the mayhem. Upon our return late in the evening we heard a huge party going on deep in the valley below our bedroom. The house was completely deserted. An oddly familiar voice wafted up the hill and at first we disregarded it as our tired imagination. As we were going to sleep we could no longer ignore it as the voice on the microphone exclaimed “GOOGIE!” a number of times. This coupled with the French accent made us certain that it was our own Saint Nicolas who had gone on a rampage of pig slapping and wedding party crashing with the rest of the boys.