Sam and Chepe arrived on the bus shortly after lunch on Monday and we headed straight for Jicaro to squeeze in a half day of work. There was a large group of workers from the community waiting for us. Luckily some of them were already on the other side of the canyon, which meant we could throw a rock with our centerline tied to it across to them instead of making the 20-minute journey ourselves. The rainy season hasn’t started yet so the river is still low enough to wade across after you climb down one side of the canyon and up the other.
We pulled the centerline and marked out the corners of our foundations before it got dark. We also hooked up some plastic tubing that will allow us to pipe water down to the site from the nearest house about a half mile away. That will be so much easier than hauling buckets of water up out of the river (70 feet below).
Tuesday we had our first full day of work. It was cloudy most of the day. Even so, I made the mistake of not reapplying sunscreen. I now have the worst sunburn of my life. At least it only hurts when I move. Oh, and also when I’m not moving, if I lay on anything but my stomach. But I digress. The rest of the team will benefit from my discovery of just how little exposure it takes to make your life miserable.
We mixed mortar (sand, cement and water) and used the rocks the community had ready for us to build the road-side foundation. By the end of the day it was halfway done. Today Sam and Chepe returned to the site and finished it off with a different group from the community. That’s great progress!
I didn’t go to the site today. I spent the early morning buying enough food to feed our whole team for the first week. We will buy the raw food in Esquipulas each week and take it to the community where families will take turns preparing traditional Nicaraguan meals for us.
Next I made the very slow and very bumpy trip to Managua in a giant 10-ton truck. Four hours later my driver and I met up with Milosz and Brandon (who is training to become the next Milosz starting in August). We went to the storage facility and loaded up our cable, cable clamps, and the pipes we will use to build our anchors.
Then the plan was for us to wait for the rest of team to arrive at the airport at 8:30 so everyone could ride back together in the truck. However, a thunderstorm was threatening and our driver was exhausted. We decided it would be safer to send him back while it was still light out. That means the team will stay the night at a backpacker here in Managua and take the bus to Esquipulas tomorrow. It will mean some lost time, but the extra safety is worth it.
In other news, I was not anticipating an overnight trip and wore my filthy work clothes (literally not a square inch that isn’t black with dirt and sweat). Brandon and I managed to score a few deals at a discount clothing store so I’m going to show up to the airport in short that would flatter a junior high volleyball girl and a t-shirt with Pandas on it that says “Arkansas.” Welcome to Nicaragua!