On Wednesday 15th October, the real work began. Our first objective is the construction of a bus stop in the main square. On that Wednesday the team started collecting rocks for the structure of the bus stop from a river and gathered more as we snaked our way uphill towards the hayfields. Armed with nothing but machetes and a strong will to work, we chopped down the hay and organized it into neat bundles ready for distribution. However, during the late morning it rained, which made it difficult for trucks to come and collect the materials we had collected. This problem was no match for our determination because in the afternoon we tirelessly carried the hay by hand to the town. The next day was even dirtier than the last as we collected clay. It wasn´t all fun and games though, not when a volunteer (who shall remain anonymous) put a worm down Rachel´s top. All of the volunteers who were there seemed to enjoy it; except Rachel...who screamed…a lot.
The following Monday and Tuesday brought more of this work. Once again, the rain made it difficult to bring rocks and clay down from the outskirts of the town but a very special “thank you” must go out to Ana Maria´s brother, Dimas, who used his truck to transport the heavy loads to the site of the proposed bus stop.
Some of the work the team performed was of a more artistic nature. In preparation for the eco-festival, we made fancy dress masks, hats, costumes and flowers out of recyclable materials such as plastic bottles, newspapers and plastic bags. The results of this endeavour are diverse and beautiful and they give a huge amount of credit to the team´s collective creativity and imagination. Another aim of the project is to demonstrate to children the various uses of recyclable materials so our efforts are serving more than one purpose.
Who would have thought that plastic bottles had so many uses? They can also be used as eco-bricks for the bus stop by filling them with grit. On the following Wednesday we made some of these but it is important to make sure that the bottles are filled as much as possible and that the grit is as compact as possible so that the bricks are sufficiently sturdy and durable.
The next day, Thursday 23rd, after much patience, we finally started the preliminary work on the structure of the bus stop. This process involved a lot of measuring, sawing and hammering as we made the outline. Now things are getting really exciting as soon we will start to see the fruit of our labour.
The team wrapped up Thursday with an English lesson for the National Volunteers. The lesson was conducted by Rachel, Daisy and Wendy, with some help from Adam, and featured vocabulary on parts of the body and on animals. The Nationals really enjoyed it as the lesson included songs and lots of energy and enthusiasm. Every single day the language barrier is dwindling more and more.
Written by ICS volunteer Chris Oswald