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Comprising Spagus (derived from Asparagus), or Cam. Previously rural banker and farmer that has decided to ditch his tie and gumboots in exchange for a backpack and shaved head. Partnered with Shroom (derived from Mushroom), or Cat. Formally a country/city/country girl that has left behind the world of policy consulting and has ditched her high heels for some comfortable (yet stylish) footwear to support a wee bit of globetrotting through 2010 and 2011. We hope you enjoy following the travels of SpaguShroom through Europe, North America and South America!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pisco, PERU - Week 6

Early this week Cam returned to the doctor for his final blood tests and was glad to discover that he is clear of Typhoid, although he weighed-in 7 kgs lighter as a result. Thankfully the drugs did their thing and we will both get tested when we return to New Zealand to ensure all is well.
On another happy note I was very stoked to receive the ‘Volunteer of the Week’ award. I was chosen from 60 other volunteers for my project management role when Cam was sick. A very pleasant surprise and a cherry on the top for all the hard work we have done. A reward that we can both be proud of considering he prepared my job and tool list daily!

Our main task for the week was constructing a new fence measuring (8mx18m) for the family. Their old fence was barely standing and mostly rotten with weeds growing through it. We quickly ripped this away and erected the new one constructed of estera (woven bamboo material) and thin poles. We also installed a new wooden door giving access to the yard making the final result look very tidy indeed. Using flattened bottle caps and recycled screws we fastened black tarpaulin to the outside of the fence to provide additional privacy for the family. This is a standard fence design in Pisco, which is more like a wall.

We whipped it up fairly quickly and finished off other odd jobs on the house for our final day of work. Cam installed the hand basin, connected power to the toilet and laundry area we levelled and cleared the remainder of the section to leave them with a thorough and tidy job.

On Friday evening the volunteers that had worked on the project took some beer around to Victor’s to celebrate with the family. We had a great time sitting back and admiring our handy work as well as singing and dancing to YMCA and other such hits. It was the perfect way to end the project but also very sad to say goodbye to such a special family.

Over the past week we learnt how much they struggle financially, for example Victor had no cash to replace the empty gas bottle to cook our lunch -we did a whip around to collect the $15 NZD. But the family’s constant happiness and optimism leads you to forget that they really are living tightly. It really makes you think and we will remember this when we return to the rat-race of life at home. We have it so sweet.
On our last day at PSF Cam and I conducted the morning meeting and said our goodbye speeches. I can clearly remember my first day at PSF 6 weeks ago where people stood to say their goodbyes and about how the experiences had changed their lives. We can now fully relate. We have been very fortunate to begin and complete a project with a family during our time here. It is the type of experience many volunteers wish for as a lot of the projects at PSF are not family based. It was sad to say goodbye to our friends but we know that we will be seeing some of them in the near future - either in NZ or on some other trip around the world.
We leave Pisco with full and happy hearts. We have had the most amazing experience and learnt so many new skills and not to mention a lot more about ourselves. We would highly recommend volunteering at PSF to anyone thinking of visiting Peru.
On Saturday we caught up on admin, washed our whole wardrobes and just enjoyed having no responsibilities for the day. Sunday morning we hit the road, first to Ica and then on to Cuzco. 18 hour bus journey. Bring it on.

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