2nd- 13th May
Well as you can imagine I was a little tired after I returned to Urubamba. I felt I had been away for a long, long time.
I arrived back in Urubamba about 11am after a long journey on the collectivo. Before the driver even got out of Cusco he had been stopped, spot checked and fined for one of his tyres!! As has become the norm, he also filled up with petrol just outside Cusco so he could complete his journey. I find it amusing that the buses also do this with the bus absolutely full of people, including no standing room! Once I arrived home to Patawasi, I seized the moment before it left me and tidied all my clothes washing the smaller things and preparing a large bag for the laundry, detailing every item. I did wonder if I was being paranoid but as it turned out it was the right move! I was fairly tired but decided I had missed enough Salsa I would go. It is now in a different location, in an adjoining area to the gym in Urubamba. It is surrounded by mirrors...not really what I like but hey, I didn’t need to look! As usual I arrived about 8 after dropping off my laundry. There were only a couple of beginners and they were at the basic stage. IT has been so long since I had been it would be good practice for me..and it was. Later the intermediates arrived..all different people bar one which I found surprising. The pace picked up quickly starting from half way through the beginners section actually as more arrived. Once shown a couple of times I did remember some of the more complicated moves which was a relief and to be honest if the guy knows what he is doing they set you up the right way. By 10pm I was really struggling. Trying to remember and learn quickly again was taking its toll. It is very energetic too. I decided to leave them to it for the last 15-20 minutes and get a moto home.
For the next few days the tiredness stayed with me. I did a little charity work and met a friend Annabelle for dinner and a catch up. We had both decided we weren’t going to Salsa. It was lovely to see her. I walked home ready for bed only to be faced with a real problem in the kitchen. There were a huge number of ants crawling up the wall behind the sink. I went to my room and noticed a line of ants in my bin. As I studied the room further I discovered they were everywhere...around the walls, floor...even heading into my wardrobe and drawers. I tried washing them down with a cloth I had but I was not making a dent in them!! I couldn’t sleep with so many in the room!! I text Wimmie, who I knew was at Salsa. I explained the problem. She said they would be home in 30 minutes. This was about 10pm now. They didn’t arrive until midnight!!!!! They had mops and brushes and a solution to help. This worked that night but I awoke to just about as many!! I discussed with them and they said they would get a different solution that day. I left at lunchtime and they weren’t back then but as it turned out they must have a key as when I came back later my room was clean of ants with some incense burning...yey!! The kitchen wall was clear but I noticed they were in the cupboard and often I would find the sink full of them. I thought I could live with them there...what I hadn’t realised until a week later was they had got inside a new packet of my cereal that had a hole in the foil inside the box. I poured out my cereal and wondered why an ant was crawling out of my plate!!!! Aaaarrrgghhh!!
I took a deep breath and emptied the cereal out. The inside of the cardboard box was crawling so it got a good bashing to clear the box out. I then checked the cereal....hundreds of the wee buggers!! I can only get this cereal in Cusco so there was noooo chance of me flinging it out..and it was expensive!! War was declared!! Ants you are heading for the fridge..this had worked before for my granola. I emptied the cereal into the plastic containers I had, sealed them and put them in the fridge. What I discovered after they had been in the fridge for 3 days is it doesn’t seem to kill them all; some seem just to be dopey. I did have to fling out some of the cereal after I carefully picked off the top layer emptied it out and sifted for any of the blighters and even then a few crawled out!! Mary, the other volunteer here just now, told me the lady she stays with had made a cake with eggs and they had got into that. She thought they would die in the oven...seeemingly not, as she presented the ant-infested cake to her friends!!
As if my night hadn’t been bad enough with the ants, I had gone to pick up my laundry and realised that I was missing something. It was my big red towel...not really something you could miss! While I waited, the young girl phoned where the laundry is taken to be washed..but only after I argued with her that there had been 11 items and not 10!! As I waited I scanned around looking at the other parcels. They are wrapped in white plastic bags but you can still see through them as they are not thick plastic. I said to her that one of the parcels had a towel that looked like mine and could that be mine? No, no I was told and I would have to come back tomorrow. I told her I wasn’t paying and would be back first thing. I came back shortly after 8am when they opened and sure enough there was my towel and there was the parcel I had seen now looking a little less...boy was I glad I hadn’t left my laundry for a few days!!! I also deducted the 2 soles for my motos to and from the laundry..she wasn’t very happy but I told her she could have given it to me the night before and saved this trouble!!
After my fun and games I had a lovely weekend at Sonia’s. On Friday it was her birthday and she had some lovely spiritual ladies there. It wasn’t weird just a nice mix of women chatting. We also started talking about the children’s home which we are now going to turn our focus on. There is a need here to support these children through to adulthood and to be contributing members of the community. There was experience in the room and some great ideas all to be captured at our meeting the following Friday. On Saturday there was a full moon and I took part in my first celebration of this. It was quite magical with a lovely fire, Yeina singing and Nino playing his traditional instruments. We joined in where we could. On Sunday Esmaran (who had been staying with Sonia) and I went to Pisac as poor Sonia had been very unwell and only getting worse. We wanted to leave her to sleep. She had started some antibiotics but they were not working very quickly. She felt too weak to visit the doctor in Cusco, the next week. By Monday she had no voice and was very weak. Rita, our nurse popped in briefly, to bring her some medicine to help her cough that seemed to do the trick. When I visited her on Wednesday afternoon, to bring her some food...chicken and chips from a nice little place in Urubamba she was feeling a little better but was quite breathless and couldn’t clear the cough. It was distressing to watch. I had an inhaler for myself that I gave her to try. I think it began to help. By the end of the week she was looking and sounding a lot better with the complete rest.
My biggest problem now in Patawasi is the loud music from the garage next door..the music also seems to set off the cockerels!! Some days seem worse than others but I had asked Rymi if he could speak to them if it gets worse again. I have been trying to do more meditation which I find quite therapeutic, especially here but this is really difficult when, even with earphones in, the boom of the radio still penetrates...It starts at 6- 6.30am and can go on until 9pm some nights!! The cockerels seem to be quite erratic and often make lots of noise too, probably agitated that the rest of the hens are out and about.
The rest of my week was made up of meetings; visiting and helping in Hearts Cafe. I had a great meeting with Kim who I had heard about and had actually briefly spoken to when last in Hearts Cafe about 2 weeks prior. Kim and I instantly connected and without a huge amount of discussion I knew that Kim would be part of our team looking at children’s homes. I invited her to our first meeting on Friday. That meeting went very well with a good mix of people and ideas. I felt very excited about it all. We first need to get the right piece of land and then I feel the rest will happen. With Fani very firmly in control of the communities I feel this is where I can possibly help. With the next steps agreed our next meeting will be in 2 weeks (22nd May)
My initial visit to the cafe was to support Sonia by offering to talk to the customers about the projects. I also discussed various other problems with Sabrina but quickly the place began to fill and she was short-staffed. They are currently recruiting but it is a slow process finding the right people. Anyway I offered to help and was kept very busy for the next 3 hours. The new location and bigger premises (now seating 70) means a lot more climbing of stairs so you do keep fit! I really enjoyed it, talking to the customers. Mary arrived at 12.30pm for her shift so I left shortly after this. I asked if more help was needed and Sabrina asked if I could return on Saturday. I agreed and said anyone wanting to hear about the projects could come back then. On Saturday after dropping off my laundry at a different place, close to my accommodation actually, I headed for the cafe. I arrived, as agreed, at 11am and the cafe was in full swing. People were waiting for me to tell them about the projects and many more to be served. Our new brochures were now there so it was easy to promote the charity. The day flew in and by 3pm I was desperate for food! We had to restrict customers to the outside tables to allow Sabrina and I to get something to eat as there were only the two of us! By 4pm one of the other girls started for the late shift. Sabrina took time off to go and shower and return for this shift. I had to be on the 7pm collectivo or I wouldn’t get home! On the Thursday I had met a lovely American crowd and they had asked if I would be there on the Saturday. They had their trip to Machu Picchu that day but some of them made it before I finished. The banter was great, with them and others that day so although very tiring it was fun. Dependant on time will depend whether I can return.
The centre of Ollantaytambo had been busy with a festival that day and I had wondered why. It turned out it was the Mother’s day celebrations starting early and all mothers were receiving free food. Mother’s day is a big event here with shops participating too, giving out free nibbles or something. On Sunday I had been invited to Sonia's for a spot of lunch. As it turned out Yeina and Nino were cooking and brought us both a flower for Mother’s day which was so sweet. It was also good to get away from the cockerels...I may strangle one!!!!!! The downside of that lovely day was I was bitten on the ankle in a couple of places and by the next day I had an ankle twice the size of the other!! This has taken 3 days to reduce with overdosing on antihistamines and using a strong cream...the itch is driving me crazy!!
Anyway on that note readers I shall adjourn.. with my itchy ankle... and get some shut-eye before my finance meeting tomorrow...until my next instalment...Chao mis amigos.