Monday, July 19, 2010


We have reached the halfway point of the program. Three weeks lie behind us, three weeks lie ahead. This is always a good time for reflection.

The students have shown themselves to be a really great group. They all work hard - in service, in their classwork, in the optional activities we make available for them. They don't complain, even when rain spoils their plans, or when I put more on their plates than they can handle. They have dealt admirably with the trials they have so far faced, including tragedy, and have emerged as a strong, tight-knit community. I am proud of them.

The work on the project goes well, though I am having to put in extra work to try to bring it to a conclusion before our departure. We are painting the community center (in hues of yellow and electric green, which I did not choose but which the people of Loma Pampa seem pleased with), which is an elaborate process. We had to sand the walls to remove irregularities in the plaster, and then seal them by brushing on a liquid made from boiled cow's hooves. Then three coats of paint (walls and ceiling), using paint excessively thinned in order to stretch it (don David, like any good Bolivian, is always economical in his use of resources). We also want to paint the doors of the new bathrooms to match the ones we painted last year. All of this work is more than we can accomplish in a month of Sundays (well, six weeks), so I and a few diligent helpers have been making midweek visits to the barrio to get ahead in the work. My hope is that this year, for the first time, our students will actually be able to see the fruits of their labors before they leave. With only three weeks to go, time is already pressing.

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