Pisco PowerTue, November 27, 2007 - 1:59 PM
"Watch it!" said Andrew. "I just took a piece of concrete in the forehead."
He, too, had a gash. Good thing we're both wearing sunglasses.
I've been in Pisco two days now, working on rubble crews. Yesterday I was in Pisco Playa, finishing clearing the debris from a local ladies house. She work side by side with us, hauling huge loads of concrete, rocks, adobe, and tiles out from her collapsed kitchen and bedroom to the street out front. Hopefully the machines will come soon to drag it, and the shattered hopes, crushed memories, and faded dreams, away.
Today we went to the center of Pisco and worked with a man called Thomy. Next door he was taking the few bricks that were salvageable and with his dad reconstructing their house. The area we were working in was a complete loss, we didn't leave a single wall standing. The three houses to the left were the same, and when the crew was working too tightly together we spread out to help out the neighbors. There is enough of this kind of brute labor left for volunteers to have their hands full of rubble for years to come. Its going to be a while before Pisco is back on its feet.
I'm about to call a lady that I met this past weekend who lives in Santa Cruz. Thats a community about thirty minutes inland. I'm hoping to build a children's forest there, or at least facilitate and promote it. In the end, its going to be the children and their parents who decide what happens. I'm just going to help them visualize their dreams.
This past weekend was like a dream. After I met the professor at her house in Santa Cruz, I drove out to an oasis with some new friends. Jorge, Nana, and Norman were my three compadres from Lima, Pisco, and Canada, respectively. Jorge and Norman are professors, both working on forest conservation and education. They were helping to introduce me to some of the movers and shakers in Pisco, including Nana's brother Claudio.
The oasis we went to was absolutely gorgeous. They're trying to get it designated as a wildlife reserve. Walking around the dunes there, I felt like I was in the Sahara, far from civilization. The goat herders who lived up against the dunes lived such simple lives I felt I'd traveled back in time, which was accentuated by the fact that we camped their and did all of our cooking with charcoal.
I arrived in Pisco from the oasis refreshed, ready to take on the daunting task of cleaning up and rebuilding after a catastrophic earthquake. There are over 100 volunteers here, from all over the world. Some are familiar faces, but most are new to this work. Its really inspiring to see so many people willing to put down everything and help out their fellow man, it reminds me of why I stayed in Mississippi so long.
I don't know how long I'll be here, it all depends on the ANIA projects I get going. So far, all the right elements seem to be in place. I have great contacts in the community, the tools I need to plan and facilitate, and a group of volunteers to back me up. This should go well!
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