Monday, November 1, 2004

Chile - Numero Uno

Hola amigos!

Estamos aqui en Temuco! I´m having some problems withthe keyboard so forgive any typos... there is a lineso now is not the time to be formal.

We´re all here, staying in the Hogar de Bautista - theBaptist house for girls. There are communal showerswhich we have divided up into boys and girls becausetaking showers with strangers of the opposite genderis just too much. It´s very cold and all the bedshave 4 wool blankets. I feel like I´m suffocating andstart having claustrophobic fits. Other people feellike they´re in the womb - all about perspective,really.

Anyway. Santiago is a big urban city. On halloween they were having mayoral elections so most everthingwas closed. We found some place to have lunch and gotmicrobuses to the airport. Today in Temuco, and allover Chile it is All Saint´´s Day - so once againeverything closed.

We did go to a Mapuche museum to see some pots andthen to a Mercado to buy scarves made of alpaca furand some musical instruments. I now have a drum andhorn I´m considering using for a wake up call.

We met some of the families tonight in a bienvenidaand were forced to speak Spanish for a long enoughtime that my head hurt. The directors from theHabitat board and some of the family members got up tospeak, so of course Una and I had to say something. Connie our Habitat contact was translating theconversation to English for us so I thought she wouldtranslate our conversation to Spanish, but no. SinceI had been throwing my Spanish around, I got totranslate for Una. Lordy. It actually went okay andI impressed some of the non Spanish speaking membersof the team.

The team is great. We did our orientation of the games is where you throw a string aroundwhen answering the question of what your greaterpurpose for coming on this trip was. You hold on tothe string so it ends up looking like a big web onceeveryone has gone and then we talk about this beingsymbolic of us all being connected and we cut thestring up and give some to everyone asking them thatwhen they get frustrated over the next two weeks that they look at their string and remember why they arehere and why other people are here and to chill out. EVeryone is wearing their string around, on theirwrists, using it to hold their nametags, etc. It´scool.

For all our trying to get to know people before thetrip, they surprise you. We´ve got quite a few chattyCathys so we´´re trying to make sure everyone gets achance to speak up. Every day provides a newchallenge for Una and I team wise and logistic wise. So far, they´ve mostly been personal challenges... butsome of them have the potential to go team wide.

Áh well... what would it be without a challenge and alesson to learn, eh¿

Tomorrow we finally get to work. It is currentlypissing down rain, says Dennis, and we will worktomorrow, rain or shine. I´m a little sad to find outthe scotch guard didn´t take to my jacket too well andI´m not really waterproof. Gives me something else tolook for at the mercado besides spice racks and piecesof wood that say welcome to Temuco.

Okay, this has been far too long. The computer is atthe Hogar so I imagine I´ll get to write again. Though this keyboard is so stiff I think I´ve justdeveloped carpal tunnel.

As they say here...


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