One of the best days of my life
Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
41Trip End Mar 12, 2006
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Abraham, a Water for People engineer, allowed Paul & me to accompany him to Arpita, a rural village outside Cochabamba, where we met the men who are building the network which will enable the village to have running water for the first time. After the men met to coordinate the project, we feasted on roasted guinea pig, corn-on-the-cob, and fresh potatoes--all local specialties. Then about 40 villagers gathered, mostly traditionally-garbed women, whose faces were weathered by the difficulty of their lives, to open the work ahead--a process they would all be expected to assist with both their labor and their money contribution.
There were speeches, the smashing of a local sparkling apple juice bottle, drinking of beer and chicha (homemade corn liquor), fireworks, blowing of the ram's horn...and the dancing. Paul and I, along with all the workers, were honored by the women with handfuls of confetti on our heads because we offered to return and help with the digging for households populated only by widows or handicapped. If the pipes arrive in time, we will. If they don't, we might not. But a leader told us, "Whether or not you return to help is not as important as the gift of the heart that you have given us with your willingness to join us."