Friday, March 25, 2011

Pisco and the Earthquake

Cleaning up the city with murals

Morning with all the Volunteers
  Before you get too riled up, NO, I wasn't in an earthquake. But had I been in Pisco on August 15, 2007 around dinner time, I could have been in the shake, rattle and roll! An 8.0 tremor roared through town and left demolished rubble in it's path... Still to date, nearly four years later, families continue living in plastic and cardboard shacks, piles of rubble are taller than the door heights, while running water and flush toilets remain a luxury that some simply cannot afford.

what parts of the city look like
  A group of volunteers from around the globe gather here for a minimum of two week stays, while many commit for several months! The objective is to make change and improve the community. Building simple, sanitary, structures for those in need is the focus, but truthfully, it's a living breathing organism!!! For the peak of my duration we something close to 90 volunteers, about 15 projects each day, and a celebration every evening back at headquarters. It's all building projects, but in different ways. Teaching English and IT to the public, interviewing families for future projects, designing and submitting plans for Earthbag homes to continue building in a more ecological and environmentally sound fashion, community development and city planning, working in schools... if you can dream of a project all you have to do is propose it and do it!

"Old-West" Home Front
Lisa working with boo
Terry, project funding and design

  I was able to stay for two weeks and in less time a group of four of us constructed a 5 metre x 6 metre home for Myrah and her beautiful 8 y/o daughter. The buildings vary from recycled pallets for pre-fabed panels, to bamboo, to brick and stone, to earthbag, to conventional... earthen construction isn't exactly available as the nearest clay deposits are more than 10hrs. drive away! A huge contrast to the Sacred Valley where everything is built from the earth! The home I worked on utilized bamboo for structural support (walls and roof), a cement pad for the floor, and dimensional lumber to frame an exterior facade on the dirt street-side, similar to any storefront in the wild, wild west!

 Myself and a friend, Brandon, had a hammer shootout in the streets complete with eerie whistling and bursts of dust, when a man across the road working at some sort of outdoor factory pulled a pistol from his belt and waved it in the air.... we immediately took cover behind our storefront and began hammer-shooting through the window and door... we all had a good laugh about this, Peruvians and gringos together. 
  Seeing as our space was living and breathing, each day there were tasks assigned to keep our "home" clean. I cooked dinner a few times, cue the music.... bom ba da dommmmmm... WELCOME TO THE GAETZ GOURMET! We hooked it up with a wicked taco feast, home-made tortillas and salsas and guac... scrum-didly-uptious!
On the weekends after noon on Saturday we were free to do as we pleased. Both weekends I went to Huacachina the sand dunes. My first weekend was spent in misery on the toilet, gripping my belly... poo poo pee pee butt! So I redeemed myself and rocked out the following weekend with a small group of friends. We rallied with a driver in our 9-seater dune buggy all over those sand mountains! It was like a never-ending roller-coaster ride for two hours! We had occasional breaks to shred the sicky gnar freshy pow pow - sand boarding! I whipped a backside 540 misty-flip... in reality it was more like I just went rippin' down the hills carvin' some pretty turns... it's the closest I'll get to the snow this year so I was happy to get a fix of some sort!
Reed mat

Myra and the Girls

Ride that pony!

First Earthbag building in Pisco!

1 comment:

  1. fezzo! amazing! i love the image of the peruvian swinging his pistol in the air.... i also love the "poo poo pee pee butt" reference, but of course sad to hear you were illin. xoxo- barbie