Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day Seven: Marlina’s Birthday!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 

It rained all night, which – though inconvenient for a nighttime restroom run – produces a very soothing, sleep-inducing, dream-inspiring calm throughout the hammock hut.  Rain doesn’t stop our powerful snorers from practicing their skills, but it serves as a form of white noise that helps to balance out the overall sound climate.  The morning was still damp but not exactly rainy, so we followed our plan to work earlier in an attempt to beat the midday sun.  The downside of the new rain was that thousands of termites emerged from wherever they hide out and swarmed us all morning long.  It drove us nuts but didn’t thwart our productivity. 

Jesse and Callan left on the speedboat this morning to meet with our doctor friend, Elizabeth, in the city.  We miss having them around but we are glad to know that we will be able to rest easy once they return.  (Special note: we already heard from Jesse that Elizabeth thinks Callan is fine.  They didn’t get the tests yet because of delays with our SMC mandatory travel insurance.  Grr.) 

We followed our basic plan from yesterday afternoon as we moved sand all morning.  We used the steeper access point this time, as we did during yesterday’s second shift, because we think that even though the lifts are harder, the overall time is enough shorter to make it worth it.  So we got a two-pronged system going where the sand would come to the top of the hill in either buckets or bags and we would direct it either to the oxcart or the three wheelbarrows.  That way we had no downtime whatsoever (unless we called a full water break) and we moved massive amounts of sand pretty quickly. 

We stopped for lunch and purposely took a long break that included a short sesta for quite a few of us.  Getting good rest in the middle of the day actually makes you kind of woozy when you awake, which is not a terrible feeling.  We came out of our deep naps ready to hit a whole new job: replacing a repaired fish cage in the fish farm at the other end of the community. 

The cage (called a “tank net” or “net tank” or something like that in direct translation) was in the side yard of one of the community leaders, who happens to be Vincente, the lead at the garden/nursery, whom we know already.  Apparently the cage had been there for awhile, as the brush around it had grown up enough to make it necessary to use a machete to move the cage.  It took most of us on all sides of the cage to lift it from where it was and guide it through the newly-cut opening to the waiting oxcart in the street.

And it took us all again to guide the cart and its contents down the path to the waterfront.  This cage is specifically for baby fish, so they place it in a stiller, calmer spot than the cages for the mature fish.  Once we get its floats and anchor attached, it will hold as many as 1000 fish even though it is only two meters square. 

On our way there, we gained new appreciation for the concept of the wheel.  That is, when trying to move a large object with only manual labor, a little two-wheeled cart ends up making an enormous amount of difference.  We had to go uphill and downhill with the cage and we laughed thinking what a mess things would be without that oxcart.  Speaking of going downhill, there was a steep slope of deep sand right at the place where the cage needed to enter the water.  And whether it was our plan or not, that cart went right down that slope and into the water with the cage.  That “decision” had its consequences, as the cart sunk in a bit deeply and, of course, the cage was holding it there.  Even once we freed it, getting it up that slope with the deep sand was quite a challenge, as the slightest hesitation was going to send it flying down the hill again.  Of course, we managed.   

From there, we got out a small rowboat to see the other fish cages but when more than two people got in it, it sunk.  (The water was shallow, so this result was not a particularly dire one.)  So, most of our guys started sinking the boat over and over just for fun.  We can’t explain. 

We noticed that a storm was brewing on the horizon so we hurried home to avoid walking in the heaviest part of the rain.  We beat it just by a few minutes.  We took shelter in the pousada and watched the rain pour down.  Whoever needed to do laundry bemoaned the fact that it is going to be a LONG time before it dries.  The folks from last year’s trip can attest that multiple rainy days can very much complicate laundry plans . . .

For Marlina’s birthday we had a special dessert that seemed like some kind of homemade natural Snickers in a bowl.  We had all signed a big poster wishing her happy birthday and we gave her a lovely gift of souvenir wooden spoons wood-burned with messages from the Amazon.  We sang and laughed and ate candy we had brought from home. 

We get to keep the celebration going because tomorrow is Stephen’s birthday!  We hope Callan and Jesse make it back for the celebration.  We are starting a new project tomorrow, so we will let you know more about it then.

 Julia and Suze killing Coop and Steve in Dominos during our sesta.

Joelo posing on the beach before the storm hits

 Annie, Claudia, Phil and Leah having a rain forest shower.

 Carlos enjoying the rain after a long day of work.

 Aldaír and Tonico taking a quick break from chopping down trees with a machete.

Jules, Robert, and Reginalva taking a quick break from shoveling sand all morning. 

Calm before the storm

Trek back from the fish farm

Successfully restoring the boat after sinking it

 Shawny and Reginalva discussing the afternoon’s work plans

Cooling off after a long day of work

A hard day’s work. We have been gathering sand for the last to days, that will lay the foundation for Anã’s new dormitorio that will house additional visitors.

Walking along the beach with some children from Anã in attempt to get to the Oca before the storm arrives. 

Suze and Evinaldo playing by the river in the area where the fish cages are located. 

1 comment:

  1. Happy to hear that Callan is fine and doing well! Finally, rain coming your way. Birthday greetings and wishes to Marlina and Stephen! Isn't it so special to celebrate it in the Amazons? What a wonderful experience! I know this is Stephen's 2nd time around--have a great one!. Thanks for the update and videos. Cheerio!