The days continue to go by faster and faster. I’m down to under 2 months left here in Tunal. I’ve started to become a bit sentimental, already sad to be leaving… even though it’s obviously still a little ways away… which has maybe been a good thing. I’ve really been trying to appreciate all of my friendships here, the food, music, the slow pace of life…even things that sounds kind of ridiculous like the dirt roads, isolations from the outside world and sometimes even being invited by the old, drunk, unbathed men to a swig of the local moonshine… sounds kind of ridiculous, I’m sure.
The women’s association continues to progress. They have complete their first series of shawls and ponchos and are focusing on product development, defining their designs as well as looking into more possible products. I took a number of their pieces home earlier this month to get the opinions of some women from the states. They seem to have received a good grade as well as an order of 10 ponchos. I am really glad to see that the women are becoming more independent, taking on more responsibilities and initiative. They have recently begun the lengthy process of becoming a legal entity, something that will open up a lot of business opportunities.
The boys are still working daily, now baking around 10 cakes a week. I’ve been working lately to teach them the importance of marketing as well as bookkeeping. They recently purchased t-shirts that they now wear whenever they are working and have also started to advertise via the community loudspeaker. They are also managing their money by themselves using excel. Their latest novelty is funnel cakes. Once a week, in the evening, they carry all of their cooking gear to a central locale and make and sell funnel cakes. It appears to be a hit as everyone seems to be asking for them! They’ve each earned their S./50 needed to buy their MP3 player so they are patiently waiting for them to arrive in the mail as I didn’t have time to buy them when I was in the states.
My trip home was extremely short, but well worth it as I not only was able to attend my buddy Tim’s wedding, but was also able to see the majority of my friends and family. I also met my one month only niece, Lily who is absolutely adorable! I was in the states for all of 74 hours of which I think I spent about 5 non-sleeping hours at home. Traveling was took about twice as long, especially state-ward. I took a bus from Piura to Lima which normally takes 14 hours (it’s a very comfortable bus, though, so it sounds worse than it really is!) but at 1:30am it stopped and the driver turned it off. I looked out the window to see dozens of other buses also stopped. Turns out that there was a blockade put on by people from a certain region who were upset at the allocation of funds by a mining company. This basically meant that all ground transport to the north of the country was cut off… if you can believe it, there is only one road that connects the country from north to south… I waited there from for just over 12 hours until finally the blockaders got tired and gave up. I missed a dentist appointment scheduled for that day, but fortunately did not miss my flight.
After 3 weeks of being on the disabled list, I’ve returned to the marathon training. Unfortunately I’m very far behind schedule. I was supposed to run 20 miles a couple weeks ago, however the farthest I’ve run is 13-14 miles. I’ve kicked it into overdrive lately, however and have been doing some serious training on the hilly dirt roads here. My goal is really just to finish the race(although my pride will be hurt if I have to walk!), so I’m hoping that my last ditch effort will be good enough with only a week and a half left until the big day.