Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today, I got to play in the mud.  I’ll come back to that.

This is a few of Santa Cruz la Laguna, from the roof of the school.

In the morning, I went up to the CEPAC school to work with the solar team.  First, we check out the progress that the team had made in the afternoon.  Then we split into many small teams.  A few people cutting parts, some working on wiring, etc.  I went with MJ, Tim and Gayle to measure the voltage on the solar panels.  One is on the roof, and the other three were still in the basement.   The UM students went to the classroom to inventory parts for the class that is going to be taught.  I ended up floating between groups to take photos. 

In a couple of weeks, Carlos and Jose Ordonez will be teaching a class in solar technology here.  John brought the materials for the class.  The UM students inventoried the kits, then took the solar panels outside to measure the voltage on them.    Many children stopped to see what we were doing, and a few helped out.

In late morning, MJ and I left to San Marcos to join the project there.   We arrived in time for lunch at Suzi’s.  Then came the mud.  The project there is to build a few walls at a bilingual preschool, using bajareque.   Bamboo is tied horizontally with maguey.  The maguey is a local plant that is torn into strips and tied together to make a kind of rope.   Rocks are inserted between the bamboo, and then mud is used to fill in the cracks.

The mud is made by pouring water and dirt into a small (dirt enclosed) area, then stomping on it – a human cement mixer.

Rocks are broken into flat pieces.

Bamboo strips are tied together, and the rocks are inserted between them.  The rocks are wetted down so that mud will adhere.

To apply the mud, it’s thrown at the wall.  Later, plaster/cement will be put over the top of the wall.

John says this picture of my feet will go on the wall of his office, but I think he'll find more interesting photos from me.

Charlie is teaching us bajareque.  His blog is here:

CEPAC is sponsored by Amigos De Santa Cruz.  Their website is and they also have a facebook page under the same name.  (Pat was uploading a few of my photos there today.)

Our docks were full when we came back from San Marco, so we got off at this dock instead.

After dinner, we had a project meeting with everyone, then Tim borrowed the local guitar and serenaded us.
He sang Up On The Roof, by Carole King (made popular by the Drifters).  It seemed fitting since we've spent so much time there.  Tomorrow, he may sing more.   It's been awhile since I played my guitar - maybe I'll pick it up and see if I remember how.  :)

Tomorrow, Michael, Craig, Andrew and I are joining 2 locals to go to a remote school that doesn’t yet have electricity.  This is a scouting trip to determine needs for a future possible ATC project.  We’ll leave at 11:15, take a boat to a small private dock, then go on a thirty minute strenuous hike to get to this school.  The ‘town’ has a few hundred people and is fairly isolated.  When we finish, we’ll go directly to San Marcos to continue playing in the mud.  

Tomorrow is also the most complicated day – everyone in the group will end up working in two different sites.  Besides our main two projects and my morning trip, another group is going to a different remote school, also on a scouting trip for a heating project.  Doug, Kat and Tess are leaving on a side trip to Tikal.  Most of us will end up in San Marcos;  the solar project is nearly complete – they completed our improvised frames and installed the panels on the roof today, so only electrical work remains.  The bajareque is furthest behind, but we’ll make up time tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment