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May 11, 2011

Miniatures, little scenes, vignettes

“Hasta la proxima”

Two days ago Colin and I returned on the bus from Cholila to El Bolson, an hour and a half trip, via Transportes Esquel. Cholila is a tiny town with a new agro-technical secondary school which draws students from a large rural area (up to 300 kilometers/180 miles away). Natalie has been volunteering there: teaching English, helping with homework, and sometimes being housemom to  students boarding there. We joined her this weekend to see the school, play frisbee and make pancakes with the kids, relax and do some fishing.

Saturday we enjoyed a sunny hike to Mosquito Lake, just 30 minutes from town, and visited one of the teachers and her husband who are building their own house from local, natural materials. We liked their Russian stove, a massive masonry heater that is extremely efficient and gives off heat for nearly a day after being fired. It incorporates an oven, and they built it themselves!

Back to our bus driver, with whom we’d traveled in the summer on two trips to Los Alerces National Park. This time, after retrieving our bags from the compartments below the bus, he said goodbye this way, “Hasta la proxima!” I was surprised, because I thought I was one of the few people who used this expression. A close translation is, “Until next time.” It was also very friendly of him, but then he is one of our favorite bus drivers: not in a hurry, no scary curves or passing on the mountain roads.

Not three hours later, after Colin and I had unpacked, gone for a run together and showered (Colin rode our bike actually, keeps us even), we headed out for some ice cream and met a group of friends we know from church here who were walking home from a hike to the Cerro Amigo mirador (overlook) above town. After “saludos” all around (warm greetings and a kiss on the cheek) we talked as we walked together and then started the “despedidas” (good-byes) where we went separate ways. Daniel’s despedida was, “Hasta la proxima!” A first from him. Now I know there are three of us warmly wishing “Until next time!”


New Reading Room shade roof

In town, I’ve been helping with the new Sala de Lectura (Christian Science Reading Room). The local church members decided to move to a location with more foot traffic. That meant cleaning, painting, redoing a bathroom– and adding a “techo” (roof awning” over the sidewalk to shade the hot  west sun and keep folks dry in the wet winters. I took on staining the framework (last week) and will be painting the storefront this week.

Adobe brick and cane shade structure in progress

Out of town, at “La Granja Valle Pintado” (Painted Valley Farm) I’ve also been volunteering with more techos. Several structures were started but not completed this summer, so as winter approaches here in the southern hemisphere there is a push to get four roofs erected. After weeks of moving slowly, gathering materials and setting some final beams and rafters, it all came together. In one week we finished the roof for a garden shade structure and tool shed, and in one day we finished the roof on the lenera (firewood area). We also replaced three upper windows on the kitchen building. Much less drafty without holes! More pictures to come.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. laura johansson permalink
    May 11, 2011 2:53 am

    Great to hear the updates. Sounds like you are all keeping busy and getting involved in local activities. Very cool.
    Laura J.

  2. May 11, 2011 2:03 pm

    What an adventure! We just had one of our own…one month in England and Denmark….if you are interested, I can send a travelogue of our adventures….We send love!

    David and Diane

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