3.A Laborer in Peru

Nov. 18 
Greetings again from Cusco.

Now that I am finally well into the service aspect of my adventure, I thought I'd share a little of that part of the story. So here are a few images relating to being a working stiff in Peru.  As you can see, the building is pretty big. Though the family lives in an adobe building behind this structure, obviously Francisco can think ambitiously. The shell is a combination of poured concrete and concrete or clay-tile blocks. One section is roughly complete, with windows, doors and electricity. I get to camp in one of the rooms. It's basic but okay, probably generous by local standards. The new section, without windows, is the one
we're working on. Current project is covering the rough-poured floors with, first, a 2-inch layer of leveled and smoothed concrete, and then with a thin, very smooth, dyed final coat.  Here are before and after views. The process is very labor-intensive. All the moving and


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mixing are done by hand. I get the job of carrying the sand and gravel up the stairs in a 5-gal bucket.  It's pretty heavy, and working at 11,000 feet I find that I tire pretty quickly. The other two guys, local workers, are impressive.
The lead man, whom we call "Maestro", seems to be quite blissful about what he does. He truly delights in each step of the process, and especially in each completion. The work is done with an excitement and joy that I'd think more likely found in a dance troupe, on a good day. I've learned something intangible from these two guys.
      When the truck has delivered its load, I face this sort of pile. In addition to the 5-gallon bucket, I have a shovel. When the bucket is full I tip it away from me, get one hand under the near side and the other grasping the rim, and then with a swing-lift motion, throw it onto my shoulder. And start upstairs. Those stairs ae steep. We're at 12,000 feet.  I keep thinking how this is preparing me for my next back-packing trip. And also how my last such trip did not prepare me for this!

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No work on Sundays, and I'm looking forward to a trip to Salkantay, considered one of the 12 sacred mountains.

More soon,
Jeffrey


Next page:  4. Initiations at Salkantay