Unfortunately now the roof is on I’ve no reason to go home as soon as it starts raining so I’m up to working the full 8 hours a day. As a result I got to spend 8 long hours breaking up a large tiled concrete area. After just 10 minutes of lumps of tile hitting me in the cheek and forehead I cycled (on a bone-rattling homemade bike) down to the local hardware shop and bought a pair of huge yellow safety goggles. They should stop me going blind again, and have the pleasant side effect of making even the wettest day look strangely sunny.
The whole day was relentless as nobody came to visit in all the rain. In the past few days I’ve got to meet quite a few of the neighbours around the construction site, as most of them also had their houses built by the same voluntary organisation. One little boy occasionally brings me water straight out the fridge, which is much appreciated and makes a change from the muddy hose pipe. Another old man turns up with a large crate of lychees and the local cas fruit, a bitter apple about the size of a kiwi and with the texture of an avocado.
Whilst the previous day the rain had formed a moat around the house, by now the majority of the waters had receded and we proceeded to put in the plumbing which only took a couple of hours, and made a start on concreting the floors. Being the lackey I got to mix up 11 batches of concrete, each consisting of 3 wheelbarrows of fine gravel, 3 barrows of larger rocks and a 50kg bag of concrete which needed lugging round from the neighbours front garden. This covered roughly half the house so I guess I get to do the same again tomorrow.
That evening a fresh batch of volunteers turned up in San Ramón. All five of the construction types have been put on a new site on the other side of town, and the organisation offered to move me over there but after a couple of weeks I’m keen to see my house through to the end. Also, being the only English speaker in the valley is helping my Spanish daily. I’ve now got to the point where I can understand the variety of accents on the building site and can start having more detailed conversations. The funniest one today revolved around what sort of meats we eat in England. I went through the standard list until I got to duck and they all recoiled in horror. How could anyone eat a disgusting duck? They then went on to explain how an iguana is nice this time of year.
Mixed more concrete. All day. Yay…
Apparently brushes haven’t arrived in San Ramón so I spent the afternoon sweeping the concrete floor with a trowel, whilst being stared at by a fat kid. This after a morning in which I mostly moved mud uphill in the rain and got chased by a huge black and yellow spider.
All of the new volunteers arrived at the bar with severe sunburn. Ha!