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May 1st 2014
Published: May 1st 2014
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My last two days at El Establo. We went to help a neighbour clean his road way. This means that we walk up hill slashing all the wild growth on the road side a meter deep with our machetes. I was in heaven, much easier than chopping through thick trees. In the afternoon we learned about mapping archaeology sites. At supper, Americo and Isa made it clear that I shouldn't leave, just bring Jacob here, but the Amazon is calling. A new volunteer just came from there and has the most incredible pictures. The next step promises to be incredible as well.

We had to wake early (4:30 am), because on my last day the plan was by chance to go to a completely different ruin. We drove up to the high pass and then unloaded out of two cars with oranges, bananas and fluoride. We had an hour walk down steep paths to get to the ruins, which we were going to map, but realized that they are too extensive and we couldn't spend that much time there. We did stop and have breakfast with a herd of cows sitting in the patio of the Inca ruins. We were up at close to 4000 metres altitude. After chasing the cows off our bananas and taking photos for the autocad mapping system, we headed off further down into the valley where we would find the school. In the middle of nowhere, up in the high valley of these mountains there is one of the best schools we've seen so far, incredible. We brought them the fruit and once snack was done, we gave them toothbrushes and fluoride. They were the sweetest group of kids we saw and many dressed in colourful ponchos and hats that we hadn't seen anywhere else. Then it was time to climb out of the valley, back to the road that would take us home. The climb was a steep switch backing trail that had been overhauled in the last year so was in good condition. I am no longer afraid of the tour 5 day hike at the end of our stay. I could have gone at twice the pace and my heart only pounded when I overtook others. Yipee. But what really got me was the incredible beauty of these high passes. Up till now we had been at about 2500 metres, which I thought was high enough. Now we were above clouds and seeing unmelted snow on jagged peaks. I complained that it was difficult to leave, if they kept throwing even more incredible and beautiful scenes at me. We reached the road and only had one car to return in, so we stuffed 9 people in the car. I was curled up in the middle on my side and slept with my head on the next person's shoulder, it was surprisingly comfortable. After a wonderful lunch, I think Isa is trying to make my favourites, we had the afternoon free. The climb was enough work. I packed, read and wrote. We went into town for a last beer and ended up playing volley ball. Isa and America bring a net to a field in town almost everyday and people just gather. This week, the police have been coming out to El Establo to play soccer so America is not playing in town. When we walked by the court to walk home, we were called in to fill out the teams. Here, everyone between 18 and 45 seem to want to end the day with sports. its yet another fascinating thing about Peru. I am finding this ending one of the most difficult, people, place, work all call to me. There could not be a better end trip to this year.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams

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1st May 2014

Goodbye to the mountains
Hello my dear, You have truly fallen in love with this place. You take such joy in all parts--people, scenery food, work. You have always been very fit, but I get the idea that you now have new sinewy muscles and impressive insurance. What a gift of hard work will give. Glad a new volunteer came from the Amazon to tempt you away. Hopefully it helped moving on just a tiny bit easier. Can't wait to hear the next installment. With all my love and hugs to you and Jake J xoxo

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