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Library Clean Up—Biblioteca de la Limpieza

Posted by on February 24, 2012

A community comes together for the library project

On Sunday, February 12, 2012 Ashli jumped out of bed with joy and excitement at 5:00 am to start her journey from Cusco to Q’enqo. She grabbed her supplies which were plaster, one broom, protective masks, sandpaper and more. We bet you’re wondering why she did this! Today was an amazing day for Ashli, Mosqoy and the people from Q’enqo…they were thrilled because today they were cleaning up the room to soon become the library.

It was too expensive for everyone to travel in a vehicle so the people with heavy supplies took one taxi and everybody else hiked for four hours carrying the light supplies. They walked on the rusty red dirt roads. Before they got to Q’enqo they saw a big, beautiful lake containing trout. This lake is the only place for water in the Q’enqo area.

Along the road to Q'enqo

When they finally finished the journey to the magnificent village of Q’enqo, the Principal of the Q’enqo school met them and they made a plan for the clean up of the library. When Ashli and her crew went into the building they saw so much dust and garbage because the building had been used for storage. The first action they had to do to clean up the library was to drag a whole heap of garbage out of the ragged building. After they struggled to slug the garbage out of the building they made a huge bonfire to burn the paper garbage. The plastic garbage had to be carried back to the city of Cusco because burning plastic pollutes the air.

Burning the paper garbage

The next move was to take the sandpaper and start smoothing out the marked and uneven walls of the library. They had to use tons of elbow grease! They needed to put on masks to protect their lungs from the dust. It was very, very noisy when all of the workers were sanding. It sounded like fingernails on a chalk board and their skin crawled from the noise!

Many hands sanding make light(er) work

When they were done sanding they moved on to cleaning the floor and ceilings. First to clean the ceiling they used water from the lake. There are not any pipes for running water so they had to hike to the lake with buckets. When they returned with the water they had to pass it over the wall and then they could use it for cleaning and making plaster for the walls. The floor was very dirty, it looked like it had exploded with dirt. There was only one broom to sweep the huge, putrid floor because brooms are too unaffordable. The ladies figured out they could cut plants and use them as brooms. They said it worked as well as the regular broom. They invented the “Plant Broom”, the “Ploom”!

Being resourceful and inventive

While they were working they put on beautiful Peruvian music to entertain themselves. Even though the work was hard, they were happy.

The joy of making a difference

At lunch time some of the lovely mothers in Q’enqo cooked a lunch for the all the people who were working hard. They ate rice, pasta and potatoes. This was a very special lunch because rice and pasta are very rarely purchased. For these families food is the one way to say thank you to the cleaners for making the library look brilliant.

A meal prepared with love and gratitude

As the change makers were working, kids from the school watched. Ashli told us with extreme excitement that the children were looking into the windows because they were going to be the ones using the library very soon! We guess they were overflowing and thrilled with excitement!

Eager to see the progress

The room is now ready for construction on February 25 and 26—this weekend! They are going to paint the outside of the building dark and light blue, and on the inside they are using light purple paint. We agree with Geneva that their choice of colours is heartwarming and hopeful.

Hiking back to Cusco after a long day's work. Carrying out the plastic waste for disposal. Notice the one broom!

We feel many emotions about the library being near completion. We feel:

  • Very joyful (Thalia)
  • Very proud (Mya)
  • Enthusiastic (Elijah)
  • Courageous (Sophie H.)
  • Awesome (Jun)
  • Overflowing with pride (Martin)
  • Excited (Jesse)
  • Like we made a difference (Zack)
  • Amazed (Damian)
  • Our hearts are full (Zahra)
  • Magical (Tormod)
  • Overflowing with happiness (Larissa)
  • Over the moon (Max)

Transporting water for the clean up

Applying plaster to repair the walls of the library

We are wondering:

  • Have you ever helped build or clean something for someone else? How did it make you feel?
  • Have you ever helped someone across the globe?
  • Have you ever helped someone else and then more people joined you to help?

5 Responses to Library Clean Up—Biblioteca de la Limpieza

  1. Wm Chamberlain

    I find it difficult to understand walking 4 hours one way to volunteer a day’s worth of hard work, especially knowing the long walk back lies ahead. Each post I read here amazes me. Thank you for sharing another great post describing the journey of the new library.

    Mr. C

  2. Diego

    That is nice of you to do that.

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Diego. Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog. We are enjoying our work for the people in Q’enqo. Have a library filled with books is important. 🙂

  3. Patrick

    Good luck with building the library .

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Patrick. Thank you for wishing us luck! Keep checking back – we skyped with Geneva, who is in Peru, again today! 🙂

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