Hola! That’s Spanish for HELLO! That’s ONE of the words we know in Spanish, although we sure don’t know very MANY! We are learning, though!
On February 28, 2012, the Grade Three Bloggers got to Skype to Peru and speak with Geneva, from Mosqoy, again! During this call we heard about purple paint, a q’ente, a calf, potato soup, a bunch of volunteers, and an alpaca. You might be deliberating with yourself and asking, “What do these all mean?” On the weekend of February 25 and 26 Geneva and a bunch of terrific volunteers worked together to finish the construction on the library before the Grand Opening!
6 AM on Saturday they all went to the bus station and ate a delicious breakfast … quinoa and apple sauce! After breakfast, they took the bus to the base of Q’enqo. From there, they were faced with another three and a half hour hike up the mountain to get to the small weaving village. When Geneva and her work crew arrived, they could already see people from the community mixing paint! Today was the day they were cleaning up, sanding for the SECOND time … and painting for the FIRST! They would also be fixing the floorboards and putting all the new windows in.
The community decided to paint the ceiling of the library a beautiful dove gray, because they thought it would work well to cover the plaster and some of the rough spots that they couldn’t get out. Even though this was a great cover colour, they STILL had to paint the ceiling three or four times! Phew! That’s a LOT of work to do … especially after a three hour hike UPHILL … they must have been POOPED!
They weren’t tall enough to reach the ceiling, and their brush handles were TOO short. So, Jose Luis and the other painters invented a new handle made out of long tree BRANCHES and tied the paint roller to the end. It made painting the ceiling easier … but it was STILL a lot of hard work! We call their invention a “Broller”, a branch roller or a “Pranch”, a paintbrush on a tree branch! It reminds us of the plant brooms they use (we call them “plooms”).
Purple was painted on the inside walls of the library. The walls became colourful and vibrant. The community chose purple because they felt both boys and girls would like the colour. They felt it would make the library a warm and inviting place to learn. As people worked, the children peeked into the windows. They were curious about what all the adults were doing, and really amazed when they saw the beautiful colours! The outside of the library also looked as GOOD as NEW once it was painted a brilliant ocean blue on the bottom, and delightful periwinkle purple on TOP!
The library doors were painted stunning aqua blue. This blue was chosen because most of the doors on buildings in Q’enqo are blue. The purple and blue are a magnificent combination!
After all this hard work it was time to stop for lunch! For lunch they had delicious potato soup and bread made by the sweet, kind moms who were so grateful for the volunteers’ amazing work. Some of us think we’d really like to TRY some of this scrumptious soup … we wonder if they serve Peruvian Potato Soup in CALGARY? Even though they were working so hard the volunteers had wide smiles on their faces during lunch. This big meal gave them tons of energy to keep going with all their jobs.
There was so much work that needed to be done the volunteers stayed overnight at one of the houses in Q’enqo. This was great news because it would have been a LONG hike back home in the DARK! It was VERY cold sleeping in the house, because there is no heating and Q’enqo is in the MOUNTAINS! Their hosts filled them full of warm tea to help them stay warm. For dinner, they were given a bowl of pureed beans mixed with water and sugar. During dinner, a calf approached the house, poked his nose in through the DOOR and asked to be invited in for DINNER!!! He trotted right inside! There wasn’t enough to go around, but the calf stayed around to keep an eye on things!
What a surprise the volunteers had when they arrived back at the library the very next morning, only to discover that the community members had started WITHOUT them! Wow! They were KEEN! They REALLY want this LIBRARY! There were women, dressed in their traditional Peruvian clothing, using PLOOMS again … to brush off the dust and dirt that had gathered during the work the previous day!
While the men from the community were using the chainsaw to cut wood to replace the missing floorboards, a huge HAIL storm rolled in … and that was the END of the electricity for a while. Thank GOODNESS there was an old-school saw kicking around!
Something special happened during the construction that was a surprise for everyone. A Mosqoy student who is an artist decided to paint a colourful Q’ente on the outside wall of the library. It stood out nicely on the purple wall. Q’ente means hummingbird in Quechua, the official language spoken in Q’enqo. The artist chose to paint a beautiful summer grass-green hummingbird because hummingbirds migrate between Vancouver and Peru. It shows the special relationships between Canada and Peru in this library project! The hummingbird also represents joy and happiness. We think the mural looks stunning!
If you are wondering about the alpaca we mentioned at the beginning…there was a baby, chocolate brown alpaca that followed Geneva on the hike back to Cusco. He was so furry, cuddly, adorable and cute.
We are impressed with all of the volunteers’ hard work. It took them over 13 hours and 2 days! They worked so hard on our behalf to make the library beautiful! We want to say to them:
- Thank you for all of your hard work!
- We think you are courageous!
- We feel like crying because the library looks so amazing!
- We are proud of your extreme work!
- We think you are great because you helped us build a library!
- We feel your work is brilliant!
- You are change makers!
- Your wonderful work will make the children so happy!
Geneva told us some really, really GOOD news … all the building supplies they needed to fix the library in Q’enqo came under BUDGET. That means they had some money left OVER after purchasing all the tools, paint, shelves, tables and chairs! Geneva took that left over money to a market in Cusco and bought a bunch of second-hand books for the LIBRARY! Brand new books cost a LOT of money … forty new books cost about $600.00 … so … it’s great that she could find some second-hand books in MAGNIFICENT shape! Some of the books Geneva bought were dictionaries, a book about the human body, atlases, and fairy tales. They all sound great to us!
It makes us feel SO proud to see the library is almost ready! Soon children will be able to open the pages of books in the library for the VERY first time!
Adios! (Now, THAT’S Spanish for “goodbye”!) Keep checking back … we will be writing all about the Library’s GRAND Opening very soon!
Until then, we wonder:
- What you think about the work that the Q’enqo volunteers did?
- Do you have any OTHER questions about the final library clean-up? We would love to answer them!
- Have YOU ever made something to help you out when you didn’t have the right tool for the job? Like the “plooms” and the paintbrushes on tree branches … “Pranches”.