We arrive late in the day to find Jenny and Werner waiting to guide us in on a 2-hour trek to the village, Quebrada Honde. Finally arrive after nightfall to meet the group, all very happy to see us and concerned as they were expecting us 6 hours earlier.
Emily and I are taken up further into the hills to the familywe will stay the night with. No electricity when we arrive, pitch black and a group of people welcoming but pretty silent and no English. Walk to the longdrop at night, we are surprised and blocked by a cow parking itself in the middle of the path.
Our beds are simple wooden structures, surrounded by a makeshift tarp for privacy; too dark and too late to put up mosquito nets – we decide to risk it in favour of collapsing after a long day into bed. It rains throughout the night leaking onto our beds, we wake up damp (a common theme throughout the trip) but rested.
Changing thoughts on Raleigh projects, I had previously ranked the education /building projects (schools and community centres) as the most important, followed by water, bio-gas and environmental projects (turtles, trail building etc). Seeing the work being done and and the excitement of the people anticipating water to their homes, the water project now tops my list as the most worthwhile. The water projects are very simple, but labour intensive.
The team dig narrow ditches across long stretches of hillside about a foot deep, lay slim rubber pipes leading to a cement constructed water container, which is typically fed by a spring. Shorter ditches off the main pipe lead into each house. Water pressure is maintained by height of the tank on the hillside. You soon realise the change this will bring after you have to carry a plastic water container up from the river.
Whilst Kat and co disappear off to take photo’s and get updates on the work, I stay behind with Paula, one of the women looking forward to the water pipe. Her kitchen is very simple, mud floor, wooden plank walls and a clay oven with open fire underneath. She teaches me to make tortilla’s ( not very successfully) and feeds me a salty cheese they make from cows milk.