Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016
Before we left to go back into Bahia this morning, we spent some time brainstorming about how we could help the long term housing need in Bahia. There is a cyclical problem here. People are poor and they build shelters out of materials and use methods that are subject to disastrous results in an earthquake. This region has earthquakes. It seems to happen about every 20 years. Once the houses tumble down they are rebuilt the same way as before.
Don shared a vision of helping the local citizens build homes out of lumber and bamboo in a way that they won’t come down in a quake. They can be built quickly and easily. This is a working idea that we are moving forward with, looking for and talking with the right people to help us coordinate.
We went back into Bahia and I took some pics of buildings I saw.
We are in Bahia now to retrieve items we could use to help us all function better at the farm.This included moving a refrigerator down three flights of stairs. Also included twin bed mattresses to sleep on. Between everyone in our group, there are 3 or 4 condos we had access to for supplies. We are lucky.
We were able to retrieve all the five gallon water bottles, and propane cooking tanks from our units. We have mattresses and bedding.
We also had vehicles which were essential in not only moving our things out but transporting food and other supplies to people in town. We spent most of our day loading up trucks and trailers moving what we could out of our buildings. It was hard work.
Today we were able to get to the mall and get on wifi, connecting with our friends and the world. The mall is on the edge of town and it has electricity. Since the quake I have not read a newspage on the web or seen a broadcast on TV. Focusing on what is needed now and what is needed next has been my world for the last few days.
The mall brought in a large satellite dish after the quake and powered the internet free for anyone who could get there. There are also electrical outlets in the food court where many multi outlet extension cords are plugged into the twin plugs on the pillars, allowing several people at a time to charge their phones, notebooks, and laptops. This has been a huge benefit for so many people here in town.
Heidi, Easton, and I went into the grocery store to buy some supplies for all of us at the farm. The grocery store is open and there is plenty of food on the shelves. Even a large section of water remains stocked in its aisles.
There is such a dichotomy occurring. There are people sleeping in the streets, and who are without food and water. Everything they owned has been destroyed or buried in the rubble of what was their home. And in here, it looks like nothing has happened. No quake, no destruction, no deaths. Business as usual. It is hard for me to get my head around this.
Before we came to the mall, the three of us went to Fikas to see Linsley. It was closed. We have found out that Linsley is leaving Bahia. Across the street a large back hoe is tearing down a building, and a truck is carrying away the snapped timbers and broken chunks of concrete which were once a house. Bahia is changing right before my eyes.
In the evening at the farm I spent some time with Walter who does not speak English. I muddle through using my small Spanish vocabulary, and in the end he and I are able to talk about his family and my family, and we get to know each other better. It is actually very cool learning to communicate in a new language and making new friends.
Before we all bed down on the porch for the night, I ran down the concrete stairs in the back of the farmhouse to grab some clothes I had drying on a clothes line. At the last concrete stair, sitting in the 90 degree angle of formed concrete making a step is a tarantula. It was larger than the ones I have seen in the States and it wasn’t as furry.
I asked Walter about it when I came back to the porch, and through some words I recognized and hand gestures I understood, I learned that the bite of this tarantula would cause extreme pain and rotting of your flesh. Hopefully there are enough steps between it and me, sleeping on the farm porch, that we won’t bother one another tonight.