Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 12: (Thursday 23)

Yesterday instead of painting we hid in MK’s room and slept. It was fun, kinda like a sleepover.

But today we couldn’t escape it.

The morning started off bad. It’s been a tough week. When I say that I have to get out of here this weekend, I’m not exaggerating. It hasn’t rained during the day all week which means I’ve spend five hours every. single. morning. hunched over in the burning sun, dripping in sweat, swinging the same machete around in the same way. And it hurts all over.

But you know, that which does not kill you…

So today we started out doing the same thing. And then, miracle of miracles! Plans changed! Apparently the director has been teaching his kids to ride a motorcycle. They’re actually almost as numerous as cars here. It’s a practical thing… dirt bikes just work better on dirt roads.

I’ve become rather accustomed to shying away when he comes bounding up. He has an incredible store of energy and never seems to shut up. He’s rather like a born-again agriculturalist. As in he came to organic agriculture later in life and is so passionate that he believes he can convert EVERYONE! He tends to wear a digital watch and I tend to try to catch a glimpse of the time so as to time him. I’m sure he’s talked for more that 15 minutes straight at a time.

This morning was no different. Shoot, he’s on his way, look busy!

But turns out that all he wanted was to invite us to ride around on the motorcycle.

Oh heaven! Check!

It was every bit as magical as I dreamed it would be, flying around on that little dirt bike. It took me about five minutes to learn how to kick start it, put it in gear and to remember what it’s like controlling something with a manual engine. Then it was pure gravy. The bolder I got, the more amazing it was. I figured out how to put it into second and started to take the turns close and low. I’d make the big square of the soccer field a couple of times, zagging through the hillocks, pulling up and roaring past the goal posts. After just two turns of 5 minutes each it felt so natural, so comfortable that it wasn’t novel anymore.

I cheated on my truck.

We painted again today. We decided not to share less with the children this time, so it was less like finger-painting hour at the local kindergarten. Plus we were using rollers.

But even with that, we must have looked like the Keystone Cops or something. A veritable comedy of errors. Without the comedy part. There’s this lack of communication between the two of us, the director and the head of the development association. I still haven’t figured out if it’s because of a lack of Spanish proficiency, or a perceived lack of Spanish proficiency. I mean first it was the base color. We’d discussed it a couple of times and our plans clearly showed that we were going to use a yellow. There are no yellow buildings in the town so we thought it would round out all the blues and greens. Also it’s a color that doesn’t show dirt much. This was pointed out numerous times. But when the paint arrived there was about a quart of yellow instead of a gallon. When we finally get to talk to someone about we find that we’re supposed to try to use as much of the existing paint (light blue and dark blue) which was left over from two other buildings. Then it was the doors. When we painted on Tuesday, we did the doors and windows a light blue. Turns out we have to re-paint the doors black because they need an anti-corrosive paint. This wasn’t communicated at all after any of the three times that I said that we were going to paint the doors light blue.

So we started out frustrated. We tried to paint the bottom half blue and the top half with the quart of yellow we have, but argued about whether or not it was actually a good idea to use the yellow at all, seeing as there was no way it would go all way round. So we had two splotched of yellow painted and the whole thing taped out before we figured that it wasn’t going to work. At all.

So we’ll just paint the whole thing dark blue?

Turns out the dark blue is really more purply. Whatever. Don’t care now. Let’s just get a color down and deal with the thing later. So we start painting in crazy directions and at crazy intervals. Eventually a couple kids start helping and it’s more haphazard (though admittedly less messy). Finally this guy who’d been watching for a while (in a way less creepy way than the young guys usually watch), took the roller from MK and started to paint. Started to paint with perfect lines and an expert evenness and professional speed.

Who is this masked mystery man?!

Well, a professional painter for one… MK’s host mom’s cousin for another.

Lessee. If we started around 12:45, then he probably started helping us around 1:45 or 2. By that time we’d done about half of one wall.

By 4 we’d finished all four walls, detailing on the bottom and light blue detailing around the doors and on the windows.

Our savior even showed us how to clean off the oil-based paint that had splattered us with smurf freckles.

That’s about when the director showed up and informed us that the head of the development association actually had wanted us to use two different colors. Really? NFW! I had no idea!

But alls well that ends well. We sat ourselves up on a lonely wall with a cold Coke and an ice cream and watched the sun slip down towards the horizon, dreaming of coming weekend adventures.

1 comment:

Heidi Fuller said...

It must be harder to paint in Spanish. The bathroom you so meticulously painted for us is the work of a perfectionist, a stickler for clean lines, even tone, and pitch-perfect clean-up.
Your adventures, and ability to laugh at your stumble-bumbleness is keeping us nervously entertained. Miss you, love.