This is about my dear friend Grace, a boomer, a girl from a farm in rural Ontario and someone who truly cares about people, animals and the preservation of the environment.
Grace is an example of a woman with the courage to just get out there and live in support of her beliefs. she spends her time between her home outside of Toronto and a farm in a remote area of Ecuador. In Ecuador, one of her initiatives is helping communities to help themselves. This is a story of one such project.
Here is a new entry from Grace's diary.
The Minga ( A community work initiative - Like a Barn Raising Event )
" The men started arriving about 7:45am, they were greeted with a huge plate
of rice and beans, and a coffee.
The tools were scarce, a couple of hammers and a few pry bars. There
were no hard hats or safety shoes, I was so afraid someone would step on a
nail wearing their rubber boots, but that didn’t happen.
I thought the house was made of blocks and then plastered, but it was made of mud and
bamboo with posts in the corners. We started to leave the corner posts
thinking we could just have a covered area with a new roof, but some of
the posts were rotten at the bottom so it all came down. First the roof
was removed, it was covered with clay tiles, and they were lined up in
front of the house and later covered with a tarp.
The mud walls were spread around and would eventually be pounded down to
earth again after a few rains. I was surprised how strong the walls were
and the bamboo in them was as good as the day it had been built about 40
years ago. The roof rafters were very bad as were the beams around the
top of the walls.
At 10 oclock it was break time, the kids, Jahir and Carolina, had
gathered lemons and Myra and I made gallons of lemonade. I was surprised
to see each man drink at least 4 glasses. It was a warm day but not
sunny, they all wore long sleeves for working which made it even hotter.
At lunch time, there was a feast. There was a huge bowl of soup that was
more like a stew with chicken, yuka, lots of veggies and spices served
with buns. Then an overflowing plate of beans, rice, pork and salad,
served with more lemonade. There was beer to split (large one) between 8
men when they were finished with a promise of more when the job was done.
They only stopped for about 20 minutes. Fabian sent Jahir to the store
to buy A CIGARETTE, which about 5 men shared. Another break about 2
for more lemonade and then about 3pm the beer came out for the last hour
of work. They sat around talking until 4 and then were fed the remaining
soup, rice and beans. I thanked everyone and they left for home, I
Myra, Jahir, Carolina, Alice and I walked over the bridge to Narcissa’s
house, where she had borrowed the big soup pot. I was surprised to see
everyone there playing volleyball in the back yard. Volley as they call
it, is played with 3 men on a team. I have seen the ball go back and
forth 40 times before going out of bounds or being missed.
It was a great day.
I stopped to check on my horse in the pasture on the way home,
he had been gelded the day before, but all was good. The mist and rain
rolled in and we were wet by the time we reach home. "
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