Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A team of enthusiasts

My first day so far has been great, despite a night full of full of dying roosters, being strangled noisly by their own exasperation. Far from a bucollic wake-up call, they sound emit is more like a hoarse scream, and at all hours of the night. I´m not a fan.

Gallos aside, the atmosphere here is terrific, my co-volunteers, mostly from the states and canada, are awesome and super-friendly. We make all of our meals together and swap duties as far as purchasing, cooking and cleaning. Everyon has fascinating stories and great projects that they have been or are involved with elsewhere.

I´m somewhat at a loss as far as bike mantainence goes, but it doesn´t seem to matter as i´m surrounded by intensely knowledgable bicycle enthusiasts. So far today i teamed up with Nina on an inner tube patch, which gave us some trouble but we (really she) got it figured out on the second try. I also started grinding down a bike part (i´ll have terms soon) to become part of a grain mill. This is really where my heart is, the bicimaquinas. I´ll love to learn how to take apart, fix and tinker with bikes, but making bicimaquinas is why i´m here. Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz so i dont have much by way of photos today. (P.S. if you can spare some positive vibes for my camera i would owe you a big hug and a high five, we could even hug while high fiving)

Carlos and Johanna, who run the shop, are the nicest people ever, seriously rivalling my driver Jose Luis. Maybe they could have a nice-off. This afternoon Johanna and Carlos sat us down, gave us cake and welcomed us as part of their family. Carlos is a real jokester, today he called me a kitchen dog, which probablly has some cultural context im totally missing- he thought it was hilarious. Carlos is the head technician and the genius behind the designs, Johanna is the business person and takes care of the logistics. Though i get the sense that distinctions like this aren´t as cut and dry as in the US- everyone does a little bit of everything and helps out with anything when needed. I really like both of them a lot, they´re fantastic.

It sounds like this weekend there is going to be some kind of crazy festival, for which we are to build a giant flower structure that holds several people. Furthermore, it needs to "bloom" these people up out of a tube and then be strong enough for them to dance on. For Hours. Pretty ambitious considering that we haven´t started on it and there doesn´t seem to be any rush to. *For those who´ve not travelled in Latin America, its a much, much, more laid-back place. Schedules are far looser here. Things happen when they happen. People work hard, but at their own pace.

So several of us will be here for a months together, some are leaving soon and one, Jason, left this morning. Its nice to know that there will be a core of us here together for a while. There is a great sense of camaraderie in the shop. Its nice to be part of a team of enthusiasts.

Beth and Jason, both have extensive experience running bike shops in the states

Will, from Australia, dont know too much of his story

A handy bike diagram from Anna Lisa´s book, i´m copying it by hand to help commit the parts to memory

Anna Lisa (left) and Heather (right) true a wheel.

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