Well, our time has come. And then been put off, then delayed again. Somehow we just can’t bring ourselves to leave this special place. But considering that I was only planning on staying a couple months here at PSF, and somehow I’m now almost 6 months in, I think it’s finally time to leave. Tomorrow I have to give my goodbye speech to everyone. Just a quick goodbye and a thank you for everything this place and these people have given me. And what hasn’t this place given me. Looking back on my 6 months I can hardly believe how lucky I am that I found PSFs website and decided to come here and check it out. At first I was nervous, having no construction background, rusty Spanish and a one way ticket to a country I had never visited. Psf has not only improved my Spanish skills and taught me how to use power tools, it’s given me countless friendships with people around the world, introduced me to my amazing, amazing boyfriend, given me the confidence to step up and be a leader and allowed me to work with and improve the lives of beautiful families in this community.
One of these families is the mother and daughter we built a modular home for as my last project. For the past 5 years, they had been living in a tent donated to them after the earthquake by a relief organization. I knew from the beginning this was going to be a special project. The house was crawling with adorable puppies and kittens. And over the course of the next couple of weeks, we enjoyed getting distracted from our work by their pets jumping all over us and cuddling up on our construction site. Although pretty stoic, Maga, the mother, made us feel welcome everyday. Cooking us incredible lunches with heaping portions. She even baked me a gorgeous cake for my birthday. And carol, her 9 year old daughter, was a bit shy at first but quickly opened up and was really curious and helpful with what we were working on.
From day one, the family was very eager to participate in the construction process. On the first day we arrived to the house to find that they had already moved most of their belongings out and had dismantled everything except for the poles of the tent. We spent the next couple of days cleaning up and leveling the site. Then we poured a 7 by 4 meter concrete floor. The next few days I spent in bed, sick with parasites- e coli and giardia. Pretty common in pisco. My awesome team put up the panels that become the exterior and interior walls of the house. It only took a couple days to kick those parasites out of my system and I was back on site. We prepared the roof with bamboo beams and chanquarta and then poured the concrete. We let it dry for the weekend and when we came back, she had moved her furniture in! It was starting to look like a real home. Then we spent a few days at our wood shop, constructing doors, windows and furniture. We put everything up on site, painted the furniture there and painted her house a beautiful lime green. Locks and latches were the last to go on and the house was finally finished! We asked Maga how she felt about her new house and we watched her let down her guard for a moment, tears of relief and happiness welling up in her eyes, describe how cold she and Carol were in the tent and how much more comfortable her new house is. This project was easily my favorite in the past 6 months and it was difficult to say goodbye to this family, wishing I could do even more for them.
Well, this experience has been truly life changing. 6 months of hard work, incredible friendships, crazy parties and lots of love. I know I’ll be missing PSF for a long time after we leave. But I’m pretty excited to hit the road again. Jules and I will be heading up north to check out the amazon in Iquitos then crossing the border into Colombia! My family is visiting at the end of September and I cant wait. Good times ahead.