Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Twenty: Tuesday, January 26 – The Big Push

Special Note: Thanks for your comments and questions about the status of Shawny’s leg.  She’s fine.  She can now stand on her own two feet even without crutches, though she is still using crutches to walk.  Things seem to be healing well (and quickly!).   She has been working with us every day and should seem almost normal when we arrive back in California on Friday. 

This morning we slept in until 8:00 a.m. (Woo woo!  We are SO wild!) then went in different directions.  As Tartarugas Ninja headed into town with Jesse and Marcia to make an appearance in front of the City Council.  They were interested in meeting us, but we realized we needed some people working on the storefront more than we needed for everyone to appear at the City Council.  A Roda stayed in camp in the early morning to catch up on video work.  Os Pedreiros and Garfo went up to the site to do some construction. 

Unfortunately, the trip to the City Council was a big bust.  The main contact there forgot about the appointment (though it was confirmed three days ago) and didn’t show up.  His assistant called him and he apologized by phone.  We were just glad that we hadn’t dragged our entire group there as planned. 

The silver lining to the City Council fiasco was that the group that was downtown managed to make it to the Museum of Santarém to see our dear friend Laurimar Leal.  Laurimar runs the museum and is the unofficial archivist of art and culture in Santarém.  He is an artist (though he has gone blind in the last few years, preventing him from keeping up with his job of painting portraits of city leaders and displaying them in the museum).   He is also a musician and he primarily maintains and performs a long list of songs that were passed down through the long period of slavery that plagued Brazil for generations.  Finally, he is an important voice for the underrepresented citizens in the area, as his art, music, and conversation are always focused on the needs of the underdog.  He was not surprised that the city leaders let us down today, but he also maintains a healthy level of civic pride for his beloved Santarém. 

For the folks who went to the construction site, huge amounts of work unfolded.  They spackled, painted, sanded, spackled some more, painted some more, sanded some more, painted some more and generally got covered with all kinds of evidence of their work.  The place looks totally different already, but there is still quite a bit of work to do.

The afternoon construction shift got to add two more components to the list of jobs: installing a tile floor and installing a metal security grate.  The flooring team was a particular surprise to Jaime, because it was made up exclusively of women.  There was no big strategy involved in that decision; it’s just that the people who moved into that job all happened to be female.  Our “jobs have no gender” policy is freaking out our hosts just a bit, as they sometimes believe that only men can lift heavy loads or can perform tasks that involve tools and extensive manual labor.  We are proving their preconceptions to be faulty every day, but we haven’t yet cracked through their expectation that things should align in specific ways. 

Tomorrow will be our last workday.  We hope that when the day ends, we will have a completed floor, a flawless paint job inside and outside of the storefront, and a fully-functional front door installed. 

We must gather up all of our things and move out of our Brazilian home tomorrow night.  Our bus will leave camp at 11:00 p.m. here, then we fly to Manaus at 12:30.  We predict that many tears will flow in the next 24 hours . . .

Hey, you missed a spot.

Marcia might not be tall but she can sure reach those high spots with a broom stick! Shazam

Minty paint, but don't lick the walls!

4 paints brushes are better than 1!

Trimming everything but trees!

Working together to lay tile on the floor.

Jaime tiling the floor.

Jaime takes a photo of Noelle and her new spackle heart tattoo courtesy of Edson.

The storefront coming together.

Denis Glauber, Josy, and Edson helped us spackle and paint this afternoon.

The SSC (Spackle Sanding Crew).

Jared and G, steady rollin on the roof.

Bry-Guy Navarro was hungry for sour cream.  We didn’t have any, so he tried some spackle.

Quince and crew get to painting.

Sky tries a chicken skewer from a local street vendor.

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