Day Four by Jack Bohlen

I am 15 and I go to Providence High School. Day 4 of Peru was much more exhausting than yesterday. Today we worked with all the cement pouring and when you don’t have any machines to move materials or mix cement it’s a little more complex. Digging cement and the red clay in the 4 ½ feet deep holes is not at all like dirt or beach sand so the shovels up to the surface or into the wheelbarrow is much heavier and is hard on the back. This however made lunch and dinner taste so much better. Another challenge is the thin air and altitude. I myself have exercise induced asthma so bending down and shoveling with a mask on to keep out the dirt and dust makes it very hard to breath. So we have a saying that is get swoll. It means get stronger basically and it’s a fun saying to give us motivation and keep on going. Although we try our hardest we still can’t do anything right.  The Peruvians told me I needed to get out of the hole because he was afraid I would mess up which I was because they wanted perfect rectangles and I had a blob. You might think digging rectangles in clay with a pickaxe and shovel is easy but you are wrong. Every time I would scoop out my chiseled clay it the hole would look the exact same as it did before.

I did meet one man at the site who is a pretty cool guy. He was born in Italy but lived in Columbia so he can speak Spanish very well. His English however needs a little work but he gets the message across. And the first day he said I need strong brothers to help me and he pointed at me and Charlie Tucker. So I looked behind me to make sure he was actually pointing at me and indeed he was so I puffed out my chest and very manly like said what can I lift for you. And that’s how we started to get to know each other. After that we talked about each other’s’ past. Charlie and I saying we are from North Carolina as we lifted 100 pound bags of cement like a macho man would. When he said he was from Italy I started to get excited because I went there for spring break so I had some knowledge on the place. The first thing I started talking about since it was lunch time soon was the food. And he was surprised to see I knew some about the culture, and as the day went on Charlie and I would talk to him more and really liked him. So after a couple of chats and hard labor we became his go to guys which was kinda neat.

The cool thing about this trip is we all get along and talk to everyone in the group. There aren’t really a lot of groups or cliques; we all just laugh together in the common room upstairs (which is where all of the guys sleep). Altogether we are always upbeat and ready for the next task unless we have to clean the outdoor toilets then we are all “coincidentally too sick to work anymore”.  Also today we got our Peruvian money so we went out and splurged on the fascinating food and candy that is very cheap to us. I myself got a 3 liter bottle of Fanta because the water has a funny after taste and I like the different taste of cane sugar.

Also the view is amazing everywhere and I love the night time because the stars pop out in the night sky and it’s amazing. That’s really the only good thing about night because we can’t sleep well with the concerts or the pigeons that fight each other on the roof in the morning but other than that it’s breathtaking


One thought on “Day Four by Jack Bohlen”

  1. We really enjoyed reading Day 4- Jack you really brought the area to life for us with your detailed descriptions. It sounds like a wonderful experience and so nice to be sharing it with church friends. We are looking forward to hearing more when we are on vacation next week. Blessings and love. G & G


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