We are back from VQ. It was a long, yet amazing experience.
We left Grupo CEO about 13:00 with "Gringos" (as Bill put it, including himself) in one car and the Brasilians in the other. On the way, Amanda and I slept, preparing ourselves for the long trek ahead.
At one point we stopped at a ladies house, for a break and some cake. When we got there they were sitting in their chairs watching a Brasilian "soap opera." We were all hanging out enjoying our seats, when all of a sudden, Sula makes Etulo move in a certain way so that his head would not be in the way of the TV. But that wasn't good enough for her, so she took off her flip flops and sat on them right in front of the TV. The "gringos" were cracking up! We nearly had to pull her away from the TV when the cake was ready and when it was time to go. Sula will never live it down!
We parked the cars at a house near the road and began our trek not even 100 yards down the road, Bill was off his bike, yelling at Etulo to come help him. The rest of us got there and they were picking up the 200 or so crayons that had fallen on the path out of Bill's kiddie trailer carrying all the supplies! It was hilarious...Sula ended up with the box in her backpack the rest of the way.
Not too much further, Sula jumped in the waterfall and never did dry off. At one point Erika told me we were half way there...but I was somewhat afraid to believe her. The last time a Brasilian told me we were half way there on a hike (Jire last year on the mountain), it took at least another 3 hours!!! The trek was about 4 miles with our backpacks full of our hammocks, top sheets, sun screen, toothbrush, toothpaste, cameras, and 2 liter water bottles, but we made it there around 16:00.
The people of VQ lost all of their crops in the rains that came during their rainy season, with the river rising at least 10 feet over what the oldest person in the community had seen in her life. So along with our supplies for the 1 1/2 days we were there...we had the back of the cars filled with 500 pounds of food each...making it an interesting ride there...but luckily some of the locals brought the food bags from the car to the house.
Once we arrived at the house we would be doing most of our activities at, we had to figure out how we were going to play the music...we didn't bring all the connections that we needed. Once the music started, Jordan, Laura and I began line dancing, hoping they would join us, but even the kids we brought with us (Etulo, Fatema, and Amanda) weren't having it...but it was fun for us!
Later Erika gave a short lesson with the kids and we were able to "paint" with them, ate some chocolate cake, and blew up balloons! I don't think the kids knew how to handle us! We were playing some games that completely were off their normal idea of games, but a few of them caught on.
I was also in charge of keep the "killer man eating" frogs away from Amanda and Erika...it was entertaining!
It was really neat to see all the people sitting on this one bench, listening, singing and dancing to the music, listening to Bill speak and watching the kids play with balloons (both blown up and popped). It was hard for them to leave, although we really needed them to head home, one because it was already really dark and two we were ready for dinner and didn't want to sit in front of them and eat our dinner!
We were able to practice our alliteration as well! We had "Baked and Buttered Bread Bought and Brought By Beautiful Bill" and more...
We slept 9 people in two rooms (all but one of us in hammocks.) 7 of us were in the front room of the house, hammocks hanging all over the place and the other 2 were in the room right next to everyone else. Jordan was sleeping below Sula, and every time one of them would move, so would the other. Etulo was sleeping on a couch under my hammock. I was kicked a few times, but I was more worried about my hammock breaking and falling on top of him. But we lasted the night! There were only a few critters crawling around us and on the rafters. Bill and Erika got to see most of them!
Bill "nicely" woke most of us up around 6:15 to go bathe in the river, which none of us planned on! To get there we had to climb over a wooden fence, although it was only a small step for Laura. I didn't bring a change of clothes...But I can now say that I have bathed in a Brasilian river with many rocks EVERYWHERE!! Sula also lost her hair clip in the river...her face was so pitiful, but luckily Jordan had an extra hair tie! It was a lot of fun and VERY refreshing!
We also have now coined the phrase "Pulling a Sula" at the river...Don't worry about it (another phrase for the summer!)
When we got back to the house we had the fun job of figuring out where to put all of our WET clothes...The fence was the perfect spot, but that meant you either had to get your feet muddy, then walk around to the back of the house to clean them off, or use Bill's sandals that were near the door...I made a compromise and just hung them off the window sill/ledge.
For breakfast we ate HotDogs (no joke and yes that is really how Jordan eats her hot dogs!) while waiting for the motorcycles to arrive (they were needed to carry all the bags of food to the people in the community)! Eating hotdogs for breakfast really threw off our since of time too...we were really confused!
Our hand bruising (black eye hand...don't worry about it) games continued into the morning. Sula and Fatema we playing at one point while the rest of us were watching them including one of the boys from the community, Fabreito. Fabreito ended up a little too close and got a slap across the face. We all felt so sorry for him, especially since he was crying (but we couldn't stop laughing either). But he's fine and now it's just another story for the blog!
After breakfast, we headed out to the farthest house in the community, 4.5 miles from the house we slept in! We walked the whole way, with mud all around us too (it rained the night before...but I slept through it). The roads we very rocky and there were some steep hills, but the company that was around made the walk more enjoyable!
The house at the end of the road had some AMAZING coffee! Real milk, almost straight from the cow, and sugary coffee...made for an AWESOME drink after the walk! The caffeine was welcomed too! There we all sat around the front porch, singing songs and pastor Edgewardo gave a message from Romans. After the short rest and feeling the cool breeze, it was time to head to the next house!
We also made a stop at the "Pond" (or lake - don't know what you would call it) for a short swim to refresh our legs and get back on the road.
Some of our Grupo CEO group ended up with rides on the motorcycles to the next house, but Jordan, Sula, Bill and I headed by foot. Once we got near the house, we waved to the house, but kept walking, knowing that we didn't want to be left in the dust. Erika yelled something to Bill in Portuguese and he nearly ran to the house...Jordan and I agreed that it must have been something about food! AND IT WAS!!! Fresh Real Yogurt! I am always up to trying new things...and it wasn't bad, but I wasn't able to eat it all...especially since I knew that we had so much more walking to do. Bill was able to finish his, mine and even more... the cheese was pretty good too! We made Bill and Erika pose a few time for this picture! Of course we ohh-ed and ahhh-ed...
Bill and I made it back by foot the whole way...everyone else took the motorcycle, even though a ride was offered to us a few times. Once we got back to the house, everyone else was in the river, so of course we went and joined them (why not, our clothes were already wet!
Then it was time for lunch! After lunch we headed back down the road to the cars. Little did the "slower" group know...Erica parked one of the cars closer to the house so we didn't have to walk the whole way back, although we did have to get out a walk a few more time in places where the car needed the least amount weight!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We are back from VQ. It was a long, yet amazing experience.
Posted by Carlyn at 8:01 PM