I’m going to write about my last few days at PSF now and then talk more widely about the 4 weeks in a few days. This week has been an enlightening experience due to a lack of power and water; I won’t detail the often severe consequences which that can entail! The absorbing PSF atmosphere and constant busyness hasn’t really given me a chance to think about the fact I am actually leaving this place tomorrow, it doesn’t seem real and I don’t feel ready for change.
One of the daily features at PSF is the ‘Rock Off’ after every meal. Instead of simply washing your own dishes, gambling to escape doing your own at the expense of having to do all of your fellow competitors is one of the key aspects of PSF life. It can be intensely competitive and anyone who plays can safely assure you it is mainly a matter of skill and not luck. Now a seasoned player of 4 weeks I like to consider myself as a professional in the sport and I quietly boast a glorious win/loss ratio. Standing on a table playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with over 40 people wildly cheering will be one of the obscure but most enduring memories from PSF.
This week has been typically active and, after 4 weeks, there is still so much to learn and to give back. Highlights from the past 7 days include starting a modular home project, building a bridge for the playground and cooking some impressive BBQ chicken and chocolate brownies for all 50 volunteers. Friday was also my last day at Ludoteca, which is the children’s centre I have been involved in over the past month.
It’s going to be hard to adjust from what is considered perfectly normal here to the norms of life back home. Yes, chicken and rice for lunch has slightly lost its impact but Pisco hasn’t. I haven’t even had enough time to digest and properly understand it. Maybe it was too ambitious to think that this was possible and I guess its true meaning will come in hindsight.
Five years after the earthquake, there is still so much good work going on here. New projects are always starting whether this is biodegradable toilets, modular homes or community centres. Making the blurred transition from disaster relief to community development, I assume will always be relatively difficult. So far, so good. I’d be interested to see how things have changed in another five years.