Today was the team’s last day in Japura. We arrived as early as possible because we didn’t have much time before having to head to Pitumarca. The municipality wanted to host a small celebration at 3pm, which meant we only had a half day to work. Wesley, Simon, and Tyler headed back to Patiñeque (with the tools!) in order to fix what they had been unable to repair the day before. This time, they brought along a member of the community so that he would learn how to repair the system in the future.

            The rest of the team stayed in Japura, finishing up surveys and helping with the construction in whatever way possible. At lunchtime, we were provided with a small meal at one of the local restaurants. We were given soup and rice with a big chicken patty, which the vegetarians slipped to their omnivorous companions. The Patiñeque team returned shortly after everyone else finished lunch, and they were pleased to announce that the system had been repaired in almost no time at all.

            Though we were all very determined to make it to the municipality on time, we ended up getting there an hour late. When we arrived, worried that the mayor had been waiting, no one seemed to be expecting us. We were escorted to a conference room where we waited for at least half an hour. Originally, we had been told that the mayor would be present with the secretary general, but we never saw either of them. About the time the municipality was closing down for the day, a representative of the secretary general presented us with thank yous and a gift that made the wait worth it: Peruvian hats. These aren’t just any hats – they’re brightly-colored, handmade alpaca wool hats typical of Pitumarca, which is the textile capital of the Cusco region. Sporting our awesome new headgear, we all posed for a picture before finally heading back on the bus. 

            Since we were getting back a bit earlier than usual, a few of us got off at a small town called Llocllora near Camp Chuquicahuana to play with some of the kids. These kids are friends of Stephanie, who lived in Peru over the summer, and they had invited the EWB team to come and play soccer with them. Stephanie, Wesley, Tyler, and Diana all spent the evening playing soccer, hide and seek, and freeze tag on an unpaved, unlit street. “It was fantastic,” Stephanie said. “There were at least a dozen kids, screaming and chasing us, and none of the parents came out and yelled at them. And it was pretty hilarious – all these little girls were chasing Wesley and Tyler, and they wouldn’t let anyone rescue them from ‘dungeon.’”

            Meanwhile in Chuquicahuana, the mayor and various other officials from the district of Acopia, a town nestled in the mountains about 15 minutes away from Chuquicahuana, had gathered for a meeting with Dr. Roth and Pulsiano. Their hope is to apply for EWB’s help with constructing water systems. The district needs help with creating systems for agriculture, and the town of Acopia desperately needs drinking water as it only receive two hours in the morning each day. Though our EWB chapter will probably not commit to these projects (as it would require signing a five-year contract with Acopia’s municipality and we haven’t quite finished our five-year contract with Pitumarca), we would like to help Acopia find another chapter that would be able to assist with these projects. Since our main translator, Diana, was off playing with kids, Natalie, who isn’t a native speaker, was challenged with translating for government officials. She did a marvelous job, and the officials all went home satisfied with our progress.

            Around 8pm, the group enjoyed its last supper all together. Most of the team will be heading to Machu Picchu tomorrow, which means waking up at midnight, and those not going – Dr. Roth, Natalie, and Stephanie – plan to visit another EWB project in Pucutuni. Those going to Machu Picchu are excited to go, though they’re definitely dreading the long night ahead!