Monday, January 17, 2011

Day Ten: Hip Ninja

We went back and filled in lots of missing pieces on the blog, so please click back to catch up on videos and pictures (though not all of the captions have been posted yet).  Also, thanks for the comments!  We are much happier now . .  .

Rain, rain, rain, and more rain POURED down just before most of us woke up this morning and it kept falling in sheets all the way until the time that we just needed to get to work.  So we bundled up in our rain gear and went to work anyway. We hoofed it down the hill with water just pouring down the streets and pouring down from the sky.  By the time we settled into the job, though, the rain abated and we got to get into a rhythm that lasted until the end of the day (for better or worse).

Charles let us know that we had to scrape even more dirt out of the space where the water tank will soon sit, so we were back on bucket brigades for (literally) tons of redirected soil and rocks.  Some of us stood in the exact same place all day long, just turning one way and then another to pass a muddy bucket down the line.  We started coming up with ways to break the monotony, including having each person say something as the bucket passed by, like a color, an animal, a state capital, a world leader, a funny noise, a line NOT to say on a first date, or whatever.  At least once, we just said the name of the next person in the line, but it had to be in a funny voice.

People learned some fancy techniques today, including Trevor's incredible reverse push press (no-peeky) as he lifted the bucket backward over his head uphill to Iris, Iris's squat pump to retrieve it from Trevor, and the inspiration for our title today: Goose's "hip ninja."  On this last one, Goose (Jon) would be the dumper at the end of the line, which meant he had to stand on a hill and clear it to get the mud out onto the pile we were creating.  He had some hip flex that he did that made the mud fly out of the bucket in just the direction that he intended without needing to lean out over the pit. 

We broke for lunch when Matt H. and Morgan delivered our homemade fish stew (made mostly by Matt, with assists from Trevor, Dani, Jared, Shawny, Luke, Morgan and Scott), which made great use of our fresh catch (well, some fisherman’s fresh catch, anyway) from yesterday.  Several of us (but mostly Matt) stayed up late into the night trying to figure out exactly how to scale and fillet all of the different fish we acquired, even though few of us really felt like we knew what we were doing.  Somehow, despite our collective ignorance, the stew was really good.  We had taken some backup foods just in case it was awful, but there was no need to resort to crackers or Clif bars today. 

After lunch the buckets started moving again.  No matter what anyone’s job was, we all were deeply immersed in the world of repetitive motion, which might leave us very sore in the morning. Despite our relative pain, we stayed all the way to the edge of darkness to get the job finished today, as we hope to start pouring the foundation of the tanks in the next day or two. 

Once we got home and cleaned up, we immediately found our state of cleanliness interrupted by the after-dark arrival of a truckload of cement bags.  75 bags weighing somewhere between 85 and 95 pounds arrived, so we all jumped up on the truck, rode it to a house close to the worksite, and unloaded it with headlamps in the dark.  Somehow, it was really exhilarating. 
We came back, ate dinner, then had a little meeting where we decided to reduce our overall computer usage due to overexertion of our bandwidth and our collective belief that we are hurting our unity here if we are too tied to places far away.  We aren’t cutting ourselves off completely, but we are reducing overall usage so that we are more in the moment here.  We hope that we will post the blog in a more reliable (and timely) fashion if we do this and we also hope that we will find ourselves laughing even more, either in our teams or in other random clusters. 

 Hilary playing guard dog

 Justinian taking the cutlass to the hill

 Leaving a mark 

 Scott trying to keep it clean 

 The Mt. Man

Yeah, we walk this hill at least once a day

While excavating dirt from around the spring today, we unearthed this crab, the largest of the trip so far. 

The group and some locals remove dirt from around the spring, then move the dirt away via a bucket line. 

The bucket line and a pile of debris that was moved in previous days. 

The muddy bucket line; take note of Iris' shirt. 


  1. Hi Saint Marys crew,
    Sometimes in the morning, when my breath condenses in my unheated office and creates a white fog that collects in front of me, I imagine its the mist from the waterfalls floating over the tropical foliage and wafting through the verdant valleys,and that I'm there with you guys.
    And then I turn my head, and my chin rubs against the collar of the thick sweatshirt that I haven't taken off for two weeks, and the illusion is shattered ;(
    Next time you guys are doing the bucket brigade you might try a word game I remember from high school. Each person says the same sentence changing only the one word, but the word in that position always has to start with the same letter. Until somebody misses, then you start over with words that start with a different letter. And you only have the time it takes to say the sentence(as the bucket is passed from one person to the next) to come up with your word for the sentence. Its actually pretty fun, and will increase your vocabulary.
    first person: sassy is a BIG cat
    secondperson: sassy is a BEAUTIFUL cat
    third person: sassy is a BUG cat
    (doest have to make sense, just start with right letter)
    Remember with the 100 pound concrete bags, if you carry two at once, you cut your trips in half.
    Be safe

  2. This is Southwestern Elementary...we've had several snow days, so we haven't had the chance to write. We finally caught up today and decided to send a quick note. the kids think the Mountain Chicken team is the coolest because of the picture at the end of the videos. They crack up each time they see it. We did all of the math with you today (because we ARE just starting multiplication in third grade) and were pretty good with the answers. Is there a way we can send you pictures? Let us know!

  3. That fish stew sounds so great! Things always taste better after a lot of physical labor, but that sounded like it would be yummy anytime. I love Ewing the progress you are making on the project.