Three times this week Francesca and I have been out to build stoves and so I thought I’d share some of the snaps

With Francesca, our short-term volunteer, here at the moment with her passion for cooking, we decided to introduce the gastronomy students at the Training Centre to a feast of English cuisine (shepherd’s pie – pye de pastores; apple crumble – crocante de manzana; bread and butter pudding – postre de pan y mantequilla) for the day. While Francesca managed the main course, we took turns to teach the desserts, which we reckon are the best bit of British cuisine. It was occasionally pandemonium, but many students valued the opportunity to be introduced to new foods and new ways of cooking.

Francesca came out with me yesterday. We left bright and early to go to Aco for the famous lamb soup and to pick up the remaining batch of combustion chambers. Then, in the afternoon she had her first taste of stove building, which was great since my other volunteers didn’t turn up again. However, last night, she spent all of it being sick and unable to shut her eye. Thankfully the doctor doesn’t think that she has an allergy to stove building, but has picked up a stomach infection (from eating poorly reheated food we think) and conjunctivitis. She’s feeling grotty and will be out of action for a few days and has come to stay with us for a bit of R&R.

Meanwhile, my day hasn’t been that great either. Firstly, my transport turned up half an hour late to pick me and building materials up, which meant that the volunteer I’d arranged for the morning probably decided we weren’t coming and went home (I’m being generous; the track record suggests that they probably didn’t even arrive) and then when we finally made it to the house to build the stove we found that the family had gone out and it was deserted. Still, their loss….

Had to work by myself today as my volunteers didn’t turn up and Francesca was too tired after travelling, so it was a late one, but I did manage to get the base done and return in time to do my teaching at the Training Centre.

Hot-footed it down to Lima yesterday in order to pick up Francesca, a volunteer who has come over for 5 weeks to help with the smokeless stoves, but also do some community-based drama workshops with children over their winter break. No problems at the airport and we spent the night and the next morning staying with friends in Surco, but thankfully we have now returned to Huancayo – Lima doesn’t get any better with the passing of time.

Returned to the family to finish off their stove today, but cementing on the metal griddle where the cooking will take place and then smothering it all in clay (which helps maintain the heat). I think it looks quite good, even if I do say so myself!

So, I learnt one thing today – building the actual body of the stove takes a lot longer than I had anticipated. I’m going to have to reschedule all the stove-building so that I have a full day to be able to complete it. This first stove is still not finished (we needed to pause since it was mid-afternoon and we hadn’t had any lunch yet and because the family needed to gather together more ash, which we are using as an¬†insulating¬†material), but it is at least recognisable now.

So, we’ve now into July, supposedly in the middle of the dry season and we’ve had 3 days in a row of rain, which is very odd. It’s noticeably colder, with the sun unable to get through during the day, but its welcome nonetheless after various weeks without a drop.

We don’t really know why, but this time last year there was a huge drunken party in the park right outside our house continuously for about 3 days and nights. This year, fortunately, we have been spared this joy. Judging by the sound of it, it seems to have shifted location to a few blocks away, although given the volume of the party last year, it could even be the other side of the city and we’d still be hearing it!! We’re now aware of it at all times, but it is not so ear-splittingly loud that we can’t sleep.

It was a public holiday today, so we had planned to go with friends, David and Charito and Cesar and Haydee, to the waterfalls behind Ingenio, since none of us had ever been. Unfortunately, Rachel was feeling a bit under the weather, but insisted that the rest of us went anyway.

© 2017 Paul and Rach Elliston Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha