Thursday, August 31, 2006

Feast of Santa Rosa

August 30 is the feast of Saint Rose, the patron saint of Lima. It´s a holiday for anyone lucky enough to have a ¨real¨ job in the formal sector of the economy. There are hundreds of processions and festivals all over the city. This is a procession that passed down my street.

The most popular activity seems to be the one that takes place at the ¨wishing well¨ at the church of Santa Rosa near the center of town. It used to be a regular water well, but is now a dry hole where people come to write their petitions on a card and drop them into the well, hoping that Santa Rosa will answer their prayers.

It´s a very busy (and I suppose profitable) day for people selling the cards, pens, and all sorts of food to the hungry crowds. People had to stand in line for several hours to get to the well. (I didn´t, which is why I only have pictures of the crowds, and not the well.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Three Homes In Three Days

The Canadian teachers went home yesterday after spending three days with us helping to renovate a couple of houses. We divided them into two teams, and Sonia interpreted for one team and I for the other. It was Sonia´s first experience serving as an interpreter, and she did very well.
The teams worked very hard, and accomplished more than I expected, so that we were able to begin roofing a third house, which my friend Freddy and I finished the next day.
On the last day, we all went back to my neighborhood to eat lunch at a benefit for the family who lost their house to the fire.
And the team decided to donate a gas stove to one of the families that has eight children and was cooking its meals over a wooden fire.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cómo Hacer Un Termo Solar

(This is for my Spanish-speaking friends who want to know how to make a solar shower.)

Se puede hacer facilmente y baratamente un aparato que caliente agua por medio de la radiación solar, con suficiente capacidad para ducharse. Funciona bien aún en regiones constantamente nubladas como donde vive yo (Lima, Perú). El modelo ilustrado aquí me costó aproximadamente $30. Con materiales usados sale mucho más barato. Los materiales que usé son los siguientes, pero se puede adaptar el diseño a los materiales que se tiene a mano. Lo importante es que la superficie del termo sea grando en relación a la cantidad del agua, y que la capa sea de vidrio y no de plastico. (El vidrio refleja los rayos infrarojos generado en la caja, mientras que la mayoría de los plasticos no tienen esta propiedad.)

  • Una tabla delgada de madera, de un metro cuadrado
  • 2 listones de 2 cm x 4 cm x 2 m
  • 1 liston de 2 cm x 3,5 cm x 1 m
  • 28 metros manguera de plastico de 3/4 pulgada
  • 2 mangueras de largo suficiente para conectar el termo al chorro y a un recipiente
  • 2 codos con el diametro de la manguera
  • 4 abrazadores
  • uno o más pedazos de vidrio con área total de 96 cm
  • 1 lata de pintura negra mate (spray)
  • pernos

Las fotos abajo enseñan el proceso.

Haz la base con la tabla y los dos listones de 2 x 4.

Forma un espiral de la manguera y asegurarlo con cinta y adjunta los codos a sus fines con abrazadores.

Mete la manguera en la caja de madera de tal manera que el fin del tubo más lejos del centro esté centrado en un lado de la caja. Corta un agujero de tamaño suficiente que el codo pase por el fondo de la caja. Corta el listón de 2 x 3,5 cm en pedazos y ubícalos en los lados de la caja para apoyar el vidrio.

Usa los pernos para asegurar la borde del espiral.

Pinta todo el interior de la caja con la pintura negra mate.

Conecta un chorro de agua al codo en el interior del espiral y asegúralo con abrazador. Conecta el otro codo a una manguera para sacar el agua caliente. (Puede ir a una cabeza de ducha, un balde o cualquiera. Pon el vidrio encima de la caja y asegúralo con pedados de madera. Instálalo en un techo o otro lugar expueso al sol, con la salida del agua más arriba de la entrada.

Una vez conectado, abre la llave hasta que el agua fría salga del aparato. Cierra la llave y esperar hasta que el agua caliente. Luego abre la llave otra vez para sacar el agua caliente.

Con manguera de 3/4 pulgada, cada metro tiene capacidad de aproximadamente 0,25 litro, así que este modelo tiene capacidad de 7 litros. En un día de bastante sol, este modelo levanta la temperatura del agua de 20 grados a 40 grados en una hora. En un día muy nublado con una temperatura ambiental de 19 grados (lo más común acá en Lima), la temperatura del agua en el termo alcanza 31 grados -- no muy caliente pero adecuada para ducharse cómodamente.

Cualquier mejoramiento que descubras, por favor comunícate conmigo a

Monday, August 07, 2006

La Señora Eufemia

Eufemia is one of the señoras who helped us to make tamales the other day, and she´s one of the women whose house we´re going to be working on when a team of twelve Canadian teachers comes to visit this week. Her house is in pretty good condition compared to others in her neighborhood, but it´s small for her family and consists of just one big room. So we´re going to build some internal walls with doors, and add a small room on to the back of the house. These are some pictures of her house, and of her neighborhood.

We´re also going to make similar modifications to another house in the same neighborhood (San Genaro, about five minutes from where I live), owned by Señora Maria Luz, who has five children living with her. Her house is much more humble, with a dirt floor. I´ll be going there tomorrow with some friends to level the ground where we´ll be working, so that it´s ready for building when the Canadians arrive. They´ll be working with us from Thursday through Saturday, and then they´re going to San Juan Lurigancho to work with another project which teaches job skills to physically and mentally handicapped people in the most heavily populated district of Lima.

This is my friend Roger, a civil engineer who donates his time drawing up plans for us whenever we have building projects.

Making Tamales With The Señoras

Sonia belongs to a group of people from her church who get together frequently to help out other people in need. They periodically make tamales or other things to raise money for their projects. On Friday we made tamales with the help of some señoras whom the group has helped in the past.

To make the masa, they soak dried corn overnight and grind it in a food processor, add some garlic, onion and ground peppers. Then they cook some diced chicken. These are wrapped in two or three corn husks with an olive and a strip of hot pepper. Then they´re tied with string and steamed for about an hour.

Altogether we made 112, in just a little over three hours. Mmmmmm, qué rico!