Hello to all!
My apologies for the lack of update-age. We have been pretty busy the past few days with our two service learning projects and general continued exploration of the town of Pucón.
The day after Christmas included a zipline "canopy tour" of some neat sights in Pucón for those of us who were willing to participate (one student prefered to keep her feet on the ground, so we respected that). My apologies for lack of pictures this post... Hopefully I will have some more time to get those up tomorrow. In the meantime, try to visualize the past few days we've had...
On the 27th we packed up our bags and headed into Villarrica National park where we spent a cold and rainy morning/afternoon working on a trail along the base of the volcano. This mostly entailed moving some volcanic rocks around to line the path or mark it with towers, known as cairns. Since it was pretty miserable weather, all of our spirits were a bit low which didn't help group tensions either since we've been together for two weeks now... Our ride back to the ranger´s station was pretty interesting though because the van didn´t come for us and we consequently were all piled into a pick-up truck. Yes, there are thirteen of us -- plus Hugo, our park ranger. All-in-all, quite the day. Thankfully, the weather cleared the following day, so we were a bit rejuvenated and continued our work on the trail, this time busting out some paints for the official trail-marking posts in addition to blazing a trail through some confusing rocky/ashy sections.
Once we had finished our trail work, we returned to our hostel and geared up for our next project... working on a traditional Mapuche house for our new friend, Rosita. We had a lot of free time yesterday before embarking on this project adventure, but at 4 o'clock we all headed out to a location where we were able to cut down grass reeds to use for the roof of the house. We filled two trailers full of the stuff and transported it to our location where we would be spending the majority of today. In addition to the roof, we used the grassy reeds and bamboo-like rods to line and cover the outside of the house perimeter. It was a pretty tiring day, but we celebrated at the end of our laboring with some food prepared by Rosita and her son -- delicious sopapillas, grilled chicken, potatoes and the traditional mate drink.
Everyone is looking forward to our day off (technically today) to enjoy the last day of 2008 as we please, before we have to travel to Puerto Varas and then the following day to Puerto Montt to the airport to fly to Santiago for our last big stop before returning to the States. Phew! No telling if or when we'll be able to update the blog, but I will do my best to upload some pictures tomorrow.
Oh wait! p.s. Something to think about, we'll beat you all into the New Year because of the time difference. How about THAT for craziness? We're livin' in the future! :)