Thursday, May 01, 2008
Difficult access, continued
Speaking of clothes, by the time I got to the Bosque, mine were a mess because of the fall at Lake Maria (she's the mayor of Santarem) and the rest of the walk. Luckily, I had some old work clothes stashed away at the Bosque, so I changed and then washed the others, which you see in the image. By the end of the day they were dry, so I changed again before walking out. To try another route I took what used to be a walking trail to Cipoal. It turned out to be worse than the road! It's now being used by smaller vehicles, ox and cart, horse drawn carts, bicycles, motorcycles and anything else that can't negotiate Lake Maria. By the time I got to my car on the Santarem-Cuiaba Highway, I was all muddy again and smelling like a pig stile. I got to thinking about how the community people out there face lack of access on a daily basis. I go out only when I need to this time of the year because I'm quickly destroying our family car and now, myself. Local people don't have any choice, so they improvise the best they can. I was concerned about how I was going to get two sacks of cement in to the Bosque to continue construction of sidewalks around the reception center, thereby reducing the need to walk in mud. I got the cement to Cipoal, telling Cleuson to contract an ox and cart to get it to the Bosque. I was surprised to see the cement already at the Bosque when I arrived on foot. One of my neighbors had brought it in on the back of his Honda motorcycle, all 100 kilos of it. I thought that was indeed a feat, but then I learned that in addition to the cement, he also brought in his wife and 9 year old son on the same trip! I've seen motorcycles and bicycles simply slide out from under the riders on these muddy roads. Cleuson says that the secret is to keep the bike going at the fastest speed possible, even facing serious consequences, if there's an accident. By slowing down, or stopping, the bike is subject to flipping over onto the riders. That happened this week to Cleuson on his bicycle. He's still limping along because one of the pedals jammed into his foot.