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The HODR "Bed Board" was used to keep track of where everybody was bunking. We also had a Job Board listing all the daily projects and who was working on each team. This was a frequent gathering spot.

bed board job board

Nearby Rosita's convenience store had converted their garage into an Internet cafe. There were more than a dozen booths in the garage and still enough room to keep their car in there. Notice the earthquake-produced crack down the center where the floor was heaved up about 5 inches. Sitting in the booths facing the crack, you found yourself leaning back in your tilting chair.

The keyboards were totally beat up and the letters were often erased. If any of you got emails from us there, you may have been wondering about the worse-than-usual typing. Internet access used to be the standard 35 cents per our until Rosita's found themselved deluged by HODR volunteers wanting to keep in touch with home. Then they raised the price by 50%. We wonder what will happen when HODR departs.

Rosita's, aka the Coco Lounge

Residents are sometimes forced to get their water from a truck since the municipal water supply isn't always reliable after the quake. Many people managed to salvage some of their furniture, and it is not uncommon to see families sitting on a couch in what used to be their living room.

water truck 'living room'

There are refugee camps in many places, with tents supplied by the government and relief organizations. In some places you also see small wooden shelters on people's house lots. Many of these were donated and some were purchased. HODR volunteers helped erect some of these.

Security is a concern everywhere you look. This was true even before the quake. Pisco, in particular, was knwon as a rough place. In Peru, every home and business and even many farm fields are surrounded by brick or adobe walls that are topped by jagged glass or barbed wire. Most businesses even have prison-like guard towers on the walls for night time vigilance.

wall wall

With the majority of homes either destroyed or seriously damaged, many displaced families marked contact information on their ruins. (Shades of Katrina.) Crews of HODR volunteers could be seen all around town chipping away at the rubble using picks, shovels, bars, sledges, and wheelbarrows. (How well we all know those items in Spanish!)

Most homes were built with 6x6 cement columns and beams containing steel reinforcing bar. These were really tough to knock down. Too heavy to lift, they had to be broken up with sledges and the rebar cut. We sometimes got help from the residents and even from the kids. There appear to be no child labor regulations there.

One of the more exciting aspects of "rubbling" was when we had to knock down brick walls either by pushing or by pulling with a rope. The resulting schock and the cloud of dust were impressive. It helped us imagine what it must have been like to be in the midst of a two-minute quake, after dark, with walls and ceilings falling everywhere around you. Must have been a living hell.

Here, Lucas scales a wall to collapse it away from an adjoining wall. (Lucas was still alive at the most recent report.)

Occasional diversions from rubbling included cute puppies and the visits from the ice cream vendor. He puts 4 or 5 small scoops of ice cream between two wafers and it only costs 50 centimos (~17 cents). HODR rubblers are shown below at lunch in a "restaurant" after a hard morning of demolition work in the hot sun.

One day, UNICEF sent a huge trailer truck of bookpacks and school supplies without making arrangements to unload it. Nearby HODR rubble teams were called in and got the truck unloaded in a couple hours.

The next day, we set up a production line to sort the materials and pack them in the bookpacks for distribution. We got pretty good at this and the whole truckload was finished in a few days. Later, we were lucky enough to be at the distribution ceremony at an elementary school. These students had never seen so many school supplies in their lives and were thrilled to get the packs.

Sally


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