October 7, 2006
Started the day early, we met together at the bed and breakfast where the crew is staying. We took two trucks out to the site. Unfortunately Prof Hedlin and I discovered ours had a flat and the others all had left in the other truck, together with the radios. Nothing was open in town so we sat on a curb till a truck with a "Lugar" (taxi) sign came by. We got a lift out to Calheta, a small town North of Vila do Maio where we are staying. We sat in the back of the truck with a fisherman, his catch and a young boy who came into town to get bread.
That left us with about 4 km to walk to the site; fortunately I had water with me. There were only two sites left to construct and the hired work crew was there. We cleared brush, tightened pipes and laid pipe out with the inlets. By the time two sites had been nearly finished it was lunch again at the Italian restaurant. It appears six months ago Maio was invaded by the Italians. They are buying small lots and constructing fine homes. As a business you can skirt an import tax. Lunch was about 1400ES, a fish Mariana on pasta followed by more food including potato pancakes with ham and grilled tuna. It was a lot of food! And we are invited for dinner at the bed and breakfast. On the way back we pick up local hitchhikers, Prof Hedlin wants to make sure we adopt island customs and foster a positive impression of trust and honesty to the community. In the afternoon we drive around the array a bit lost and help set-up enclosures for the electronics, this includes a mast for the antenna and solar cells. I help as I can but four guys can handle it fine so I take pictures this time around.
It is dark and we head back at 7 pm. At the Marilu I shower, change and wash my clothes. I head to dinner, the bed and breakfast home has an outdoor veranda on the roof, very Italian. John and Irma are our hosts. The guests include two Peace Corps volunteers who have devoted two years of their lives to Maio. They must live as closely as possible to local wages and standards. Stefanie teaches English at the high school and Julie is starting a women's self-help initiative. She hopes the basket's woven here will attract a loan to empower these women. They are very talkative and delighted to have more English speakers. They are each quite fluent in the native language. On Sundays everyone rests from their 12 hour work days. I am still pretty fresh so taking a break really isn't in me. Monday should bring an inspector from Vienna. Prof Hedlin has never built an array so fast. Today he remarked that the site is nearly done! Well, 12 pm now, oh, the dinner was goat, my first. It was a baby goat, and more pasta.