we made it safely to yalalag yesterday. we left mexico city about midnight and had breakfast in oaxaca city, then drove on to yalalag. its about four hours from oaxaca city, up over some beautiful mountains. we reached about 11000 feet in elevation before going down the other side to 3500 feet.the town is on a hillside over look a huge valleys and mountains all around. our first day here we just settled in. we have all been invited to the neighbors wedding which is a four day event that we will drop in on at various times. yesterday was the pre fiesta day with dozens of women and men cooking and working preparing food at the brides house. they were cooking 130 turkeys and many of their delicious giant tortillas. last night they invited us down for some good champurrado which was chocolate flavored.
this morning the ladies worked here at the armonia guest house which is partially finished. they were painting and cleaning, making curtains, and fixing the place up.the guys went to a construction site where armonia was building a second boarding house for youth that come here to study from 28 different towns and villages. they have to temporarily abandon the construction site because there were some big landslides above it recently and there is a major landslide just waiting to happen. you can see it. fortunately it hasn´t been raining much. if that big slide came down it would take out that construction site and about one fourth of the town.
armonia just purchased a new piece of land in a safe place to build. so today we salvaged all the material and supplies from the old site. we hauled it down a short hill and loaded up a very large transport truck full of all the materials. there were 10 of us visitors and about 20 of the youth that are housed at the current boarding home all working together. we drove the load up to where the road access ends and then unloaded it all.
on monday the real work begins. we have to haul all that material up to the new piece of land, which doesn´t have a road yet. its about a quarter mile, almost straight up hill. first we will have to clear a good path with machetes and make a few switchbacks on the real steep areas.tomorrow we are going to the actual wedding ceremony and then going with all the youth from the school to a river that is about 30 minute hike to have a picnic and pick mangos and get to spend some time getting to know the young people better.the team is doing very well at adapting to the challenges and different way of life here.we will send out another update soon.