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Sorry yet again guys. It looks like this might be the what the blog updates are like...... Nothing for you for ages then 2-3 in quick succession when I get a chance to update you.

Well first the great news. We are now registered for Gift Aid and are hoping to join Just Giving in the near future. What I have found out is, Just Giving charge charities £18 per month to use their site as well as 5% from all donations. At the moment this is prohibitive for us so I have asked them to put it on hold until we have regular fundraisers across the country.
The start of July started nice and gently as I settled into my new accommodation and got ready for the next 3 months here.
Life is a bit tougher here in Ccatan (and Peru) so missing some creature comforts like heating, hot water through the taps, easy to make meals, a microwave. My evening meals are fairly similar – usually omlette, tuna pasta, cheesy potatoes or a vegetable stir fry, with the limited choice of prods here in Urubamba unless you eat out...or maybe it’s just me! I do eat a lot of fruit though. Cereals (as in off the shelf and ready to eat cereals) don’t really exist here. I have found Corn Flakes made by Nestle but I usually eat granola with fruit and yoghurt in the morning. Yoghurt and milk are mostly UHT. You can buy fresh stuff in one outlet quite far away but there is no tuberculosis testing here I am told so will stick to UHT. From where I now stay Urubamba and the shops are an hour round trip on foot as not many moto taxis pass here. Most actually don’t know where Ccatan is so you have to give them directions as they drive. Some nights I can't be bothered cooking so just have a sandwich. That might explain the loss of weight.  Some of the clothes I brought out look ridiculous but have had some real success in the charity shops with 2 pairs of jeans costing me a total of 28 solis..about £7.50 and some T shirts – one was from Gap, each costing £1!! I’m quite chuffed with my finds, actually.  I have treated myself to some new stuff too when I was in Cusco which is an hour away in the collectivo taxis. Every time you get in these taxis mind you, you have to say a little prayer ....to please get me there in one piece..... as the driving really has to be seen to be believed. If possible I try not to watch!! This is usually when I practice my Spanish vocabulary. The scenery though all along the hour route to Cusco (and where I am now staying) is absolutely stunning. After the freak weather last month snow is still lingering on the mountains giving the landscape an even more spectacular look. In my new place regular running water would be nice. We have had no water through the day most days now. I also had a problem again with what I now think were fleas biting me. I eventually decided it was the lovely little black cat that lives here. I have had to ban it from sitting on me. I also reckon who last had my top quilt allowed the cat to sleep on it so I have now sprayed it with flea spray and all seems to be much better..no new bites for 5 days now...yey!!  Despite these things I am really enjoying Peru and have loads to do. The real plus for me in Ccatan is the quiet. You can hear the distant noises of Urubamba but generally it is just wonderfully peaceful. Everyone here is very laid back and kinda hippie like so suits me fine.  I’m also only 5 minutes from the office which is very handy; and 10 minutes more I am in the mountains so have started climbing again 3 times a week to some beautiful ruins that are there. Over a week or two I have also bought some nice pillows, blankets and a mirror to make the room feel more mine and homely.
In this wonderful place I am also finding out more about myself and that feels really good.
The weather, after the freak 5 day rain here and snow in the mountains, seems to have settled. The mornings are very cold but by 10.30-11am the sun is really hot now...too hot to sunbathe you understand (not that there is time for much of that) ..but very pleasant in the shade especially for working. We are passed the shortest day here..obviously being in the southern hemisphere everything is reversed..so the weather is improving. August is typically very windy I have been informed and already we are feeling the change so let’s see what August has to offer.

In Living Heart we are a small team but have some great ideas; so with my manager's hat on we had a 9 hour meeting which included an afternoon of prioritising all the ideas and things that have slipped by the wayside. Does this all sound familiar to all my readers who know me..I can hear the groan from you..all the way across here in Peru.  When I arrived here I knew this was where I was supposed to be at this time....weird I know, but true.  Jess and I are now working through some of this list. The first week was really big for us and we have certainly made good headway into it. Illness is still dogging a number of the team..not me so much... fortunately. My cold and cough of a month is finally easing up. Jess has discovered she has resistant Salmonella and they are giving her nightly antibiotics via an i.v. injection...can’t blame her not wanting to go into hospital. James and his girlfriend seem to have gone from one illness to the next over the last month finishing with flu for a fortnight. Hopefully all are now making a full recovery. James has only 3 weeks left before he returns to England on 16th August.
Jess and I do have to stay focussed as at the end of the following week – Saturday 6th August; Rita, Jess and I will accompany the volunteer doctors from the US to 3 different communities. ..that sounds fine I hear you say. Well actually it is 5 days on the trot of 12 hour days...Help!! In 2 of the communities we will sleep in the schools because they are too remote to travel back from. We are hoping the track, to one of the communities in particular, is reasonably passable for our minibus (as there are 12 of us including the volunteers 4 children). On the other two nights I will travel back to Ccatan so I will only get about 4-5 hours sleep before getting back up again. It should be really interesting though. I will definitely have my pharmacist hat on and have already sorted out suitable drugs from the donations that we can take to supplement the medicines they are already bringing. With the extra work requiring attention in Living Heart office, Sonia has agreed to employ a temporary administrator which will make a big difference and allow Jess and I to work on fundraising etc. We do need to get more cash in pronto to support next year until we can get regular fundraising put into place. First to support the communities we are already in but new money will allow us to offer our services to new communities and push on with our greenhouse projects making the communities more self sufficient in vegetables.
All in all I am really enjoying getting back into a routine and regular work as much as is possible here. You do have to go with the flow when something crops up and as a dear friend wrote to me recently:

Catch the moments as they fly and use them as ye ought as Rabbie Burns wisely said

That feels so apt to what I am now doing and taking all the opportunities that arise.

Posted by Heather Buc 07:15

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