​**This is from yesterday, but I literally fell asleep writing it.

THE ROBOT WORKS!!! This is BEYOND exciting news!! To sum it up really quickly, Tony got the idea that Debbie and I should teach a robotics class, and we gave in slightly and agreed to do one robot project in our class. We found an instructable online that doesn’t require any programming (because that makes things WAY more complicated) and decided that was going to be our project. We brought the motors, wires, switches, and battery holders from the States, figuring that the rest of the parts would be easy to find in Peru.

Meet Buzz the Bot!

That was a bit of a mistake… We have managed to find the essential parts and pieces, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. We eventually tracked down a soldering iron, flux, and solder, but then we found out that the solder was too thick. Debbie bought some thinner solder this morning, and that has made all the difference. We also bought sheet metal here, which they didn’t have at the two big hardware stores we shop at, so instead we were directed all over Chilca to this construction supply warehouse where we bought a piece of sheet metal that is at least 20 times bigger than what we need.
Anyway, everything finally came together today, and we finished assembling our robot! We were having soldering issues which were quickly resolved after buying thinner solder. Now it works!! And thank goodness for that because I wouldn’t know what to do to troubleshoot if it hadn’t. The basic description of the robot is that it goes straight, and when it runs into something, it turns itself and keeps going. AND OURS ACTUALLY DOES THAT!! (You can watch a video of it on my Instagram @larakaiserian… If you’re on a computer, there’s a link on the right sidebar. The internet is too slow to directly upload it here.) Debbie and I are ecstatic, even though we still have some logistics to figure out, because we didn’t have a backup plan. No problem though because it worked!!

Shopping in Chilca

The rest of the day was pretty cool too. This morning, the team went into Chilca, got split up into groups of two or three, and had a shopping list of items that they needed to find. All of the Spanish speakers (myself included actually) were assigned to groups and told not to intervene unless someone was in desperate need of assistance. It’s a valuable exercise because it helps to give the group an idea of what it’s like to be in a situation where you’re completely out of your element and trying to figure things out without speaking the language. It definitely required some creativity (and charades skills) and confidence to go up to people and sound like an idiot while trying to find your things. If anything, the whole exercise made me realize that I know a lot more Spanish than I thought. I would have easily been able to ask shopkeepers about the things on our list. The groups all did well, and I was impressed with how willing they were to just go for it.

Tonight’s sunset

The afternoon was filled with more vinifan-ing notebooks. I’m getting good at it and have my pace down to a science. In about four hours this afternoon, I wrapped 15 notebooks that needed paper and plastic coverings and 10 that only needed plastic. That means, I did 40 wraps in 4 hours, 10 wraps each hour, or 1 wrap every 6 minutes. I had previously estimated my pace at 5 minutes per wrap, and I think that might still be correct because I probably spent about 10 minutes per hour doing other things like helping people, organizing notebooks, cutting paper and plastic in bulk for everyone to use, etc. Exciting because I now know my exact pace… discouraging because at that rate, it would take me close to one eternity to finish all of the notebooks… hopeful because the team is still here, and anything they get done is less for me to do. In conclusion, sometimes it might be better to know less.

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