Lying in my hammock it’s dark still, and I hear the chime of the singing bowl 20 times. I unzip my tent and check my shoes (which lie underneath, where I left them last night when I climbed in) for bugs before falling out and putting them on. Rambo stirs, and follows me to the path leading down to the shala. I sneak down, the path lit by the light of emerging dawn, and find the shala lit by candle, everyone in the beginnings of their morning meditation, setting the prayer and direction of their practices today. I roll out my mat and join in, wishing for inner balance, clarity, and clear direction. And we are off… Kim has us shaking it all up today. We are doing poses I have never done before, and it feels liberating to do things that stretch my body to its perceived limits with others beside me. It gives me strength to push myself harder (and more gently too).
At breakfast I fill my bowl with cut fruit: nectarine, pear, apple, and banana. We have the tiny bananas today, the ones I love so much. I top it all with the yogurt that Kim and Keren made two days ago, and it feels good to fill my belly with living food. I have a bit of time to sit in the hammock on the edge of the kitchen and slip in a few pages of my book (The Red Tent) before I need to change into my work clothes.
Our task this morning is mixing mortar. The tarp, covered already in subsoil and sand that we collected yesterday, is sitting next to the build site. We take off our shoes, and step in as Kayla pours the water on to make our mud. Mixing in pine needles, soon we are ready to lay bricks. Kim and Marcelo added two beams yesterday, which we will level today and then brick in. We are done by 10:40, and go with Marcos to collect bags of pine needles before lunch.Lunch today is delicious: sage risotto, sautéed leeks, and a beautiful rosy-colored shredded vegetable salad made of beets, carrots, corn, arugula, tomato, and red pepper. We laugh often, and clean our own plates before siesta. During siesta I lay in the hammock and read, my other intern friends nearby.
Before each meal we blow the horn three times to signal everyone. Our dinner consists of leftovers from lunch, as well as a delicious brothy batata soup, and the fresh bread that Sasha made today. We sit down with our plates, link hands (right over, left under) and sit in silent gratitude for our food, our friends, this day, before we squeeze and dig into our food.It gets dark while we eat dinner, and by the end we turn on the light, charged by the solar panels during the day. After dinner we talk about circumcision (both male and female) and then laugh as we chat about random other topics: ‘booch’ that has made Maggie’s tummy feel ‘off’ today (booch is Maggie’s word for kombucha, and it’s possible that she over-did it), foods we like to eat, politics, the food system, music, life at home… We drink herbal teas: roselle, wild sage, or chamomile and enjoy our evening listening to the river running and the chirping insects as we chat. Around 9 we all brush out teeth and head up to our tents to sleep, appreciating the gleaming spider eyes along the way. Rambo comes with me and curls up under my tent as I place a new cup of water there. I kick off my shoes and climb in, hanging my clothes on the rope above me near my feet, curling up on top of my sleeping bag and closing my eyes with a smile and gratitude for the day.