Adobe, bread and raggae
volunteering en la casa de barro de Cesar
After six days in Buenos Aires it was time to move on, this time to the countryside. We went southwards by bus (most common and cheapest way to travel in Argentina - 3 hours of busride for 86 pesos = less than 6€) to a very special place close to a small Village called Veronica, very far away from Babylon - el casa de barro de Cesar.
If there are any true hippies remaining, Cesar is definitely one of them. 10 years ago he left his job, flat and basically his whole life in Buenos Aires to buy a very beautiful piece of ground in the middle of nowhere where he lives with his dogs Toto, Gala and his cat Franka. Since then he and different volunteers are constantly building on his adobe constructions, selling bread and listening to reggae music. He already built up a very cozy house with 2 rooms, kitchen and bathroom, a big oven to prepare bread and vegetables and a greenhouse. Currently he's working on a second house for more volunteers or guests and an outdoor toilet.
In total we spent almost a month at Cesars place. We were working for food and accommodation and also spent a lot of our free time together. Usually our day started at 6.00 with preparing the bread. Every day we used 3kg of flour, oil, yeast, sunflower and linseeds to prepare around 8 - 9 breads, meanwhile breakfast and of course mate. After the bread was done, we started to walk through the neighborhood to sell it. Afterwards we usually hitchhiked or took the bus to „el pueblo“ how the neighbors use to call the small town, to sell the rest and did the shopping for the day. From around 13.00 till 17.00 is the siesta, which means that you have to be fast enough, before everything will close and no cars are going back.
The busses where only going 4 times a day so basically when we were moving somewhere, we were always hitchhiking. This way of traveling went way more easy than excepted, the people around Veronica are extremely helpful and kind. After 2 weeks people got used to us and frequently stopped to ask if we need a ride or if we would sell them some bread, which made the work way easier.
On a regular day we came back around 13.00 when Cesar already prepared the lunch. The nutrition was mainly based on vegetables, rice, mushrooms, honey and of course bread, from time to time we traded some bread with the neighbors to get some eggs or cheese.
After the siesta we usually collected materials for mixing adobe or firewood or did some gardening, like preparing compost or watering the trees and plants. Most of the time we spent to continue building the adobe constructions. For that we mixed the adobe, which we got from the ground with sand, water and hay. The whole process of mixing takes around one hour, the paste needs to be really thick but not to dry. Afterwards we formed bricks of the mixture, watered the already dry wall and added one layer above the other. Afterwards its necessary connect the „bricks“. The easiest way is to do this with your hands and if necessary with additional water.
For a room or a whole house, you start with a wood construction. Basically one pole for each corner and some connections to hold everything together. Then between the poles follows the adobe. To save some material and let some light in the room its really common to use glass bottles in the construction. All the windows and doors where presents from neighbors or friends. Afterwards follows the roof, a simple construction out of wood painted with a mix of oil and gasoline (against rain and termites) covered by a layer of foil and corrugated sheets. After the walls are standing its necessary to plaster them with a mixture of adobe, sand, water and horse dung, with a scraper and lots of water its possible to create a very even and waterproof wall. Because of the rain and constant sunshine its important to refresh the adobe walls after some years.
In total the work was really alright, sometimes a little hard but we really enjoyed our stay with Cesar. thanks for that mate!
In our free time we where practicing tai chi, or relaxed in punta indio, a small touristic place at the Río de la Plata and enjoyed some der Mond, the local beer from Veronica together.
Apparently our stay in Veronica was so interesting that even the local newspaper "el colon" published an article about us and our travel through South America:
For more information about Cesar and his project see: http://www.teshuvanatural.blogspot.com and https://www.workaway.info/396168324374-en.html.
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