Since I wrote about the night before in last Sunday’s post, I’ll start directly with the morning of April 14, when I rushed to eat, including making myself some salad, finish getting ready and go out the door. Didn’t even have time to take a shit or floss, as I only left around 6:55 AM even so, running most of the way to the metro station, having the train get there quickly, and even so only reaching the parking lot where we had to be before 7:30 AM at 7:25 AM or so. Admittedly, we actually left at 7:38 AM, but if I’d have reached the metro station just a little later, having to wait for the next train, it could have been a problem.
On the bus, the guy who sat next to me introduced himself and tried to start a conversation, but I obviously wasn’t interested, especially since he started by asking what I did for a living. Hearing about what had happened in Syria on the brief 8 AM news at the radio station we could hear on the bus did give me even more of an excuse to just ignore him, as I actually got on-line on my phone for the first time in order to read the articles about this on The Guardian, since I hadn’t checked anything that morning and therefore had no idea about any of it until then. And after that I pretty much just looked out the window, also taking a few pictures, not included in those I posted, those being from the event itself, of trees with all branches cut off completely, and which also seemed to grow a rather odd system of branches when allowed to. No idea what kind of trees those are, but saw a lot of them like that…
Either way, we got there at 9:25 AM, were offered a sandwich as breakfast, watched as each team leader explained, and showed, what to do, and then went to our designated areas. Or, more exactly, in case of the team I was in, we first went to the wrong area, the sign there being of a color that was close to ours but apparently not the same, and then finally found the right one. It’s possible that I had something to do with that mistake, since I had wandered around a little after getting there, trying to see where we’ll have to go, and spotted that sign but not the other one, so when the team leader was wondering where we had to go I said out loud where I thought our area was and, while I’m not sure he heard or cared, possibly simply meaning to start looking from one end, he headed that way.
We were supposed to work in teams of two, one digging and another planting, and that guy from the bus asked directly which one of us will dig, taking the fact that we’ll be a team as a given. However, once we started working I looked around and spotted the girl who had sat in front of us struggling on her own, so I quickly walked to her and told her she could join us and make a team of three if she was left without one, and she did just that, at first all three of us taking turns, since we started with the row right next to the road at the top of the area and the ground there was very hard. After that, the two of them ended up working separately while I moved between them to help, but quickly ended up helping her more.
After the guy ended up struggling to plant a tree on his own before I noticed, saying he called after me but I didn’t seem to hear when I asked why he was doing that when I was there, he ended up moving away, I guess working separately at one point and eventually taking a long break starting around noon, according to what he said when I found him again later. He had also brought a tree he wanted to plant there, being allowed to do so, and a bunch of seeds, which he wasn’t allowed to plant as well, which fact seemed to dishearten him quite a lot. But what did he expect? We were there to plant certain trees in a certain way, according to a plan made according to the needs of the area, not for him to create his own orchard!
Some time before the lunch break, which started at 1 PM, there didn’t seem to be anything left to do in our area and the team leader said we’ll go help others when I asked him what happens next, me and the girl also ending up working separately for a bit after that. I helped another woman I saw struggling on her own, went away again, dug and planted a tree on my own, found my teammate and helped her again a bit, the order of these things no longer being quite clear in my mind, and eventually went down to the tents to grab a bottle of water, which I drank on the spot. Then grabbed two more, to bring to my teammates as well, handing the girl one but ending up keeping the one I meant to give the guy, since when I went back to him as he was just standing at the top of the area, I saw he already had one he had just opened then. Since I didn’t drink again, eventually ended up bringing that bottle all the way back with me.
Then we were given lunch, and while my teammates went together and stayed together, appearing to be getting along quite well when I heard them talking, both before and after, I just found a spot at a table and ate there quietly, finding them again after I was done. They had chosen to just sit on the ground, at the bottom of the area we were planting trees on, along with plenty of others who didn’t use the tables, and the guy did mention that I had abandoned them then, but I pretty much just ignored that and simply sat next to them as they continued to talk, until the break was over and we were told that the area next to the tents was the last one left to work on. And since all of us were there and we were clearly going to finish quickly, the organizers didn’t even wait for us to do so, starting to call people one by one to get their certificates for participating in the event.
Some did stay around there for that, to be there when their name was called, but I actually even left my teammates yet again after planting I think just a couple of trees at the bottom of the area together, instead walking to the top to find whether any spots had been missed and planting a second tree on my own when I did so. Was actually still working on that when my name was called, so I stopped and went down, having to look for my certificate in two stacks until I found it, since the person who was searching for those for volunteers who weren’t there right when their name was called said he couldn’t find it even though it had been called likely less than a minute before I arrived. But I got it eventually, then went back to finish planting my tree, and by the time I was done there didn’t seem to be any spot that somebody else wasn’t at least working on, so I more or less wandered around a little longer, until we were told to get ready to leave. And we left there at 3:15 PM, getting back to that parking lot at 4:55 PM, with me spending most of the time in between filming the towns and villages we were passing through.
One problem I had as a result of that day was that I got badly sunburned. My ears and the sides of my face were affected as well, but the real issue was the back of my neck. Only really noticed when I was sitting next to my teammates at the end of the lunch break, and turned my cap around to try to protect that area a little after that point, then also tried to protect it a little with my hand while on the bus, on the way back, but the damage was already done and it was stinging badly. Let some cold water flow on that area as soon as I got back here, then tried not to touch it until I actually showered later, wondering how was I going to sleep with it like that. But by the time I went to sleep that morning, the stinging had lessened enough to allow me to do that, at least while I was careful to just gently put my head on the pillow and not move until I fell asleep.
That wasn’t the only problem though, the other being that my boots didn’t last. It would seem that the guy dad took them to in order to have them repaired only glued the front part of the bottoms back, even though if that was coming loose it should have been pretty clear that the glue was failing everywhere. So the back part of both was starting to come loose as I was running to the metro station in the morning, and only got worse as I was working. The left one wasn’t quite so bad, the heel being loose but the rest, what that guy did, seeming to hold on just fine, so there didn’t seem to be any danger of it all falling off, but the right one was just getting worse over the course of the day, only an area at the front still holding by the end, making me search for some of the discarded plastic “ropes” used to tie saplings together and do my best to tie the part coming loose, so I won’t lose it completely. The guy actually made a comment about his own boots likely being too good to be used for such activities as we were sitting there at the end of the lunch break, probably trying to figure out how to ask about mine, and I said I had “technical difficulties” with mine, which had been glued together and were falling apart. But at least they didn’t fall apart completely.