Saturday we break the rules. We have a party. With alcohol. I haven’t organised it, but I’m happy when I find out. We are past the half way point of the project, and as yet, I’m the only one who has even had a beer. The group have proven they are very responsible and willing to do whatever it takes to work well with the community. They deserve a night off.

Charlie has skipped his studies and stayed with us this weekend. I’m not sure if it’s because Seattle is here, or because we are having a party. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those reasons though. If the group is drinking, one of the leaders needs to remain sober in case there is an accident of some description. He volunteers to not drink, and I happily accept.

None of the community are invited to our party. We make our sarongs into screens across the open air garage and set up the table on the other side. The girls make up a ‘punch’ from soft drink, ‘tang’ and vodka, and we begin to get into our costumes. We all have completely inane superhero names. I am ‘need a knife Nina’. I dress in leggings with my undies on the outside. I tape butter knives all over my outfit and tie my long scarf into a cape.

Someone has pencils taped to them. Billy has first aid supplies stuffed down his pants. Someone has blown up gloves strapped to their head in a rooster fashion. Audrey and Penelope have made black zorro style masks from old leggings. Some people have toiletries taped to them, including tampons behind the ears and pads used as ‘wonder woman style’ wrist and ankle bands. It’s a sight that immediately creates hilarity without needing any alcohol.

At the end of the first drink, we already have a sugar high. We pose in the doorway for individual photos, akin to a wacky year 12 formal entrance. The first drinking game is animal poses and progresses quickly to include noises also. Sonia is instantly transformed to the most extreme kind of actress. Every action she makes is so over the top that we are not very successful in keeping up with her. When the next drinking game requires an action for a sex act, she is most definitely the most enthusiastic. And it’s her that adds the noises to every action around the table.

Half way through Charlie and Seattle return. It is clear that Charlie is stoned. When Seattle begins to get very paranoid about being seen by the community, it becomes obvious she is stoned too. Ordinarily I would be very upset. Clearly however I am already intoxicated, because despite thinking that we really need a team leader who is not off their face, I continue drinking.

Kings starts the revealing conversations with ‘never have I ever’ and it quickly degenerates into telling stories rather than drinking games. It’s a much nicer vibe. Of course I am quickly on trial now people have the opportunity to find out more. I try and answer enough questions to ensure they are satisfied, but not so many that I will be uncomfortable in the morning.

Charlie has disappeared for a shower. Half way through our game we are aware of Charlie and Seattle are having a conversation. When I go up to check things out, she is going to the toilet, while he is showering- in the same room. Penelope coaches me not to say anything. It’s just a shock tactic she reminds me. She is looking for attention.

Luckily I also have an escape hatch to the drinking and the conversations. I am on dinner duty. I try reheating food for dinner. Half way through I am interrupted by the interpretative dance being created and performed on the front deck. It’s a ‘dance of the turtles’. I watch as one of the girls writhes around in a mock egg laying. One of them is the leader- dancing around the turtle collecting eggs. The other two are ‘tortugitas’- slowly crawling out of their eggs to the surface of the sand. The leader comes and helps them into the ocean. They dance/swim around in delight.

It has all of us in stitches. I am taking video footage on my camera but there are no lights on the deck and it’s really hard to see.

Shortly after 8, Lucho shows up. By now we are all quite drunk. While I am concerned about him being there, I don’t want to turn him away either. He says the bar is closed and proceeds to sit at our table. I dismiss the suggestion of the sex positions drinking game. That would just be too provocative. It’s simply not appropriate for community members in a developing, mostly catholic, and rural community.

By about 9.30 the party winds down but some of us are still wanting more. Luckliy for us though, everything is closed. EVERYTHING. I can’t believe it’s Saturday night and everything is closed. I don’t understand but figure it’s probably for the better.

Charlie on the other hand- despite saying he would be our responsible person on duty- has been in bed for the last 4 hours.

In the morning we are summoned to Gladys’ house. I’m concerned she knows about our party, but it has nothing to do with the party.

I am not really part of the conversation. Charlie has been invited and takes me along for security. Because of this, I am unsure about my role in the meeting. However like many conversations, what starts as direct feedback, turns into a much broader conversation about the group and the project. But Charlie isn’t translating for me, and they are speaking really fast. I try to catch their attention on a number of occasions but they are on a roll. Being tired, I get progressively more grumpy and start fantasising about just getting up and leaving.

Deciding that would be incredibly unprofessional, I stay. However I continue to be unsuccessful in requesting information. At the end of the conversation he has consented to leading the construction project and to no longer have meetings with the association. I am more than a little angry. And I haven’t even had a conversation about drug use yet.

It seems that the group are suspicious of his behaviour, not being very consultative in his approach and asking for a lot of information… he’s put the group off-side. I could wring his neck- but decide that is probably not helpful for group harmony…..

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