Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hospitalera reports

We have reports from Lois in Nájera and also from Helen in Quinta Romano Estrada. 

First from Lois. 

First of all Julie, from Australia, was one of the 4 hospitaleros who we replaced. Julie is also a qql/a trainer in Australia, so Mary and Tom probably know her. It was a very good change over the day before we started and I was sad to see her go. I felt we could have made a great team.
Anna is from Spain and Pascalli is from Italy, and French is our common communication. Language is not an issue but it really helps that Anna speaks Spanish as half of the pilgrims seem to be Spanish.
This is a 90 bed Albergue but so far the most we have had is 65 for the night. The other days were 43, 44, 39. It looks like the numbers could be low again tonight as it is almost 5 pm. It is hot out today so more may be arriving in the next couple of hours due to walking slower from the heat.
We do not prepare meals but there is a kitchen and plenty of restaurants nearby. We are very lucky as we are welcome to eat at one of the restaurants once a day. Yes, the food is good and a bottle of wine and a bottle of water are placed on the table. The kitchen is usually packed with pilgrims making dinner so it’s great to skip out for dinner. Anna and I share a room with bunk beds, and Pascalli has a room of his own.This is day 4 and I find the days long as we begin early in the morning and go till 10. Tonight we had 45 pilgrims.Doors open at 1 pm so before that we do all the cleaning after we have breakfast once the pilgrims have left. We usually finish cleaning around 11. The laundry can taken longer as we hand out real sheets and pillow cases and have to wait for the loads to finish.Then it’s shower time for us and then off to pick up supplies for the Albergue or ourselves for breakfast or lunch items. In my free time I have managed to visit a market, walk about town, and attend a mass for the pilgrims. This weekend we will visit a monastery as someone comes in to clean for us on Saturdays and Sundays- lucky us!
We take shifts at the desk and help out with other things that come up. By 10 and lights out time, the bed is a welcome sight.Every day is a new day and it is great meeting the pilgrims and providing them with a good night’s rest. So far so good 
It’s 10:30 now as the church bell rings once on the half hour. I am lying on my bunk in the dark, cozy in my sleeping bag and feeling settled gor the night.
A suggestion I have is that you arrive a couple of days ahead before coming to the Albergue, so that you give yourself more time to adjust to the new time zone.
Time to sleep now 😴Lois

And then, four days before the end of her service.......

Well here it is, 4 more days till the change over. I can't say time has flown by as days are long with a mixed bag of highs and some challenges. This is a big Albergue with many people so you an imagine anything can happen with a couple of pilgrims showing up with bedbug bites that we address with bagging their backpacks and belongings and leaving them in the sun all afternoon followed by 2 machine washes and then dryer. We also separate the pilgrim a distance from the others. 
Yesterday we had trouble with one of the men’s toilets which had been overflowing. So this morning some men came, along with Jose Luis who is one of the administrators, to clear out the sewage drains and they are just finishing now when we are supposed to open. You an imagine the smell :(
 We have delayed the opening by one hour, to give us time to clean up. I am not in agreement with my fellow hospitalera and hospitslero for the opening hour as I think we should wait a couple of hours for the smell to dissipate at least once the floors are cleaned, etc,. The trouble is they had to open up the floor in the dorm which compounds issues.
 However, I am trying to be patient as the majority is ruling. So my fellow class mates, I took time out and came to this lovely Bar for a good cafe con leche and 2 pinchos, which I am really enjoying in the sunshine and fresh air!

The high today will be attending a concert at the monestery tonight which will be amazing, and another is the fact we don’t have to clean for the next 2 days 😀
I have been in touch with my Canadian replacement and look forward to meeting him and his wife.

I see the necessity of volunteering with a veteran Spanish hidpitslera/o as there have been several issues that came up that needed someone fluent in Spanish.

The suggestions I have for this 90 bed Albergue are: 1-greatly reduce the number of beds,2- separate the beds as most beds are side by side and some female pilgrims have asked to change their beds, and 3- there should be 4 hospitslera/os here to lighten the load. Preferably with 1 team being Canadian 🇨🇦

Time to go now to prepare for the opening. Let’s hope the plumbing stays working. 

Oh yes, before I forget, another high is that the WIFI is back today after yesterday’s power outage/ yahoo!


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