Adventure in Ecuador: How to fix a shoe under pressure
They were horrified! What could they do? How would Maria compete without any shoes? Tears were starting to form in her eyes. She feared her dreams would be ended right there!
“We have to fix it” Mira told Teyus who was now looking at two pieces of a shoe.
While Teyus had fixed many things, he had never had to deal with something as important as this! He looked at the shoe and turned it around and around. There was no way the heel could be fixed as it was badly splintered. A new heel would have to be created. But from where?
“The clay” suggested Hari as he removed the bottle he had been given by Leonardo Da Vinci in Italy. “We can sculpt a heel from the clay.”
“But how will it dry? We have barely a few minutes!” said Teyus with apprehension. “You need heat and dry air to harden clay, and Quito has almost 100% humidity!”
Mira was tampering with an appliance of some kind trying to come up with a solution. She nodded to her cousin and shrugged her shoulders. There was no other option. This had to work.
Teyus had taken the clay out of the jar and fashioned a heel that would fit exactly where the old one had broken. He used his scissors on the multi purpose knife to remove the nails from the existing heel and gently pushed the still-soft clay of the new heel into the shoe. He fastened the new heel to the shoe with the same nail. This was all he could do.
In the meantime, Mira had been trying to fix something inside a large metal container she had found. With a skeptical look, Teyus gently passed the shoe to her.
“Alright! Let’s see if this works!” Mira said. She placed an electric heater inside the metal box and turned it on. They could feel hot air blowing! Gently, she placed the heel inside the box and shut it. “The dry heat from the electric heater will create a hot box effect and dry the clay faster” she explained. She then added, “I hope!”
One by one, the contestants went on stage to perform and soon Maria’s name was called. Everyone froze. Just FROZE. Would the shoe work?
Carefully, Mira removed it from the “hot box”. Everyone fell silent. Mira tested the heel. It worked! The clay had hardened and the shoe was as good as new! Maria put it on her foot and walked on the stage to perform. She was splendid.
Every competitor wanted to win. There was so much anticipation. The judges tallied their scores and finally, the announcement was made. “Reina de Quito for 1996 is Maria”. Oh! There were hugs and kisses all around. Maria hugged the travellers, thanked them and then went on stage to receive her beautiful crown.
“Haven’t we seen the symbol on her crown somewhere?” asked Teyus.
“Yes! It is on the box we got from Da Vinci!” whispered back Hari in a nervous tone, wondering what would happen now.
Just then, there was a loud noise and everyone ran to see what was happening. “The Bullfight!” people started to shout with excitement.