Sunday, October 23, 2005

Alright alright, how’s everybody? Things are going good down here and we’re rockin and rollin right along through October. That stuff I said about being lazy the last time I posted was pretty much fed to me over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working my bug-bitten butt off lately. Two weeks ago my eighth grade class decided to clean up a coffee field for some funds for a yet-to-be-determined project. I offered to help, figuring that it couldn’t be that bad. I was wrong. Seven of at us met up at 6 am for an hour hike to the finca (field) once there everyone sat down to file a few finishing touches on their machetes. Machetes aren’t very thick (between a sixteenth and an eighth of an inch) and they file them back to about a half an inch bevel on each side, meaning that the edge is extremely flat and razor sharp. The coffee finca had rows of coffee plants and in-between the rows it was overgrown with vegetation 3 to 4 feet high. They bend over and using a hooked stick they chop the grass at the level of the ground, basically they shave the dirt. It was really tough getting the hang of the technique (basically I never did, even after a couple of days). We spent the entire day out there and didn’t get home until 5 and I have to teach at 5:30. All in all, a couple of very tough days. All the guys have machete wounds; Elias has one on his index finger from last week that looks like his finger should have came off. It goes almost entirely around it at the first knuckle. Miguel slipped and hit his shin (refer to above about how sharp these things are) it cut through his pants and stopped at the bone. Everyone thought it was funny and were giving him a hard time. And he had to sit there without a grimace and smile back. I did what I could cleaning the wound with some iodine and patched it up with a sterile dressing. He didn’t even blink when I was cleaning it, I guess they make ‘em pretty tough down here. The cool thing about working was on both days we saw deer. Deer are very rare in Honduras and are the national animal, but they also taste good and eat crops so often they are hunted, and overhunted. Honduras doesn’t have a Fish and Game either so there is little management or protection. Well if anyone decides to come to Cruz Alta they can see deer. There is even one who is considered a local pet and loves to eat tortillas, his name is Juansito (little John).
Last Thursday Dawn, another volunteer, came up and we built an improved oven. The traditional ovens are huge adobe mounds that are filled with wood and lit. As soon as the wood heats the oven it is removed and whatever you want to cook is placed inside. They aren’t efficient at all and require tons of firewood. Not good if you are trying to protect the forests and watersheds not to mention the huge amount of work that goes into cutting and splitting wood without chainsaws or mechanization (Thank God most people can’t afford Husqvarnas). Anyway, we built a more efficient stove out of bricks and two barrels (one fits inside the other). It is kind of a pain to explain how it works but basically it makes a convection oven and the heat from the fire cooks the food rather than the residual heat left over in the adobe. It was a lot of fun and was an all day process. There isn’t much in the way of tools floating around and the guys used their machetes for everything, including cutting and shaping bricks.
We also had our first rounds of exams this last week and I’ve got a stack of tests waiting to be graded back at the house. As for now I’m spending the weekend in Santa Rosa de Copan at the Peace Corps house. I even managed to watch the first game of the World Series last night, so those of you thinking that I’m locked away in a mud hut somewhere with no access to the outside world think again. Thank you so much to everyone who’s sent me emails and letters. And to those who haven’t, get on it ( And to anyone watching the news we’ve been getting some hurricanes passing through; Katrina, Stan, and Wilma to name a few. No worries about me, I’m safe up on the mountain but keep the poor in your prayers. I guess there were towns in Guatemala that were completely wiped out, some of them nobody even knew about for a couple of days, also it looks like Yucatan Mexico is getting drilled pretty hard. Well, I’d best skin out. Talk to you soon. Joe


Blogger David said...

Your blog is great If you own a home, I'm sure you'd be interested in Landscape Painting Stop by and visit Landscape Painting

10:15 AM  
Blogger pineconeboy said...

Wow Joe, and I thought I was busy. :P Sounds like things are going well out there in your neck of the woods, which is good to hear. Keep it real dude.


6:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home