Saturday, March 04, 2006

Beneath this hot, hot sky I measure time in bottles of multivitamins, 100 days a pop (I’m on my third bottle, about four to go). I woke up last week surprised that I’d grown a beard, then not so surprised because I can’t remember the last time I shaved. I looked in my little mirror and there was an Allman Brother staring back at me, “seven turns on the highway,” he said. “Seven rivers to cross\ sometimes you feel like you could fly away\ sometimes you get lost.”
This is it, approaching the end of the coffee season. School started this week for elementary students and I’m looking to start my classes as soon as possible. I’m doing a pen pal program with one of my former classmates and I also started that this week (thanks Katie). My ninth graders still haven’t received their certificates for the completion of the eighth grade (I submitted them in December) and won’t start classes until they get one. I love teaching down here, it is the highlight of my service for sure but damn, I hate the administrative side of things. Bless all you teachers and educational employees out there, I finally understand, but you guys should try walking three or four miles and hitchhiking a few hours to meet with your school board or PTA. We’ve also been having some coffee workshops and are in the process (a huge process mind you) of starting a cooperative to help people earn a little more for guarding the quality of their product. Also to help make things a little more ecological and efficient. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me as we’re just beginning.
Things have been going well lately; last week was the big fair in La Campa. Jamie and I hitched a ride out there with the new mayor. He was hauling a truckload of beer into his “dry” community, I don’t know where he got a hold of it but it was imported from Israel. I basically hiked back and forth between Cruz Alta and La Campa every day. The fair was a mix of a Catholic Saint’s celebration and a huge street bizarre. One day I hiked down a steep trail called “que pata” with Elias. Man, this trail was a brute, it was gorgeous with the canopy overhead and you have to cross streams and shallow canyons. But at the bottom of the trail, nearly to La Campa, you’ve got to descend across some really steep, sometimes vertical rock faces. Footholds for the trail are cut right out of the rock. Elias was carrying Javier, his one year old son in a carrier on his chest and pretty nervous about the whole thing. I hate heights and I was pretty nervous about the whole thing too but we made it down anyway. At the fair there were thousands of people buying and selling and just watching. La Campa is normally a very tranquilo town, not much going on, and two or three buses a day coming and going. I normally have to wait over an hour just to hitch a ride out of there. During this week there were busses full of people (four to a seat and then standing in the isles) coming and going every 15 minutes all day and all night. There was even a rodeo and they were supposed to have a cockfight but it fell through due to poor attendance (I sure as heck was there).
Elias and I went up to the rodeo grounds in the afternoon and sat watching everyone around us get absolutely ripped off of warm Maccabee (the Israeli beer). Probably the most respected member of my town could barely stand. He was pounding beers and then chucking the empty bottles across the crowd. He came about 4 inches away from tagging the guy sitting in the seat in front of me. Later that night we heard that he’d passed out in the street. Elias and I went looking for him but couldn’t find him. The town set up a drunk tank for the fair and hired some guys to serve as security so we checked out the jail and he wasn’t there either. I heard later that he had passed out in the street and his really expensive glasses, money, and pistol that he carries were taken off of him. He didn’t really learn his lesson and was at it again the next morning, he offered me a warm beer at about 10 in the morning and I had to turn him down. Alcohol abuse made a pretty obvious contribution to this fair. Every day, all day people were passed out everywhere, on every street, sidewalk and bench. I have about a 3 or 4 mile hike back to my house and there was somebody assed out about every hundred yards, sometimes piled on top of each other.
The rodeo was kind of lame too, especially after the cockfight didn’t happen, I was really looking forward to that one. The bullriders included, among other “ranked” competitors, the Honduran national champion. Nobody lasted longer than two seconds and the bulls bucked a little harder than dairy cows. Sometimes they let people out of the crowd ride them. Jamie and I are talking about trying it out in July during the Lempira days in Gracias. I rode a mechanical one in Ruidoso, New Mexico once, how hard could it be right?
There were some bad things going on during the fair but it was a good time hanging out with friends from my community and seeing a little action in a sleepy little town, even if it is bad action. I had the worst pickpocket ever try and steal my money. I walked into a church courtyard behind Elias and as soon as he crossed the threshold three guys stepped in front of me and tried to push past me. Two guys were really pushing hard while the other one slipped his hand all the way into my left front pocket. Luckily there was only 20 lemps in there (about a dollar) and he didn’t get that. I pushed him off and felt like hitting him but didn’t it wasn’t worth it and I’m pretty sure he was drunk and I didn’t feel like going to jail. And this is about peace and good examples anyway.
My folks will be here in less than three weeks and I’m very excited about that. I’ve been talking to my townspeople about new projects and it will probably be a little hard to get away but oh well, gonna have a blast. Also I made an impulsive decision and bought a ticket to Chicago for Easter week, tickets were really cheap and there wasn’t really any reason not to. Also am trying to figure out my trip back to Idaho in June for my buddy’s wedding (I’m one of the last single guys in my circle, Stand firm Trav), so I hope to see as many of you folks as possible and you can each buy me a steak and a beer. Alright cheers from the south and will see all of you soon. joe


Post a Comment

<< Home