A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And The Soccer Begins

Practice for our two younger teams has begun in earnest. Much, methinks, to the chagrin of our coach Johnny. The kids have known fo quite some time that league play begins in March and between Johnny and myself we had decided we would begin practicing in the first week of February. The players had other plans though and at the beginning of last week they began showing up at Johnny's door in droves begging him to commence training. He reluctantly agreed and so we are off. It's fun to watch the way he organizes nearly 50 children into groups and is able to work with them over the course of 2 & 1/2 hours. It's no easy task, there are about 10-15 tiny children that aren't even eligible for Kindergarten let alone the 9-12 team, that show up to practice religously in the desire to be a part of the team, and Johnny works with them. The older kids from the two older teams have begun showing up too because their coach Leo only began practices yesterday...and Johnny worked with them too. Life is chaos, random and free like the wind here in Los Laureles and to see something so organized, so intricate and running so perfectly strikes me as incongruous and out-of-place; yet it puts a huge smile on my face. I feel like we're at the beginning of something huge and successful.

johnny ringed my about 30 kids and holding their attention perfectly

a dash for the ball

but without touching it
don't ask me the purpose of this drill

don't know what to say here
i like duke's hat?

i got distracted by this
he's riding towards treacherous terrain

duke and cristian running laps

late for practice

ok, so then i took notice of this
remember this used to be a green pace that they filled in with a mountain of garbage
it used to be level with the current field
they're supposed to me making it into a huge soccer field
when it will happen i'm not sure
that's open garbage there below that came uncovered during the recent rainstorms

so after all that i turned my camera around and saw lauro
he just cut his hair and didn't want to be seen
why he chose to cover his head with his shirt and traipse around the community like a fool instead of hidding under his bed is beyond me
and there was juan carlos who has become bff's with little keiser
neither juan nor lauro have any interest in playing soccer this year

they're so in tune

i turned back around then and decided to get all sorts of artsy
close up shot of a fence post/all blury in the background

artsy in a communist/workers unite sort of way

marvin...not at all artsy

lauro decides to show his face

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Gringo Is In

My bedroom window has become something akin to Lucy Van Pelt's "Psychiatric Help Booth" excepting of course that I don't charge for the dispensation of advice. People just pop around back the house at all hours and appear in my bedroom window; it can be a bit frightening at times. They stop to chat, to ask for things, to ask for advice, to offer me coffee in the early morning...
...or in the case of Juan Carlos and Lauro, to simply stare at me.

Chita Turns 9

chita has become an absolute joy to be around these past 6 months. he helps me round kids up for church, he's always quick with a smile and he always looks out for me...in the little ways. i understand why konrad took such a liking to him.
h.b. chita.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Free-Wheelin' Friday Evening

La Ceiba gots 'em some go-carts. They're new, at least I think they are, they're new to me anyways. This past Friday night I gathered a group of 5 kids and myself and off we went to the races. We discovered that Manuel and Sergio are fast but safe drivers, Chihua is reckless and dangerous, Cristian just wrecks a lot and Duke drives slower than my Grandmother and not very well either. We're going to try and set up a tournament next time. After the go-carts we got pizza and ate it on the beach, it was a tranquil end to a long, hot week.
this is the best photo i came up with. the others are just streaks and blurs. and who is this? duke. and who drives so slow that my camera can catch him? duke. hmmm. shirley, it looks like i've found you a travel buddy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Career Day in Laureles

Yesterday Belinda from church, a psychologist and the director of the Peace & Justice Project invited my potential high schoolers to participate in test to help them identify their strengths, talents, likes and potential career options. The kids weren't exactly thrilled about sitting through a 2 hour lecture and test but helping them focus their studies and getting them to think long-term about their future is invaluable. Today we get the results. What really struck me is how little they think of themselves - on the last page they were asked to rate their abilities and skill level in 7 areas. Many of them from Manuel on down put themselves at a 1 or a 2 out of 7 in all 7 categories. This isn't false humility, they really feel like they don't have talents apart from soccer.
all 9 boys crowded around the table


the 4 girls took a more relaxed and intelligent approach

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wash Day

I got a dog, which has nothing to do with doing the wash...except now that I write that, it does. I feel like every 10 minutes I'm wiping up paw prints, cleaning up little gifts left for me by the dog, wiping up footprints left by children wanting to see the dog. Cleaning, which was an obsession thanks to my OCD tendencies has become my life. I cannot keep this pace up for much longer. So the dog, I named it Keiser. I love hearing my bold, German surname shouted from the hilltops here Los Laureles. I know, it's a bit arrogant and self-centered but what can I say, I'm a Keiser...turns out the dog is too. This morning Manuel was awakened by little Keiser and after gathering his wits he suggested we go to the river to clean the car...it's been badly needing a good wash since before Christmas. In that I had nothing much planned for the day I agreed and off we went to the mouth of the river where we spent the better part of the morning washing the car, washing ourselves and keeping my little German Shepherd Dog away from the tick-infested undergrowth. It was a lovely morning.

keiser absolutely loves manuel, cristian she could take or leave

down at the river

we brought juan carlos and gave him the task of washing the floor mats

ever, that's his name, ever

cristian

juan carlos again

chihua, playing with the sand and not doing much in the way of washing. he's been drifting away a bit lately, towards the older boys, i'm starting to worry for him.

manuel took control as if it were his car, he left me with little to do in the way of work

the apple of my eye

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Rains Came Down & The Floods Came Up...

I've always loved to check out rivers and streams after major rainstorms and today was no exception. After enrolling half of my kids in high school this morning we took a pause on the bridge that takes us back to Los Laureles to take in the view. Water is awesome!

the normally tranquil, blue-green waters of the rio cangrejal

that rapid area is a massive rock where we like to sun-bathe and dive from

this area is usually all rock and beach

that area in the distance is never covered by water, i've only ever seen the water this high one other time.

the poor people of the river community taking stock of the rising waters

our troop of high schoolers taking in the sight

my ever-present companion manuel

the one girl in today's outing, the furious nodi

thankfully no one jumped

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Rainy Day in Paradise

It's been raining torrentially for the past 14 hours without pause and so Manuel, Cristian & I spent the day playing cards, playing Wii, playing music and talking. Funny how rain, real heavy, torrential rain takes away all the guilt of staying indoors and doing absolutely nothing productive.
it also makes coffee that much more enjoyable

that's la ceiba in the distant haze and rain

that crack between the two walls brings the natural water flow down to my house

it was built that way on purpose, otherwise the water would have no where to go and it would eventually take my wall with it

with this rain though it brought with it mud

lots of it

our soccer field

at least it was supposed to be

with the rain it's exposed for what it is...

a landfill that washes down into the community

juan carlos staying dry

with the exposed landfill the garbage scourers take adavantage

a bit of sun on my landing yesterday

my very own banana tree

a quick nap between rainstorms

away from annoying children

pancha brought me lunch yesterday because she knew i was a bit under the weather

with the rain comes the wii