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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perks of the Job

one of the nice things about having children around 24 hours a day is that you can get them to do practically anything for you.
like hand-grind your morning coffee for you.

anuar's really enjoying himself.
i swear.
and with a shout out to carl fisher and his alabaster coffee shop in williamsport, pa.
no one here likes your coffee but that's fine by me, i love it and there's more for me to drink.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting Back To Life

So I noticed the other day that I've practically stopped taking photos recently...I'm not sure what that's all about but Sr. Nikon and I are going to have a chat here soon if he doesn't get back on the job. I don't have him here for nothing afterall. Life here has been a bit tricky as of late though - people keep popping up or cutting out and I have to haul water. Which doesn't leave time for a lot of snapshotting. Water, for those of you that haven't had Earth Science yet, is the basis for all life here on earth, we need it in order to survive. Most civilized communities around the world have made it a priority to build their communities and orient their lives around reliable and steady sources of potable water. Those peoples that have decided to be real devil-may-care types, culturally speaking, and set up shop in the middle of a desert or a fountless island, have had to get creative and truck their source of life in from other regions...but they're resourceful and smart and have managed to prosper. We here in La Ceiba though are not smart or resourceful or terribly far-sighted as we have decided that our aquifier should be a shriveling river that runs dry about 3/4ths of the way through the dry season and that we should let people cut down the forest around that river so that it goes good and dry and that there is no hope for it actually serving its purpose. Thus sometimes La Ceiba, all of La Ceiba goes for days on end without a steady stream of water, sometimes certain neighborhoods get a trickle at 10:00 pm or 4:00am and then magically it will come back on, full-force and then disappear. Water is so fickle here. This of course is during the worst of it and very often Ceibans have their 24/7 water, though the pressure is nothing to speak of. Los Laureles is a different story - we've not been allowed to hook up to the city water, instead we get a single pipe that fills a tank that is supposed to water an entire community. Theoretically each home should get 24 hours of water every other day. Practically we get an hour of water every 7-9 days. When that hour comes we fill up our outdoor sink, two barrels and 4 buckets that we have here at the house and when it runs out we either haul water from the river or from a lady who has a special 24/7 hook-up; each day then we have to set aside about 2 hours so we can haul sufficient water to supply our home. Most people here though aren't even that fortunate and so when their water runs out they have to walk to the river to do all of their washing/bathing/cleaning. In the dry season life here in Laureles revolves around finding more water. So that's it, that's why I don't have any new pictures; poor lack of planning on the part of Standard Fruit Company, the City of La Ceiba and the land-grabbing campesinos who've never seen a forest that they just couldn't wait to chop down and burn out. Oh, and like 27 Gringos have left or entered my life since I got back to Honduras on July 4th. The YES Team finally packed it in 2 weeks ago, the Eby's from Oregon (there's 5 of them...I'll get more in depth about them later) arrived just before the YES Team left and my immediate supervisor, Galen Groff from Guatemala came for a 4-day visit last week. It's been a busy few weeks. 
Regardless, I was looking back on the few photos I've managed to take this past month and noticed that they speak nicely to what's happening in our lives here in Los Laureles despite the daily water trips, despite the comings and goings and the excitement of meeting new people and the grief of saying goodbye to friends; despite all the hurriedness, the slow, unfolding story of Los Laureles continues to march on, with or without Sr. Nikon.

i was told I should cut this tree down.
everyone from my construction foreman to girlfriend begged me to chop away and plant something else.
i've always liked this tree.
it's gnarled, and worn but continues to sprout new life.
i like that.
i was vindicated when i got back.

a mourning dove had built a nest in the crux of the tree that was almost chopped down.
a crow eventually ate the eggs and the dove, now truly in mourning, moved on.
but for a few days we enjoyed watching the mother.
and i was right.

we had our towels stolen.
this is the first time we've been robbed.
who steals towels of all things?
there were soccer cleats, a bicycle, my exhaust pipe (thanks yes team).
but no, jorgito stole our towels.
marta confronted him the next day and must have threatened his life because within 2 days our towels were anonymously returned to us.

more than ever kids are at our home.
playing cards.
playing games.
talking it up for hours.
i'm getting used to it.
i like it.
just not before 9:00am

dog thinks this her bed.
blas doesn't seem to mind.
they curl up together every morning.

we've started to expand.
nolbin is from the river community.
that's the poor people that are too poor to live in the garbage dump.
nolbin's now our soccer goalie for the u-14 team.
others are coming...

karla and nodi have become real leaders amongst the group of girls here in laureles.
nodi especially.
they also have started a letter-writing relationship with maria bresticker from williamsport, pa.
this is the photo they made me take of them to send to her.

manuel and blas decided the ducks needed a home.
they went into the woods, cut down sapplings and began building this.
it never got finished.

what a cinderblock and pvc pipe have to do with a home for ducks is beyond me.
the ducks gave up hope for a real home too and decided to move underneath.

they're delish by-the-bye.
we ate two the other day.

lauro is ubiquitous but unsociable with most kids his own age.
he only wants to be around the older kids.
he's practically attached to manuel's hip.
he's infuriating, annoying and lovable all at once.

evening from my porch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Shall I Put This?

Ok, I know, I've been absent/silent for quite a little while now. My guiding rule in blog-writing regarding prolonged absences has always been 'Just Pretend Like You've Never Been Away And Make No Apologies' but this time around it doesn't seem quite appropriate to go that route entirely. So here's what, I was away for a while and I'm sorry, my sister got married in Colorado and they haven't yet received internet...they're backwards luddites out there in the Rocky Mountain State and I was cut off from all civilization; so sue me. Ok so maybe that was like 4 weeks ago now...I can't remember. If you happen to be facebooky friends with my dear sister you should check out her wedding photos...they're hilarious. Are wedding photos supposed to be hilarious? Because I swear to you that these are.

Ok, so after the wedding I spent two weeks with my parents back in Pa which was nice but they had me watching so much televsion (and I'm not exaggerating here) that I literally had no time to blog. I mean honestly, between Pawn Stars and American Pickers and Hardcore Pawn who has time to think about anything going on in the interent. To be honest though I always feel funny about blogging while I'm home in the U.S., I mean half the people that read this thing see me when I'm there. It seems to strange to go out with a friend and then write things on here like: "Rhoda and I went to get coffee the other day and I couldn't help but notice that she's really, really been putting on the weight, she's not the svelt tennis player that she used to be, but then again who could be the way she puts away the 18oz. lattes and raspberry danishes." or "I saw Dagbert in church the other day, he's 35 and still living in his parents' basement, which seems to suit his obsession with 'My Little Ponies' quite nicely."

So that about sums up my reasons for not blogging whilst in the U.S.; Coloradans don't believe in internet, my parents are television addicts and my friends have made disasters of their lives. Yup, no fault of mine here...moving on. I flew back to Honduras on the 4th of this month and upon arriving at my home I noticed a problem, the floors were dirty. Oh, believe me, I know the YES Team tried their hardest to clean this place up it's just that they tend to be incompetent in the area of "clean", they all run about like headless chickens and so while one may be cleaning, another is traipsing through a freshly cleaned kitchen with muddy shoes looking for water. While they may have given it 'the old college try' the end result was something more akin to 'beauty school dropout'. These past 2 weeks then I've been cleaning like a crazy person...I know I am crazy...people tell me this all the time, my own mother tells me this but I have to tell you, I like the craziness, it makes for a very clean living environment...and in the middle of a dusty, semi-waterless garbage dump that is no easy task.

All that to say that this is the first time I've had to sit down and truly post something on this blog of mine, and boy do I have a doozy to lay on y'all. People here in Honduras are nothing if they're not superstitious neanderthals - there's a superstition for just about anything and if these people are right it's a wonder that any of we Gringos are still alive. I've been told that it's bad to sweep the floors at night, that owls are really witches that kill children and like to eat placenta (that's right, owls eat afterbirth), that if I have a wound that it's bad to eat rice, eggs, cheese, milk or bread (in other words, starve til your wound heals). I've been warned against bathing after I run as my open pores will allow water into my buddy and I could catch pneumonia, bathing in the morning will give you a stomachache and that bathing too much in one day could cause grave, unspeakable illness in the region of everywhere (just to be on the safe side it's better to not bathe at all really). I usually laugh at the people that tell me these things, sometimes I get indignant and demand proof and sometimes I get downright mean and ask them how long they've been practicing medicine and what medical school they attended. Mostly though I just ignore the nonsense and don't think anything of it; nothing but nothing prepared me for what happened in my very home the other day though. One of the youth that lives with me has been experiencing an off-and-on earache for quite a few days now, he didn't tell me about it, he simply dealt with the pain and went about his business. It seems though that last Friday night he'd finally had enough. There is another superstition here that says if you have an earache a few drops of milk will do the trick and clear that right up. Nevermind that you're putting more liquid that's not Neomycin (which dries things up) into an ear with an ache caused by trapped fluid, it's that you're adding liquid that will putrify and attract very strange bacteria to your ear canal. I tried reasoning with this independent thinker but he told me I was wrong and that my modern medicine was just a capitalist pyramid scam. I let him go and didn't think anything of it until I found out the other half of the wive's tale and what really went down. It's not just any old milk that this recipe calls for but a woman's breast milk - our neighbor/cook Vicki has been breast feeding her 3 year old son for well, like 3 years now, and probably will be for another 3, so when Vicki came that evening to deliver the food my young charge asked for her services and she happily obliged. She had him lay down on his side in Manuel's bed and she, without any other instruments than her own body, delivered the "medicine" to the aching ear...it didn't work.

I feel vindicated. sort of.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'm Home Again!

ok really i'm just in the san pedro sula airport listening to 'this american life' but i'm getting there, just one bus-ride away.