A very long blog

September 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

So I am going to post some pics with this blog, but the internet is way to slow— I’ll try again tomorrow. . .

My blog has laid dormant for such a long time, I don’t know where to begin. The past month has been a whirlwind of trainings, topo studies, and cigar parties. I shall write to explain the pictures I am about to post.

Let’s start with the never-ending topo study. I have been working on it for a month, and am nowhere near finishing. Tis the nature of Honduras. I am almost done with the conduction line (the water line from the source of the water to the tank), but still have the distribution line to tackle (the individual lines to all 90 houses). Fijese que the day I went back to continue (sans my amiga to help me), Tito (Junta de Agua presidente) forgot that I was coming and sent all of his men off to the fields to work.  Who was to carry all of the equipment? Why, his 17 yr-old daughter in flipflops, 2 neighborhood kids, me, and him, that’s who! It was hilarious to watch all of us struggle to carry the awkward equipment through the coffee fincas, to the point where I fell down the hill and smashed my shin. It still is black and blue, and that was more than 2 weeks ago. The theodolite itself weighs more than 15 pounds.

Day 2. Tito knew I was coming this day. However, my ride left a little late from the office, like an hour and a half late. My 2 coworkers (tweedle dee and tweedle dum, if you will), where responsible for dropping me off at my community, about an hour away from my site. There was some issue with printing out some forms they needed, and then another issue of finding combustible, then they wanted breakfast. After seeing that the gringa was a little agitated, they proceeded to joke that they had to do more errands before dropping me off. Not funny. So I arrive at site at 10ish, a little agitated, but happy that I was there. However, my two compaňeros still had not eaten breakfast yet (Hondurans never eat breakfast before leaving the house). Fijese que they decided to invite themselves over to Tito’s house to enjoy a merienda consisting of coffee and some sort of bread product/cookie (pan), a Honduran staple. Mind you Tito is supposed to accompany me on this study. After about an hour and a half of chatting and then touring Tito’s organic garden (it’s really beautiful), lo and behold it’s lunch time! At this point, I gave into the Honduran culture and relaxed, I mean who wants to work anyways? I got taste the sugar cane, the cucumbers, and the freshly plucked radishes – so delicious! After lunch of plato tipico, (we ate while his family watched, also another norm here), we chatted for a bit more and decided to actually work a bit. I was hoping to arrive at the tank site that day, but at 4:15, we had about 3 to 4 more shots left. Unlike the states where we work until it’s done, here we work until about 4 and have another merienda of coffee and pan. It is ridiculous how much they eat here! So, moral of the story, work less, learn more about gardening, eat well, and embrace the culture. After all, cultural exchange is goals #2 and #3 of the Peace Corps.

The last 2 weeks or so of the month of August is my town’s feria.. Every town in Honduras has feria celebration to honor the town’s heritage and culture. A feria queen is voted in, and there is a huge pomp and circumstance around it. Since my town is known for their cigars, our queen was known as Reina de Tobaco. Pretty PC I know. There was a huge shin dig in the parque central with a 2 hours longs procession, complete with the outgoing queen, her court, the incoming queen, and her court. Just for your information, her court consists of random people including the “keeper of memories”, the “gift bearers”, her “bridesmades’, and my personal favorite, “the slaves”. There were 3 little girls dressed up as Arabian prices pretending to be bound and shackled. What? I felt like I was at my highschool homecoming, but way more elaborate and weirder. And 2 hours long. The saving grace was that there were REAL fireworks, like the ones that make pretty lights in the sky. The more common firecrackers here are just really loud without the lights. Usually they are lit every morning at 5AM during the feria to wake the town up (reasons why I asked my mom to send earplugs).

SO to the cigars. Noche de Fumadores is the last big party to celebrate the end of feria. All of Santa Rosa’s finest (and many Peace Corps volunteers) dressed to the nines go out for a night of drinking, dancing, and smoking good cigars. Live band, free drinks, free food, free cigars, tobacco rolling demonstrations, what more can I say? The pictures will explain themselves. 

Last but not least, I just came back from a week of Peace Corps in-service training in Siguatepeque (I swear these trainings never end). As part of our training, we were tasked to work on a latrine for a single woman living in a local community. Naturally, we couldn’t finish it all in the day, but the project will continue with a current volunteer. We were to construct a cierre hidraulico latrine, also known as pour flush latrine. This type of latrine consists of a pit dug roughly 1m x 1m x 2 m deep, which is offset from the casita (where the bowl is). The pit is lined with rocks and mortar, but the bottom is unlined and open to permeable soil, like sand. The solids are contained, but the liquids can leach out the bottom. The casita is built out of adobe or CMU (concrete masonry units). CMU is preferable because adobe invited insects called Chinche Picudas that carry the parasite that cause the disease Chagas. Google it, it isn’t pretty, and it is a huge problem in central and south America. I digress. . . . The bowl is connected to the pit by a pvc tube. Every time you go, you have to use water to “flush” the bowl. Some people even soop it up to make their toilets have a tank and everything (class here is a big thing). This latrine is preferable to the simple pit latrine (think straight drop) because 1) the water added helps speed up the decomposition of the solids, 2) the covered and offset pit keeps the foul odors at bay, 3) because there are limited odors/access to the pit, there are less flies transmitting diseases, and 4) it’s easier to clean. Phew. So that’s my latrine knowledge. This is the type of latrine I will be building here shortly, assuming that the community has found their maestro de obra yet.

That’s all for the month of Agosto. . . Let’s see what Septiembre brings.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Topo study/gardening, take 2 Noche de Fumadores 2009

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