The Water Project Dedication
Finally, the day came when C. and I were heading to Guachipilincito for the water project dedication. I wore a sun dress and sandals to walk there, because I felt festive. This wasn't the best idea, especially since I was carrying an overnight sack. It was a rough trail, but we made it after an hour.
A nonprofit organization called Catholic Relief Services, or CRS, had helped the people make a water tank, which was connected to houses all around the town. Now, instead of hauling water for long distances, they could turn on a faucet at their home pila (cement holding tank), and they could have a bucket flush toilet! It was quite incredible how wonderful this was for them. They were so happy, that they planned a huge three day party and dedication.
When we arrived, the party had not begun, but some people were already there. My friend C. was 22 and she had a five year old son named J. He lived there with his grandparents, while she earned money in town as a maid. It just so happened that C.'s younger cousin, R., was visiting. Right away, we got along, and he wanted to take a picture with me. Of course, I was flattered, and we took a picture as his parents looked on. I don't have that picture now, because I burned almost all the pictures of my exes when I got married. This was a short lived story, but kind of fun.
That night, there was a party and a dance. Everyone wanted to dance with me, but I danced with R. twice. It was a magical starlit night that I knew I wouldn't forget. He got the message that I favored him, but other people weren't happy. It was uncomfortable, because all the young men were watching us. There was one whose gaze was so intense, he even appeared to be looking through me. Everyone formed a line, and I danced with each one. That night I stayed at C.'s house, and ate dinner with the family. I attempted to sleep on a knotted rope bed without a mattress, but it was too hard.
The next day, I walked around the neighborhood and visited some other people, including Don F. and his family. He was the nurse in town, and he had rigged up a shower on his property. He had an extensive family of twelve, but he seemed like a real leader in town. He was a very enthusiastic person, who had property, which was essential. Unfortunately, C.'s family didn't have their own land, and they couldn't work with me. Many others also rented land; so, it was hard to find people with whom to work.
That day was the official dedication of the water project with CRS. Representatives from the United States came to speak, and Don F, and I were asked to speak, as well. Many people from surrounding communities were in attendance. When the representative from CRS spoke he made a bad Spanish error. Instead of saying "Tengo pena" for "I'm embarrassed", he said "Estoy embarasado", which means, "I'm pregnant"! In the audience, quite a few people snickered , but I'm not sure he ever found out that he'd made the error! After this, I was asked to say a few words, which proved nearly impossible, since I was so tired. After a faulty speech, I quickly got off the water tank we were using as a stage. That night, there was another dance, for which I was not in the mood. I left and C.'s little brother saw me muttering to myself.
By that time, I was really exhausted, and I could hardly talk. R. asked me to give his mother a copy of our picture as a souvenir. I though that was so romantic! Unfortunately, that night I hardly slept again, because of the uncomfortable bed. By morning, I was communicating almost fully in body language, and it was time to leave. I had only slept for about six hours the whole time. I left not know whether I had a boyfriend or not, but I knew I had a new admirer.
That night the people from CRS were staying at Don T.'s house, I was eating there; so, I got to talk to them in English. It was nice to have a little rest from all the excitement, and speak some English. They agreed that it must've been a relief for me. That night I slept very well!