The Beginning of the End
When I got to La Esperanza, I had to tell Judy about my chance encounter with Nahun. She thought that I should try and pursue it further, which I attempted, but to no avail. I learned that ultimately, after rejecting a marriage proposal so completely, there's no repairing the situation. I had to accept this as just a moment of suspended reality.
The next day, I went to visit my Honduran friend Dina, who was about forty, divorced, and newly engaged to a nice lawyer. She had three children, and struggled as a maid for different people in town. I was very happy for her new marital status, and station in life. Everything would hopefully be easier for her.
After all this discussion of marriage, I received news that two of my sorority sisters from college were getting married. One already had, right after I graduated. One was scheduled to get married in June, and I would have to miss the wedding. The last of our immediate group, Michelle Atno, was also newly engaged, and I was invited to be in the wedding, which sounded exciting. At the time, this news didn't bother me much, as my life was still filled with unpredictable romance. Later, it became a sad truth, as I attended eight weddings of family members and friends in 1995, and only had four dates. I didn't know it would take me seven years to find the man I would marry. In my journal, I discussed how I would be better off with a Gringo than a Honduran, anyway. The funny thing is, I ended up with a half Japanese man.
At this time, I mentioned that I wanted to take a trip across the US to visit friends and family. I did end up taking a wonderful railroad trip one month after I got home. I visited and met all sorts of people, and saw many sights. As I said in a letter to my friend, Dave, whom I visited, "it would be a great way to get my mind off Honduras", at least for a little while. I really couldn't believe it was all coming to an end, when I had thought it would last forever just the year before!
If you remember, I had made two separate requests for voting materials during the presidential election year of 1992, and I never received anything. I was unable to vote that year, and felt very disenfranchised. Well, it was before the June 1994 Primary, and my voting materials were sent, finally. Unfortunately, I had no idea what was going on, and very little interest, so I didn't participate. This all seemed pretty ironic to me.
It was May 31st and in Concepcion that meant time for the Flower Festival. Earlier in the month, I had set up the flowers in the church with my friends, Dona Maria and Don Porfirio, who lived by the church. Ten months before, Vilma had invited me to go with her, and even though we had stopped talking, I told her that I could participate in this celebration of spring. That day we ate lunch together in a large party setting, and marched around town with all the other people. Some of her friends didn't know me, and she introduced me as her great friend. I didn't object, as that had been true, and I didn't want everyone to know that we'd had a falling out. People had come from all over for this colorful event. There was even someone who was visiting from New York.
I was still visiting different members of my groups, and one day I went to see Don Aquilino in Plan Verde. It was always a pleasure to work with him, because we were always productive, and he even worked alone. We were working that day, when we sat down to talk and eat some lunch. He asked me the cutest question, that I will never forget. We were talking about cattle, and he asked me if there were any in the ocean. I said no there weren't, but there were sea cows and other animals, just not cattle.
Around this time, I realized that I understood the familiar form of Spanish pretty well, but no one used it with me. When I first got there, I couldn't speak that well, so it was easier to just use Usted. I felt sad and removed from even my best friends, because of this. I remember sitting and trying to ask my friends, Osmar and Dilcy, if we could change to the Tu form, but chickening out. One day, I got up the nerve, because I was always over there, and they were more than happy to change it. It was wonderful to be able to talk to them in this form, and we all felt freer.
In the second week of June, I hosted Sarah, a volunteer in training. This time things went better with the volunteer, and my work was well received. I took her all around to see the different farms I'd been working on. Unfortunately, I fell pretty hard while walking in Plan Verde, and got a huge black and blue spot on the back of my leg. I think I was probably anemic, by then. She stayed for a whole week, and was not very sociable, although we actually got along pretty well. She didn't like my friends, and all the socializing that I did, when I came home from work. Her visit was right before Osmar was going to Teguc for math student teaching to get his college degree. We were hardly able to see each other, because Sarah was always around. It was very disappointing. While she was there, she read two books and hardly talked to anyone, even though she spoke Spanish. She wanted to know when I would have time to write to people, but when she left I wrote two letters, visited everyone, and helped someone plant a vegetable garden, all in one day. I have to say that I was relieved to see her go!
I was still helping Osmar with correcting his English class tests. We had hoped that I would come into the classroom at some point and listen to the students' pronunciation, but my work got busy, and we just couldn't schedule a day. Every time there was a test, I would correct them for him, though. This was a fun, relaxing thing that I did that day in June. After that, I went over to their house, to celebrate Osmar's last night in town. We drank beer in their living room, and planned to see each other in Teguc, when I would receive my medical clearance to leave. In the next two months, I knew I would miss him a lot. They would both see me off at the airport, thankfully. I was happy that Dilcy would be staying in town, and vowed to come and visit still, which I did. I also brought her things regularly from La Esperanza, because she was busy as a biology teacher at the junior high, and a mother of the two young ones.
Two days later, Julio from Zamorano School was scheduled to come and give a two day Integrative Pest Management class, which started in Plan Verde. I had invited all my farmers from Guachipilincito, San Miguelillo, and Plan Verde. I was hoping that all of them would attend, but I seriously had no idea how many actually would. I just waited for that day to come, and then I was pleasantly surprised when we had quite a few farmers. Because the first day was in Plan Verde, not everyone could attend. Pasqual and Guadalupe, went home that day, and brought their son and Don Lucio to the next day's class, as it was a Saturday.The second class was at the junior high up on the hill in Concepcion, and much closer for those in Guachipilincito. Whereas, on the first day, the farmers were able to get onto Jauna's farm and collect insects, this time it was purely lecture. Julio gave them posters to remind them about what they'd learned, and everyone felt very proud, as they left that day with the loot and lots of new information in their heads.
Julio also extended an invitation to any three of my farmers who would want to go to Zamorano, and take a multi-day class on Integrated Pest Management class. It seemed that Pasqual from Guachipilincito, and Naro, and Aquilino from Plan Verde were all interested in going. You will see in the next chapter, that this almost didn't work out, but it was a great success, ultimately. Also, join me for my vacation to El Salvador.