I Go Out With a Bang
It was time to get Aquilino, Paco, and Rene off to the Zamorano School of Agriculture. They were from my three most successful towns, and they were very excited for this four day adventure. Fortunately, I had extra money left over after the field trip, and I was able to give them each enough for the trip to Teguc and beyond. I couldn't wait to see how it was going to turn out.
After I sent them on the bus, I picked up Allen, the new volunteer for my site. Immediately, I had to find a place for him to stay, and Don Tonio had an apartment that was free at that time. It was the same one I had stayed at those first nights, when I was visiting alone. I remember thinking that Allen didn't speak much Spanish; kind of like me, when I first showed up. I was somewhat surprised, but confident that he would make it just fine. He was not judgmental about the quality or quantity of my work. He just said it was a good thing I had gotten through, and found some extremely enthusiastic people. Amusingly, he found it very hot, as I had originally. I called it the oven site! Ultimately, the time went much better than I thought it would, since someone told me that he was like one of the volunteers with whom I didn't connect.
There was only one bad thing that happened while Allen was present, and it had nothing to do with him. Now, you might remember the merchant that helped me, when I became stranded on the Salvadorian border. Even though we had locked out all the dangerous people from the courtyard, I still had to contend with the merchants. For the most part, we kept our distance, but while Allen was visiting they came in drunk and belligerent one night. I told the merchant who'd helped me that he was "vago" meaning slang for a bum, but he thought I said "malo" meaning bad. Suddenly, in a fit of drunken rage, he pointed his gun right at me, saying don't call me malo. After a short altercation, where I tried to defend myself, I ran into my room and shut the door. Allen was innocently waiting for me, I told him what had happened, and we hid out until they left. Thankfully, they did, and I was able to let him out of my front door, so that he could go back to his room. What a crazy thing to happen!
The next day was Friday, and we caught an early morning truck taxi back to La Esperanza. From there, he was returning to training outside of Teguc. I remember feeling almost envious of the two years that he would have with my town. After all, I was leaving in six weeks!
My two farmers who were working the Potato Festival exposition or "Champa" had come with us for the event. Filipe and Juana were both very enthusiastic speakers. Juana ended up staying with me at Judy's house, and everyone thought she was adorable. We were meeting with four other volunteers from the area including Rob, James, and two others. Each of us had two farmers who would demonstrate soil conservation practices and sell the nitrogen fixing soy beans.
At the exposition, they did a great job explaining about the use of the Level A, the importance of the nitrogen fixing bean, and the different posters on the walls. While we were doing our all day workshop, the Minister of Agriculture came to observe our information booth. The local television station came to interview us, and they wanted to speak with one of the farmers. Because Juana was a woman, we wanted her to be interviewed. She was an incredible hit with everyone. Then, they asked me to speak in the interview, and I almost cried, thinking about my short time left, and great success with these people. It was all incredibly sweet!
I sent Filipe home to Guachipilin, but unfortunately, Juana left to see her sister in Santa Barbara. She never returned, before I had to leave. I asked her daughter every week at market if Juana were back. I never saw her again! Yet another disappointment, but I still have many good memories of her.
Since it was the weekend of the Potato Festival, there was a dance in the street. I had heard that my boyfriend, Edwin, was coming from San Pedro Sula for the festival. Judy and I went walking out to see what was going on, and we met him immediately. I spent the rest of the evening with him. This time he was much nicer and gentler than he had been the last time. We went back to Judy's to hang out, and he even asked me to marry him "in a civil ceremony", whatever that means. I kind of got the idea that he wanted me to take him to The US, but I know I made a big impression on him. It was truly exciting as everything about him ever was. Although, he said that he would be in Concepcion the next day, I never saw him again, until he surfaced on Facebook a year and a half ago.