I Live a Lifetime in Two Weeks
It was the last Friday in July, and also the day before the Potato Festival in La Esperanza. I went to Guachipilincito, and set up some land for picking with Don P, Don F's brother. On the way over, I got some horrible bug bites, that turned out to be dangerously itchy. While we were measuring the land for picking, we talked about how unpopular this work was with so many people. It was mysterious and required them to work with heavy and awkward equipment. One had to make a level A, and use a pickaxe and shovel. I was just thankful that P was willing to try it. He told me that he would finish the work by himself for my return on August 9th. I planned to turn over a compost pile I'd made with Don F, but he wasn't there. He talked a good game, but his brother P became one of my most successful farmers.
Upon returning home, I went over to my young friend G's farm and helped her and her older sister Y harvest some of the new corn that we had fertilized with nitrogen fixing beans. We then went to their house to eat the sweet and delicious corn. While I was sitting there with my coffee and corn, a good looking young man named E came in and started talking to Y. Because of the loud radio music, I couldn't hear what they were saying. When he left, she informed me that they'd been talking about me. I laughed it off as usual, because by then I took that kind of news with a large grain of salt!
I went to my room to start preparing dinner, when the town lunatic came into my room and wanted to talk. He was an unfortunate young man named J with a very sad story. He was only nineteen but he'd already served in the army, fought in Iraq, and been beaten up by the police. He was ambling in and out of my room declaring his love for me. At this point, E came in, introduced himself to me, and we started talking. I found out that he lived in the large city of San Pedro Sula, and worked in a clothing factory. He had gone to normal school and university for two years, and seemed very eligible and age appropriate for me. We ended up talking all evening until 9:00, and then both of the guys left. During this time, I was nervously scratching my new mosquito bites. Everything was exciting and new, but mysterious at the same time.
The next morning at 5:15 am, J, the deranged young man went up and down the street yelling my name and knocking on my door. I sternly told him to never do that, ever again! Later, J, E, some other guys and I were waiting for a car to La Esperanza for the Potato Festival. E was listening to music with English lyrics, and I was translating for him. J was flashing a picture of me around, saying that he was my boyfriend. I asked him how he got the picture, and he said that my friend N had given it to him. I was mad about that, because if he didn't want it, he should have thrown it away or burned it, not given it away! I told J to give the photo back to me, because it was not his, but I never got it back. Eventually, he left and the rest of us got a car for the two hour drive to La Esperanza. When we got there, E and I got out together, and everyone gave a Honduran "Whoop!". It was quite embarrassing.
I found my friend Dona D, who lived in town, as I was going to stay with her and her three children. I had told E where I was staying, and he picked me up there for an evening on the town. La Esperanza had amusement rides set up for the fair. We went on a number of rides together, including the bumper cars. We were out until 11:00 pm, and it was quite exciting. When I got back to Dona D's house, I had to bang on the door to wake her up. She angrily gave me a blanket, and made me sleep on the cement floor.
She and I were both zombies the next day, because we didn't get much sleep-me on the cement, and her angry about being disturbed so late at night. I noticed that one of my mosquito bites was filling with puss, but I didn't pay much attention. That evening I met up with E again, but I was in pain, and we were both tired. We agreed that we would see each other in Concep, and he took me back to my friend's house. The next day, my legs were horribly painful, and I decided it would be best to head straight to Teguc. I saw the mayor's daughters, and advised them that I was going to Teguc. I asked them to tell everybody in Concep, but they never did. So, no one, including E, knew anything about what happened next!
When I got to Teguc, I ran into a fellow Peace Corps volunteer, a kindly older lady from the business group, who helped me get to the hospital in a taxi. She later brought me flowers, which brightened my day. It turned out, I was there for four or five days with a staph infection in six mosquito bites on my ankles, two work blisters, and a kitchen knife cut. First, they gave me a penicillin shot. Then, they sprayed me on the affected areas, but I was allergic to that medicine; so, they switched me to a pill that worked well. I spent a lot of time reading, as they had an English lending library at the hospital. I was really sick, but I wanted to get out of there. E was leaving on the 9th of August, and I didn't want to miss him completely. What a predicament!
When I finally did get home, I found that the girls hadn't told anyone where I'd been, and E thought I'd gone on a trip with the teachers. Upon telling him about my trip to the hospital, he said I was a liar and turned around and left. I found him a little while later, and showed him my ankles, and he believed me, but it was an inauspicious beginning. We spent two evenings together in Concepcion, and then it was August 9th, and he had to leave. He told his mother about me, and showed her a picture that I had given him. We also decided that it would be best for no one to know what was happening between us. We agreed to write, saying that I might visit him in San Pedro Sula.
When I got home from the hospital, I got a large shipment of mail that had been waiting for me. There were letters from family and friends. Also, N wrote me a friendly letter, where he referred to"our understanding", but at this point we were still just friends. I figured I could write him, and ask how J got a hold of his picture of me. I didn't understand everything in the letter, and I had my friend O help me decode it. One of my friends in the US, wrote to me also, and I wrote her a ten page letter over these two weeks recording everything that happened at that time. I'm very thankful that she kept it!
As I was in bad physical shape, with open wounds still, I was glad that one of my farmers cancelled, and rescheduled for the next week. All I had to do was teach an English class to O and M down the street. The next week, I would get back into work, but now I had to recover completely.