Town Life and Wild Times
As a young woman who had a proposal of marriage, my little friend G thought I was living a perfect dream. She was around thirteen and very romantic at the time. I didn't tell anyone in town, except her, O and D, and Don T. He told me laughingly, "Well, it was worth a try". During these two months, G came and visited me almost every night. We would listen to romantic songs in Spanish, and she transcribed one for me. I still have it, as you can see. It's called "Poder Vivir Sin Aire", and talks about how the songwriter can't live without air, water, or the object of his affection. It was a very sweet time for me, having this constant evening visitor. Later, I found out that she got married two years before I did, when she was only 21.
The month of September ended with a trip to Teguc, where I stayed with my cousins, the L's, whom I had met in February. They had a bathtub that I used, which was very relaxing and definitely novel. I told M, my cousin's wife, about my boyfriend N, and she told me about her Columbian boyfriend. She was from El Salvador and therefore bilingual in English and Spanish. It was nice to share my experiences with her. During this time, I also went to a class with a large group of Peace Corps Volunteers, and I was able to speak English, which always put things back in perspective for me. During this trip, I got a dress and socks for my friend V's daughter's baptism ceremony, which turned out very nicely.
Over that next weekend, the Liberal presidential candidate, Reina, came and visited Concepcion. V picked me up for this event, and we walked hand in hand to the town square. I felt very content being with her on that day, although it was hot, and I forgot to wear my hat. We listened as he gave a speech about what he would do for the country. The Honduran democracy was healthier then, although now people are again hopeful with the new woman president. The local government was not as successful in those days, but now they've done a lot more for the town and infrastructure, such as paving roads and constructing buildings. It all started with electricity that came that summer and fall.
Now that there was electricity in town, I had the option to have a fan in my room and use my boombox. I bought a standing fan in La Esperanza, but it constantly felt over, and I could only use it when there wasn't a blackout. It was definitely poor quality! My boombox was quite helpful to me, though. Every night, I would listen to a tape on very low volume, fall asleep, and not have to hear the cockroaches jumping over my covered food and dishes. This was a great help, as I had lost sleep listening to them before!
One of the other things that came with electricity was television, and the "need" for a satellite dish. One day, I was visiting at O and D's, when Don T was over. He told me that they had been talking about asking me for a loan to buy the satellite dish. I was not a big spender, as I hardly left town, and didn't drink much, so they thought, I might have saved up some money. I'm sure they also saw me as an easy target, because of his son, N! Sure enough, I had enough to lend him the necessary funds of around $200 for the dish. I decided to give it as a no interest loan, which was returned in full. It was kind of funny, because every time I left town or needed money, I would go to the bank of "Don T"! I didn't enter the real bank for a long time after this!
Once I got home from Teguc, work got busier. I decided that I would attend the weekly meeting at the Natural Resources Office in Camasca, because they invited me, and finally seemed to want to help. I had to walk the two hours to get there, which was quite difficult; therefore, I attended a few times, but not every week. The meetings were somewhat helpful, but they were all men except the secretary, and they seemed to think that I was a joke, because I was a woman. Fortunately, one of them picked me up by motorcycle and introduced me to two new communities called Plan Verde and San Miguelillo. He said that they would want to work with me, introduced me, and left me there. It certainly seemed that these people were more enthusiastic than anyone else, so I made plans for a time to come back and tell them about the new farming practices.
Every day for six months, It would rain violently at around 4:00. Most days, I would make it home by then, so I wouldn't get wet. It was unusual for it to rain at night, but one time in particular it did. I had a red tiled roof that had no attic or ceiling. One night, the roof began to leak onto my bed and woke me up. This is still a really sad memory for me, as I moved the mattress off the bed and slept on the floor the rest of the night. The next morning, I told my landlord, and his son and the handyman came and ran around on my roof to rearrange the tiles. After that, I had no problems with the roof, but this still remains a sad incident in my memory.
During the next week, I went to a meeting in Guachipilincito where only half the people attended. I decided to postpone it, and go back a week later. On Sunday, I was scheduled to go visit a farmer with whom I had made a compost pile. This day was one of the more surreal days of my service. On the way over, I met a high school student who was quite literally wearing my geology field camp t-shirt! There was no mistaking this shirt, as it had English and a picture of a dinosaur on it. I asked him, how he'd gotten it, and told him it was mine! He said that the man who'd connected my electricity had sold it to him for 15 Lempiras. I recalled having left the room while the handyman was working, and that's when he must have stolen it. I told the boy to keep it, but it sure was a strange surprise. When I arrived at the farmer's house, he took me to a hill on his farm. I thought that he was going to show me the farm or the compost pile, but then he took a condom out of his pocket and propositioned me for sex, right there on his farm! I just couldn't believe he would do such a thing, especially since he was a married man with seven children! Once he realized that he wouldn't be getting lucky, he asked me to attend the local church with him, which I did. This was a very weird set of experiences, which caused me to never return there again.
The courtyard where I lived was divided from the main road by a door, but that door was never locked. I had two doors, one to the main road and one to the courtyard. It was 6:00 in the evening, and I had closed my front door, but the back one was still opened for ventilation, as it was really hot. I was sitting there cooking my dinner on the stove, when this young man came to my back door, and showed himself to me. I still have no idea who this person was, but he was in a long coat, sweating, and sighing. I immediately ran out my front door, and found the mayor and my friend O, who were in the street. I told them as best I could what had happened. The mayor said “cipotes!” or kids, and that was the end of that story. We laughed it off. I still have not forgotten it, though, as it was rather traumatic for me.
The weather was not very good, and I was thinking about visiting R, the new volunteer in the town of Magdelena, three hours east toward the El Salvadorian border. I figured if I was having a hard time, he must be really struggling, since it was the beginning of his service. He had informed me that one of his farmers wanted to see me again. That sounded amusing, as I knew what that meant. During this time, I also attended the birthday party for A and D M, O and D's children. He was turning two, and she was one year old. D had her ears pierced for her birthday, per the Honduran tradition. It was a sweet, celebratory afternoon.
I know you all want to know what happened with my boyfriend N, but it's not even the end of October, and you have to wait until November 10th. I did, too. As I said before, this was a sweet time of feeling loved. I would look up at the stars and think about how we were maybe both looking up at the same time. Tengan paciencia!