Saturday, June 30, 2012

We Hiked That!

There are two distinctive peaks I can see while looking westward from my community, the jagged one on the left and Orari on the right.  Both of which Mark, Lauren, and I decided had features of sleeping men.

A couple volunteers headed out from Alyssa’s site, Gourd #2 (where’s #1?!), to climb up Orari.  It was about a 2 hour hike, including the detour, to get up to the top.  And it was pretty standard hiking until a certain point.

We got closer and Alyssa says, “There’s not really a path here, just find your way up.”

Then we walked on a skinny ridge, up and over and up again to get to the top.  When we finally made it we were all pretty exhausted.

I live "over there" somewhere.

Then we had to come down.  Remember learning to do the crab walk and wondering when it would ever come in handy?  Well, I figured it out!  Being on a skinny ridge that dropped off pretty steeply was enough incentive for me to keep my unbalanced center of gravity low as I made my way back down.  Balance has never been one of my finest qualities.

The saw grass left our legs looking like we’d gotten in a brawl with a cat, but we made it down safely a couple hours later just as a storm was rolling in.  I caught transportation home and hiked back in the dark.  

Mission: Complete.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I was recently reading  River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler about his two years as an English teacher in China.  He wrote about his father's visit:

“That was perhaps the longest week and a half I spent in China.  It was like seeing a reflection of my entire first year, cut and spliced and crammed into ten days – all of the fear, the annoyances, the fascination, the wonder of the city; everything hit my father in the space of little more than a week.  And I found that it was difficult to predict what would bother him, because I had been in Fuling for so long that I no longer saw it with a true outsider’s eye.  A slow boat that might seem perfectly fine to me was terrifying to him, while other things that I had worried about, like the spiciness of the food, didn’t pose the slightest problem.  Like many Peace Corps volunteers all over the world, I found that the parent visit was a kind of revelation: suddenly I saw how much I had learned and how much I had forgotten.”
                                                                       River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler

I had a wonderful visit with my Mom the other week.  At one point I asked her what her favorite blog post was, you know, so I would have an idea of what she likes so I can write to my audience.  Do you know what she said?  The woman that birthed me, raised me, and calls me her own?!  “The one your friends wrote.”  Don’t worry, Mom, I didn’t take it too personally.  She said, “I like to know what you do on a normal day.”  So this one’s for you, Mom!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

7:30am – I slept in!  But that’s the joy of a flexible schedule, no alarm clocks required.  Made breakfast – tea and oatmeal with cinnamon, peanut butter, and an apple.

8:00am – I’m enjoying said breakfast in my hammock, listening to a This American Life podcast when 4-year-old Dayana walks in and stands next to my hammock.  I give her a bite of my food so she can stop wondering what it tastes like and play.  Her younger sister Chenin walks in and brightly says “Good morning” followed by “give me some.”  I do.  We talk about what's in it and they go play.

9:00am - I head over to the Health Post (next door) to install a weather station.  I realize that the mango tree is going to be an issue.

9:10am - I ask Natividad for permission to cut down one branch.  He says yes and gifts me 11 bananas – guineo chino, the BIG ones!

9:15am - Reyes climbs the tree like a spider monkey and quickly drops the first branch with his machete.  He then chops down 3 more under the counsel of Anabel and Natividad – just to be sure.

9:30am - We clean up the mess – split the branches, separate the firewood, and move the green fallen mangoes to a more convenient spot to rot.

10:30am - I helped remove PVC tubs from their (at least 8 month) intertwined grass prison to a new storage spot.

11:30am - Installed weather station.

Whenever I’m in my house – Kids (on a week-long vacation) ask to borrow a puzzle or a book or the singing cow or the crayons or the dominoes!  My house is pretty much the coolest hangout on the block!

12:00pm - Ate bananas for lunch and read a little bit.

1:30pm – Hiked about 30 minutes to the lower part of my town where I visited the 10 houses to collect a water survey - How much water do you use every day?  Made small talk.  Baby Isabel showed me her new trick – giving kisses.  Modesta gifted me 5 eggs, each marked with the date laid and the chicken responsible.

4:00pm – Hiked back up the hill.  Sweat a LOT.  Stopped in at Rosa’s to see if I could collect baby food jars that she had and I wanted to make mango jam in.

4:30pm – Started to rain just as I got home.  Showered (in the rain), washed laundry and dishes.

5:30pm – Cooked dinner – TVP (textured vegetable protein) tacos with black beans, fried onion and cabbage, shredded carrot and asiago cheese.

6:00pm – Ate dinner over another podcast.  Then wrote in my journal, wrote this blog, read for a while, and did some yoga.

8:30pm – Went to bed!  Tomorrow’s another day.  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheese and Crackers

It's like a little snack around 3pm.  Just enough to tide you over until I get around to writing another real blog post!  Enjoy!  :)

My mom came to visit!

This is pretty much my constant state - sweaty.  The last month and a half or so has been ridiculously hot!

I'm pretty sure Chenin has some star power.  This was the picture right after he told her to look at the camera.  She's got an eye for style.

Kathryn is a little nicer to that dog than I was.  You could see the bugs swarming around it.  :)

Grass cutting workday at the school.

Work day at the church.  They are getting ready for a church conference that will be in town this weekend.  They are expecting 150 people to come from other communities.

Senor Juan is getting creative in his most serious of hobbies - pinata making.  (Terry and Keith take note if you run out of summer projects!)  This was Yhetzy's exploding birthday cake pinata.  I wasn't there for the finished product, but they then put pinata paper on it, and sparklers as candles before lighting off the middle layer.  Grandma grabbed Grandpa's sombrero and was trying to fan out the flames after it popped.  The candies on the bottom became a melted mass.

I found a new trick to catch cockroaches - a lil' bit of wine in the bottom of a cup over night!  I told my friend Erica this and she responded: I did to.  I used a whole can of Raid in my house this morning.

We had a chicken killing party to celebrate the end of my friend Angie's water project.  The party was about eating the chicken, not so much it's killing, or at least it was supposed to be...  It turned into quite the ordeal; we could use some more practice.