Soggy Bottoms

I expected the week without classes to creep along slowly. Originally I had planned on traveling to the Mayan Ruins in Copay for a couple of days to break up the week but I decided against it. With the entire country on vacation, I figured that it would be crowded and that is enough to ruin a trip for me. I also knew that I had plenty to do with regards to applications, and more specifically, application essays. I was able to write several drafts and physically create an application for each university to which I am applying. In addition, I continued with my GRE studying, finished two books, and am about 75% of the way through Harry Potter in Spanish. Contrary to how I initially felt, the week flew by and as I sit and write this it is hard to believe that school will resume tomorrow. It may sound like I was cooped up all week in my apartment but I spent some valuable time with my two favorite Honduran families, the Vasquez and Villanueva crews.

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You may have found yourself wondering where the title of this blog comes from. It doesn’t quite fit with any of the themes I’ve presented, nor does it have a specific relation to something I’ve alluded to. It is because of an event that took place on Wednesday, October 4th. It started off innocently enough. Paul and Sandy, the long-term volunteers who live in the apartment adjacent to Profe Iris’ house, had planned to go to the city, La Esperanza, to get new tires for their truck. They were gifted this vehicle from a pastor in Tegucigalpa who had dreamt it. It needed a few minor tweaks but overall was in great shape minus the tires with their minimal traction. Grace and I decided to join Paul and Manrique, Profe Iris’ son, on their journey to La Esperanza to get out of Camasca for the day. The truck is only a two-seater, so Grace and I were relegated to the bed of the truck seated on a mattress, and Manrique and Paul were up front. Sandy ended up not joining us on account of the seating arrangements, which would turn out to be the smartest decision she’s ever made. We spent the day in La Esperanza buying tires, visiting the largest supermarket that carries American brands, eating fried chicken, and searching for the traditional Lenca shirt that I desired. Around 4:30 we begin our journey home as ominous clouds rolled in overhead. Grace and I had a tarp with which to cover ourselves in the event of rainfall. We figured there might be a short burst and then it would pass. What ended up transpiring was the most vicious storm I have ever witnessed during either of my stays in Honduras. From about five minutes after we got on the road until two and a half hours later when we arrived, soaked to the bone and shivering, it down poured. As torrents of rain were unleashed upon us, visibility from the driver’s seat was minimal. Paul had his head out the window of the passenger seat, doing his best to tell Manrique which way the road was headed. I have this image of Paul yelling “Derecha, DERECHA, DERECHA!!” (right, RIGHT, RIGHT!) As we were going around a particularly sharp turn. Some parts of the road were washed out but we drove through any and all obstacles. Manrique, for his part, seemed to relish the situation and could be heard cackling from the front seat. In the back, as raindrops penetrated every crevice and pore in my body a few drops must’ve found its way into my iPhone which I thought was protected within my raincoat. Turns out about two drops of water can destroy a $700 piece of machinery. Thankfully, and as a result of the foresight of Ed, I have applecare+ and they will replace it when I get home for a minimal fee. It was an adventure unlike any other that I’d experienced on my travels.

 

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The calm before the storm

 

Profe Iris was the one who helped us through our traumatizing event. She made us warm soup upon arrival and we sat and told her all about the thrills and scares. There were many jokes made about having confidence in the truck being able to withstand anything thrown its way. We were invited back to lunch the next day, and then lunch and dinner the following. Profe Iris’ eldest daughter Mariella was also home, so we were able to sit around with the entire group of volunteers and Vasquezes and reminisce, laugh, and share experiences. It always reminds me how much I enjoyed living there last year. On Thursday, I was tasked with cooking for the entire group. Profe Iris’ remembered how I had cooked for them the year before and presented me with this opportunity. For the menu, I decided on chicken parmesan and lasagna. I sent a list of ingredients and wondered whether chicken breasts or mozzarella cheese were available (and affordable). All of the supplies were there on Thursday when I came over to cook. I must’ve used up about ten different pots, pans, and dishes. Thankfully I was not on cleanup duty. The vegetable lasagna had to be in a ginormous, rectangle dish. Because of the limited amounts of noodles and veggies, it was only two complete layers tall. It was still edible but not the same lasagna I am accustomed to cooking. The chicken parmesan, on the other hand, was a big hit. It was devoured by all and then I was asked for the recipe and to explain the cooking process. There is already talk about what I will cook next. As long as I don’t have to grapple with finding the ingredients or cleaning up after myself, I am happy to be the chef (as would most in that situation).

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These past two days were the second to last games for Fifa World Cup Qualifying. If you remember from one of the previous posts we watched Honduras and the U.S. struggle to a hard-to-watch 1-1 draw. On Friday the U.S. demolished Panama 4-0 to all but guarantee it will qualify. I watched the game at Profe Iris’ house with the other volunteers. The Honduras vs. Costa Rica game was moved until Saturday on account of (at that time) Tropical Storm Nate. The rain has come in droves for the majority of the past four days which has limited any outdoor activities or exploration. We were invited by my friend Elmer to watch the Honduras game with him. After the U.S. victory the night before there was a lot of pressure on them to win against a Costa Rica team that was currently ranked second in qualifying in our bracket behind Mexico. Honduras scored on a beautiful header early in the second half only to be matched in the 94th minute in heartbreaking fashion. Once the game had concluded, Elmer’s daughter Emily arrived at the house. She is an adorable, vibrant and talkative three year old. She commands all of the attention in the room and struggles vocally to keep up with the pace of her brain. Sometimes she doesn’t even finish one thought before she’s on to the next one. Holding a maraca as a microphone, she serenaded us with Frozen song after Frozen song in Spanish. She found it hilarious that there is hair on my legs and laughed directly into my face after she saw my mustache. Her youthful innocence and unimpeded joy are contagious.

 

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Traditional Lenca shirt

 

Tomorrow we will be back at the bilingual school. I’ve definitely missed the students this week even though I’ve seen a bunch around town. I’ll be starting a few different video projects under the direction of Wayne, the CEO of Shoulder to Shoulder. I look forward to sharing them with you in the future.

MBT 


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