viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2009

Total Eclipse of the Lame

The month of October has come and gone. I survived my first full month in site and I am now in the thick of the South Honduran winter. Winter here is actually just a word they use for “the month when it rains” and has nothing to do with the temperature. Although, there were tropical storms on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the country earlier this week, so I did get to experience a little bit of what cabin fever feels like after the 72nd straight hour of rain. Who knew that dirt plus water equals absurd amounts of mud? Most of my late afternoons are spent playing soccer and right around 5:45 the setting sun and low lying grey clouds turn the sky into my dad’s back seat when I left a handful of orange, red, purple, and yellow crayons sitting on the blue cloth in the Houston summer sun (It took me a decade or so to stop hearing about that one). Around this time, the game usually has to pause to let a herd of naked children chase their herd of goats or cows across the field whacking them with a stick every couple of strides. The game then dissolves into nothing more than blatant fouls, laughter, arms in the air imploring a whistle from the guy who got stuck being the ref, and trading free penalty kicks. As far as I can tell from the Odyssey 2001esque early man hoots and hollers, the entire day is just a build up to these 15 minutes. If a storm does indeed come through, the power usually goes out, I eat a romantic solitary candlelight dinner, and sit out on the porch to watch the lightning over the sugar cane fields, which only I ever seem to find interesting. I’ll usually say something like, “Wow! Did you see that lightning bolt?! That was amazing!” to which my host dad drily responds something like “yeah it’s raining.” After reading under the light of my nerd (head) lamp, I climb into bed and start my nightly hunting routine. It turns out that my Maginot mosquito net is not quite as impenetrable as I had hoped and a few persistent little buggers make their way inside throughout the day. Well I don’t rest until every single one of them is dead. It’s actually quite frightening what I have become in just these few months of relative solitude. I find myself gleefully saying things like “Oh looks like we got a tough guy,” “Just where do you think you’re going?” and “That’s right and go tell your friends that the same will happen to them (enter maniacal laugh).” Then I fall asleep ashamed.
My English class fun day camp thingy for the 9th and 6th graders has been going really well and provides a good energy kick in the morning. On the first day of class, I got to the library early, set out all my supplies, wrote encouraging phrases on the board, twiddled my thumbs and waited… for nobody to come. Nuts. So I went for a walk hoping to run into some of the kids so I could find out with the deal was. Going to the different houses actually turned out to be a full day’s ordeal in itself and was pretty enlightening. Even in a tiny community where it seems like everyone should know each other, parents are very wary about letting their kids out of the house—not surprisingly, more so with their daughters. That and the kids had to be convinced that they didn’t just finish school to start a new boring class. I assured the parents and kids that I was trustworthy enough for them to come to my class but not too much so that it wouldn’t be super cool learning time. Since then, I have had two very full classes with a lot of energy and it’s been great. This week we made flags that depicted things we’re good at, our dreams for life, and what has been our biggest achievement thus far. Some highlights were one kid very seriously saying that his dream was to ride an elephant (I’m right there with him) and another saying that his greatest achievement was being in my English class (enter Full House live studio audience ahhhhh). It was hard to hear so many kids say that their dream was to someday be reunited with their parents that left to go to the states. It seems like there is a whole lost generation here. So many households, including my host family, consist of little kids with their grandparents. They loved this activity and the flags turned out beautifully.
There is a very strange phenomenon going on here in Honduras and possibly all of Central America. Bad songs that were popular in the States 20 years ago are making a huge comeback, sometimes translated and sometimes not. I’m curious about what else is out there but here in my little town there are three songs that I hear every single day. The first is the Spanish version of Celine Dion’s Titanic-whatever -it’s- called crappy song. I always catch people closing their eyes and feeling the emotion. The second is the Spanish rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses” which always sparks the horrific memory of being in elementary school and my sister walking in on me listening to the song in the dark staring up at the plastic glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling and contemplating the future world of love. That was one of those cd’s I stole from her collection and made sure to add –rin to the initials E.M. so that whenever anybody said “dude what the hell is this doing in here?” I could reply with “psssh my sister must of put that lame cd in my book.” To which that person would probably reply “yeah lets listen to how lame it is,” and we would secretly rock out to “I’m a cowboy.” The third song is the English version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in which I always belt out the verse with the brilliant, Old School inspired f-bomb right in the middle. Every day I realize again that if people know one word in English, it’s that one.

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