Friday, September 02, 2005

One armed referree

It's that time again!

Barring other happenstances, I think Friday is going to become my day to go into town. The bus is not very crowded and there usually aren't important events scheduled on this day.

I somehow got sucked into a soccer team, but it's cool because it's a good bunch of kids and a couple 40 year olds with potbellies that play offense and cherry pick. Probably half the team smokes and a couple them bring pistols with them. This is fairly standard though because the mountain roads can be dangerous. There's desperaders in them hills, for real.

So last Sunday I headed down to the pulperia to buy groceries and the kid that lives there was like "want to play soccer?" And I was like, "sure." So I fetched my tacos (cleats) and we walked like 6 km to the field, got there an hour late, and started an hour and a half later when the rest of the team showed up. The ref, as my title indicates, had one leg and got around the field on crutches. We played two full 1:30 minute games because the other team had a crapload of players. So we played half of them first and then the other half. We tied the first game, but won the second one which is what counted. I played all but the second half of the first game on defense. Other highlights include a ridiculous thunderstorm with lightning that came within approximately 300 yards (counting seconds), the ball getting stuck in an absolutely enormous strangler fig that overhangs the field (we threw sticks at it until it came down and played it as soon as it touched the field) and having to chase cows off to start. The field was tiny, maybe half the size of a regulatio one, but they said it was "macizo" (great) because it's so flat. Oh, I also scored a goal (against my own team... it was going in anyways). That was the game we won, so whateva. All told I probably walked 8 miles that day at the very least and played 2:30 hours or so of soccer. I could barely move on Monday. I would say overall that my skill level is about the average of the team and I know strategy better, so I don't feel useless playing with these guys (my high school team for example would probably roll them). We have another game on Sunday that is supposedly a two hour hike away. At least there's only one game this time heh.

Not a ton else has happened since my last posting. I planted some carrots and radishes in my garden, worked a bunch on my compost pile (carrying manure in grain sacks from the horse pasture, chopping up plants with a machete so they decay faster and whatnot) and went to another meeting with the USAID guys. This time there was an older dude there who works specifically with protected areas who was really friendly and patient and knew his stuff. I really hope I get to work with him. We brainstormed some problem-solving strategies to start working on within the community and got free pop and sandwiches. The same day (yesterday) a journalist from Mexico who's been living in Honduras for awhile came up to work on a story about the state of coffee production in Honduras. She's Danish and named "maja" (pronounced "Maya") and was a very interesting person to talk to. Her spanish was absolutely excellent and English not bad either, so we chatted a bit in two different languages. It's a real pleasure once in awhile to speak a language you don't suck at when you're deprived of that privilege for long periods of time.

The other thing I wanted to talk about and forgot to mention last time is how I get money out of the bank. It's pretty funny. Get this: I write checks to myself. That's how all the peace corps volunteers do it. I go up there, pull a check out of my checkbook with my name and account number on it, date the check, write it to "Gabe Hensold", sign it Gabe Hensold, and then endorse it by Gabe Hensold. I love it.

Last piece of business, I have a better number to be contaced at. It is the pulperia where I go for groceries, the son of the owner is the guy who invited me to play soccer and we seem to be pretty good friends now. Supposedly I can also make calls from there to the states and I think the line is better. The number is 754-1225.




At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Gabe,
Now you'll really be able to play with the guys in Mt. Vernon. The fields are absolutely packed all the time. Soccer rules with this crowd. Remember that my friend, Rocio, did her whole master's on the importance of soccer in Mexico. Do you remember how everybody (esp. her dad) was late to her wedding? When her American fiancee expressed concern, she said, "Don't worry, mi amor. They're watching the game. They'll be here when it's over!" And they were.
Con Cariño,
Tu mama

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your description of how you got money sounds like the same way we did it in Guate back in the 70's. The thing that really amazed me about the banking experience was the amazing speed with which the bank tellers could count a stack of bills, thumbing through it with incredible dexterity. I heard that the new tellers had 100 bills checked out to them over night so they could practice. Do you have machine-gun toting soldiers standing guard in front of the banks?


At 9:31 PM, Blogger Lynnette said...

Hey Gabe!!

Max and I have been reading your blog and really enjoyed it. We are going to post a link to yours from ours so our friends and family can check it out too.

I noticed you are getting spam comments and I found a way to prevent that. It is called the word verification option. Here's the link to the info
hope that helps.

Take care, hope to see you soon. Tela was a lot of fun!!

At 10:38 AM, Blogger pineconeboy said...

Dad, there´s guys with machine guns friggin´ everywhere. You just get used to seeing young guys in army duds with M16s all over the place whenever you´re in a large town. The bank guards more typically carry police shotguns.

Thanks Lynette - I´m going to try and figure out how to put a link to your blog and Suzanne´s also. Cheers from the opposite side of the country! :)



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