Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Here comes the sun....

These last couple weeks the weather has really started to improve. It still rains in copious amounts every once in awhile, usually at night, but the days are almost entirely sunny now and it´s been wonderfully cool up on the mountain. This morning was almost chilly, maybe somewhere in the realm of 55 degrees fahrenheit when I got up just before dawn. Sweet!

I´ve almost finished with the training events here in my community over the same material I was learning a couple weeks ago at the IHCAFE center in La Fey. They have gone surprisingly smoothly from my end, although it´s hard to know what exactly the campesinos are thinking about me when they leave since it would be an understatement to say that I´m new at this compared to them. Basically, I drew together a summary of my notes from the training in La Fey (19 pages of them) and condensed it into what I thought I could get through in one day, without putting anybody to sleep, and still get the most important information across. I made a few visual aids on big sheets of paper with some text and some pictoral representations to help out the people who can´t read (and there are plenty of those). I didn´t get a chance to plan too much with Guillermo, the cooperative member who went with me and who supposedly had to do the presentation, because he´s been super incredibly busy with work to secure a project of bringing electricity to his community. He came to one capacitation and I did two others essentially by myself, with some help from Isaí (especially in the realm of answering questions).

The reason we did three capacitations is because it would have been difficult/impossible to get anything real done with 50 people at once, both in terms of spacial logistics and crowd dynamics. This helped me polish my presentation a bit, which I must admit was not awesome at the first event. I didn´t really think too much about getting nervous or having trouble with the presentation beforehand, because the truth is that even though my Spanish isn´t perfect, it´s pretty good and I´m probably more experienced at this kind of thing than anybody else in the community. However, picture this situation: You spend four days learning as much as you can about a completely new subject, which is a rather technical form of agriculture. You have to assimilate all that information and present it to a bunch of people who are not only older than you, they have spent their whole lives doing things that you are trying to explain to them how to do properly, and all in a language which you speak at the level of your average 9 year old. The first day I stood up to begin the presentation and all this finally occurred to me. I was like ¨oh yeah, that.¨ I´m not the kind of person that gets all worked up before having to do something really important. I just don´t think about it at all until the moment arrives, THEN I get nervous. So I stammered a bit and forgot some stuff, but I think they had the general idea that I was talking about coffee and the commercialization thereof. And the next time it went much smoother.

Today I´m in town to type up the exam I´m going to give my english students on Saturday, and once that is over I will probably be working quite a bit with the cooperative to help out people with their beneficios during the coffee harvest which is now in full swing. Despite all the activities of the harvest, I think I will have more free time because the school year will be over. I´m planting some tomatoes and sweet peppers and then whatever arrives in mom´s package in my garden. I also gotta finish up this map I´m drafting for Isaí of the area so they can hang it on the wall of their new building and put little flags where the farms of cooperative members are located.

In the realm of soccer, it has sort of faded into the background of everyday life for me, but I am still playing games on Sunday and, amazingly, my team seems to win more than they lose. This alone makes them almost the winningest team I´ve ever been on, woot.

A long time ago I promised more good expressions and slang terms, and so here they are. Most of these I have picked up now in Agua Fría although some are from the ¨slang dictionary¨ they gave us in training. Still, you hear them all being used.

¿Se halla aquí? - Do you encounter yourself here? The first time a guy asked me this, and when I gave him a blank expression he realized that might need clarification and said ¨what I mean is, do you FIND yourself here?¨ Apparently that means ¨do you like it here.¨

Para que le cuento! - Why am I even telling you this?! (i.e. because words could never adequately describe it). This is like an extreme superlative along the lines of ¨unbelievable¨ to describe how amazing something is. It could be good or bad.

De miedo - scary! Used a lot like ¨awesome.¨ So good it´s scary.

Da pánico - It causes panic. Like de miedo, but moreso even.

Tiene tres huevos - He´s got three balls. i.e. That guy´s a real man.

ahora/ahorita - Trying to get exact expressions of time is a joke here. Partly it´s because nobody has a watch, but also because there´s no emphasis whatsoever on punctuality. The literal translations are ¨now¨ and ¨right now¨ but ahora more commonly means anytime during the current day, and ahorita is anytime within half an hour in either direction of the current moment. It can be more depending on the propensity to exaggerate of the person you´re talking to.

Un POCO. - The words literally mean ¨a little bit¨, but when you hear that kind of emphasis on ¨poco¨ it means a heck of a lot.

Me agarró: la noche, la lluvia, etc. The night/rainstorm/whatever grabbed me. Means you got caught outside in such an event. If you end up walking home after dark and forgot your flashlight, that´d be a good time to use ¨me agarró la noche.¨

Vaya pues - Go on, then. Means basically the same thing as OK or allright.

No, pues si - No, well, yes. It´s like ¨well, yeah.¨ or ¨I guess so.¨

Ya estuvo - It already was. Means something is totally finished, like a piece of work perhaps.

Jalón - A big pull. Means a hitch, as in with hitchiking which is very common here and generally quite safe. Nice to be in a country where people actually pick you up and it´s already saved my bacon a couple times.

Pacuso - It describes a bad odor, specifically how people smell who don´t bathe. The word comes from the first two letters of pata, culo, and sobaco... foot, ass, and armpit.

Ir en el bus de las once - Go in bus number eleven. i.e. to walk (two legs look like 11).

I´d like to mention here that I absolutely do not have time today to give more news or reply to your emails so I figured the best thing to do would at least be to update the blog to get some stuff out to everybody. Keep it real. :)


At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you get the hurricane reports from fellow Peace Corps workers in the more vulnerable areas? How 'bout Beta?
Yer mom

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mi solo hermano,

Las frases pacuso y ir en el bus de las once fueron chistosisimos! Me rei todo la noche. Ahorita, necesito dormirme.


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