Thursday, October 26, 2006

I went to the pitcher

"Se fue a la porra" (the title of this entry) is an idiomatic expression I've heard from Isai quite a few times, which describes a common situation with the work around here. It means the person you were working with was left with some kind of responsibility and they just took off to go do their own thing. This week, that person is me because my peace corps friends in Western Honduras, most of whom I haven't seen since last January, are organizing a shindig for Halloween and I finally couldn't resist leaving my paltry responsibilities in Agua Fria any longer. I have gone on a couple decent vacations already (Semana Santa in El Salvador and with Dad in Guatemala) but the reason I consider this event a first is that I pretty much decided, definitely, to do it last night, and now I'm in Tegucigalpa getting some stuff taken care of before I continue on to the town of Copan Ruinas. If you didn't guess, this is a pretty touristy spot that has direct access to the Mayan ruins of Copan. I am still in the inicial stages of this journey, so I will have to give more details about it when it's over.

My work lately has been the usual mixture of different things, but for some reason I'm starting to feel a little less anxious about the lack of a big meaty project. I have always said, since I first started, that if I had any spare time I would put it into education projects and now I want to set aside time specifically to do that. I am starting to figure out what I'm going to be doing exactly in the next few months too, which is EXCITING! It's coffee harvest time again and there's a shitload of work to do with the cooperative, so I'm going to help out with any of that stuff that I can and work on setting up our office here, and start planning for the next school year which starts in Febuary.

This week and the last one I spent a decent amount of time running back and forth with Guillermo Martinez doing a small proposal for funds that we're going to send to the FHIS (Fondo Hondureño de Inversion Social) to build a couple cement culverts across the large creek that runs through his community of San Juan Arriba. Our computer here in Agua Fria has been messed up lately and working/not working erratically (I think it's either the humidity or irregularities in the electric current) so we had to go down to El Corpus to do that work, and then we found out that the FHIS wasn't going to do any cost studies, i.e. they had to present the entire thing with the costs, including quotes on prices for materials and stuff, so Guillermo went to Choluteca for that stuff and we went back to El Corpus yesterday to finish the proposal. It's short but sweet and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. If it passes, which seems to be a more likely scenario with the FHIS than it is with certain other institutions, it will be one of the most significant things I have done here, which is ironic considering the relatively small amount of time it cost me.

Yesterday had a couple other interesting events besides that.... one was that, when we got there, the electricity was out so we had some dead time, and I went to the health center in El Corpus to have them take out a "torsalo" that I have on my head. What's this, you ask? It's a larva of the botfly, an insect that lays its eggs on you and the larva lives under your skin for a few months, feeding off your live flesh until it's ready to come out. I went to the health center in Agua Fria a few days ago, but the nurse there told me to go to El Corpus because "these Cuban doctors don't numb you before taking the larva out, they just start cutting. And they don't always get the torsalo out."

So, confident that I was going to get a serious medical treatment, I went to the doctor in El Corpus. This was his solution: Put me on a gurney to stabilize my head and squeeze my scalp as hard as he possibly could, while his helper hovered overhead with a pair of tweeezers waiting for the larva to show itself so he could grab it. It didn't work. I guess I have to wait until it gets bigger.... well that's freaking wonderful. I'll probably stop by REAL clinic in Choluteca that the peace corps will pay for on my way back to Agua Fria.

That same day in El Corpus, I bought a 750 ml bottle of honey (Flor de Caña rum label still attached) and took it back to Agua Fria with me. It was unusually cheap (50 lempiras, or about $2.50) and really good. I arrived in the afternoon and got caught up in some stuff with Isai, so it was about 7 pm and dark when we were ready to go back to Agua Fria but a rainstorm descended, so we headed to a friend's house to wait it out. While there, I decided to show them the honey I had bought and share a little because it was so good, and when I opened my bag I saw a liquid disaster. At some point in the trip from El Corpus to Joselino's porch, the glass bottle had broken (guess it wasn't as sturdy as it looked) and emptied its beautiful amber contents all over everything in my backpack, which of course only contained the following things:
My cell phone
All my papers and notes relating to the Maestro en Casa classes
All the notes I've taken relating to other work since like June
My calculator
A bunch of other less-important stuff

The cellphone, currently, still works, even though the honey oozed all up inside it and who knows how much longer it will last. I was able to SORT of wash off the notebooks, but the paper had absorbed that honey and is never going to be the same again. I didn't have time to clean my bag thoroughly so I left it hanging from a beam, but it'll probably be an ant nest when I get home anyways.

I need to get moving. Hope everyone is well!



At 4:04 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

It was great to see you in Copán, Gabe! That honey sounds like a mess...but one of those things that is bound to happen sometime in your life. Hope you had a good trip home.

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am glad to hear that you got out of Agua Fria and went to the pitcher. You need & deserve a break once in a while.

You talked about the charm of bot flies when we were there visiting, but I didn't expect you would get to experience that first hand. What fun!

Oddly enough, when I was in the PC I had a jar of honey break inside my backpack. There was really only once place I knew to get honey at that time in Guatemala & I was bringing some home after visiting a friend. So I guess you are just a chip off the old block, or a shard from the old jar. It turns out that honey stains things.


At 9:56 PM, Blogger oscarh said...

If you need to, most electronic boards can be washed and dried if you feel adventurous. And I mean air DRIED for a few days after you towel them may also want to touch them up with blow drier in the cool setting before reassembly, as water can sneak under chips and such and stay there for a while. My wife dumped a glass of water on my PDA once and it stopped working. I just toweled it dry, set it aside w/o dissasembling it for a couple of months and now it works again. Your problem is stickier, and you mileage may vary. Buena suerte,

At 7:02 AM, Blogger pineconeboy said...

Yeah, I would assume the same thing about electronic boards that got wet actually, as long as the moisture didn't get into the small batteries they sometimes carry. The problem is, what happened to my phone will never dry. :P Inexplicably, though, it still seems to work although nobody can ever hear what I'm saying now.... I think the problem is simply honey in the 'mic', heh.

Dad - that's pretty funny. Seriously though, that bottle looked a lot tougher than it turned out to be.

Suzanne - It was great to see you too. Keep writing, I love reading your blog (my family does, too!)

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Make sure you report later on the extrication (or hatching as the case may be) of the torsalo. & as disgusting as this is, just imagine how much worse it would be if it had been a dung beetle that laid an egg in your head!


At 6:16 AM, Blogger pineconeboy said...


Wait... what are you insinuating?!


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