Thursday, February 01, 2007

Plaguey

These last couple months I've been through a pretty rough week on two different occasions when I thoughtlessly walked through a cow pasture somewhere and then forgot to check myself for ticks afterwards. The first was when mom and Maya were here (luckily, they escaped my itchy fate) and the second was at the beginning of this week. Sometimes people complain about their cows or dogs or whatever being really plagoso, or ¨plaguey¨, i.e. covered with pest insects like ticks or sandflies, and that's me right now. I've got approximately fifty different bites (yes, I counted) on my knees, upper legs, and around my groinal area. The good news is that they don't carry any diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease, but the bad news is that they're exponentially more numerous than ticks in the States. Also, I don't know if these little bastards give you itchier bites or what, but I sure as heck notice them more (maybe it's the sheer quantity). I've definitely had some of my more miserable moments so far in Honduras lying awake at night in hot sheets, tossing and turning for hours and trying futilely to stop thinking about itching.

From what I remember, last year had much less problems with ticks and more problems with sandflies, I think because it was cooler and wetter. It was reasonably cool through the first part of January, and rained as recently as December (last year it stopped raining right at the end of October) but lately it has been getting pretty darn hot, noticeably hotter than I remember it being before, especially in Agua Fría. Choluteca is in a league of its own for uncomfortable temperatures, just like always.

Last week, I spent three days in Siguatepeque at a gathering of PAM students called Project Workshop (we did it last year too in December). It was a good opportunity to meet all of the people from the new group of PAM volunteers that came in september and discuss opportunities for project collaboration with them. I helped out by working together with two other people to give a presentation on coffee production and commercialization to the newbies, because they apparently didn't get sufficient information about it in training and many of them live in coffee-centric communities. That was really a pleasure because I got to be the expert and present some information that my audience was extremely interested in. You could probably say I enjoyed it so much because, with respect to other peoples' perception of me, I'm kind of insecure about being seen as a knowledgeable guy. I wouldn't necessarily argue that point. Well anyway, I had to enjoy that while it lasted, because it may be the last time anyone gives a crap about most of the things I learned in the peace corps, haha.

After four of the guys in their group got expelled for idiotic reasons (see one of my december entries for details), they are down to ten girls and four guys, but they still seem to have some spunk and I think they're doing pretty well in their communities. There is one volunteer from Wyoming who is not only a geologist, but also knows a crapload about using GIS, which I have wanted to try and work with because it would undoubtedly come in handy. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to learn some stuff from her, but I intend to try.

Now I'm back in ¨the zone¨ again, as they say, and getting ready for the coming school year as well as helping the cooperative wrap up some coffee sale-related things. I have also giving computer classes to a local girl named Ingrid who is helping the cooperative with some of the secretarial work that was piling up faster than they could take care of it. She is one hell of a smart cookie (I could swear she picks up on computers faster than I did when I was learning) and I hope she sticks around the area, because she would be an invaluable help for the cooperative after I go back to the states. It's a big relief to finally be teaching SOMEONE else to use that machine, dangit.

I had to go back to the community of La Palma a couple times to follow up on some of the work that Patrick was doing there, including getting them a cellphone antenna and putting together a proposal for a small tree project to an NGO that just arrived in the area called FORCUENCAS. They want to plant some trees around the community's water source, which is always a good idea. FORCUENCAS (the acronym stands for some name that's so long and ridiculous that I can never remember it all) seems pretty straightforward and disposed to get projects moving, which is a good thing to see, and they have offered to help us out with certain aspects of our own tree nursery project. I have my reservations because I've definitely heard THAT before (*cough*USAID*cough*), however they do seem to have a different attitude and more focus on building physical projects. Their name just keeps turning up in communities all over the area, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of those guys.

The yearly Feria, or town festival for El Corpus, started like yesterday or Tuesday and will be going on until its culmination on Saturday. That's the day I plan on going, along with Osmaris and a few of his friends. Some people around here talk shit about the El Corpus Feria and say it's no good because there's nobody getting gored to death in the bullring or anything of that nature, but I really liked it last year.... it's a small, beautiful colonial town with stone streets that gets packed with people and good food and drunks and lots of fireworks. How can you go wrong?

As always, I love you guys and miss y'all (Glad we got to talk, sibs! Even if it was briefly). Love and prayers to Grandpa, of course. I do miss bread and beer, you know.

Gabe

5 Comments:

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may have not gotten any tick bites...but let's not forget all of the MANY MANY mosquito bites that I got!!~Maya

 
At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmm...beer...I just wish my fridge wasn't so far away. I think there's a Dead Guy in there. I'll keep it cold for you bro.

 
At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gabe! Kerosene! Duh! I researched those damn ticks when I got back (since I was so sick and wanted to eliminate that possibility) and you can get terrible fever from them and need to get anitbiotic so you don't develop other complications from it.

 
At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Kelly Chadwick said...

Gabe-

I just read through your blogs since November. It's interesting to hear about your life down there. Your comments about feelings, frustrations, etc are refreshingly honest compared to many peoples correspondances.

Renee and I just got back from the Yucatan/Maya Riviera and had a great time. I was lamenting never having learned a second language and considering Spanish. Latin America has been increasingly of interest with me, so hopefully we'll make it down again soon.

Look forward to reading more of your entries.

Take care,

Kelly

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Como fue la feria en El Corpus? Bien alegre? Te echamos de menos. Te extranamos mucho. (No tengo con que hacer enyes/acentos.) Imaginalos, OK?)
Tu mom

 

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