11 April, 2008

Fire and Water

Week two in site is coming to a close, and I stayed in my little village the whole week if you don’t count trips to run into the nearest town to check e-mail and buy vegetables. It was my first week alone at site, and I think it went really well. At my school, I sat in on a few classes and went to a PTA meeting, and my biggest headache (literally) came from a low beam in the principal’s office that I am the only one tall enough at the school to have it be a bother. After my school director commented that Adam was the only other person to have had a problem with said beam, I named the beam “Mata Gringos” or gringo killer, and got my only intentional laugh involving the load bearing pain in my neck of the week, the others all came from more slapstick situations.

At the volcano observatory I started trying to take some gas measurements from Santiaguito, but visibility is usually pretty sketchy and almost impossible after 9:00, so I am lucky to get an hour of actual observation time, and it hasn’t been cloud free yet so the data isn’t really good. I did get to know the observer on duty a bit though. He’s in his late thirties I think, has lived in the area all his life, and likes to talk. I’m pretty sure he’ll be a really good resource for when I want to start community interviews. I get to work with the other observer next week, as they work every other week, and I hear he is pretty cool too.

My afternoons have been full of hand washing laundry and cooking dinner without the aid of appliances. I have decided that I am a lousy cook. It isn’t that my meals aren’t palatable, but that they never end up in the same place that they started. For example, I was going to make boiled potatoes and carrots with a fried sausage on Monday night, but it ended up being something much closer to hash. I over cooked the potatoes, under cooked the carrots, and didn’t quite have my act together with the sausage. As nothing was burned, I cut up the carrots and left them in a minute longer while I grabbed some butter, threw it on the potatoes, mashed them up and mixed in the sausage and finally the carrots. It just goes to prove that butter can fix anything. The rains at night are pretty crazy. They usually are done by around 10 PM, but as this is typically loooong past this guy’s bed time, I don’t get to enjoy the quiet of the evening.

When the rain starts, everything stops. People close up shop because no one will come in. If people are visiting somewhere when it starts, they typically wait wherever they are until it stops, and the owners of the location are very hospitable. I was in a little comedor today in the town close by when the rain kicked up, and if I hadn’t been able to point out the micro that was just leaving to go back to Las Marias, I am confident that the lady who runs the place would have made me stay the night, because by the time it ended up stopping all the buses were done running for the day. The people look at me like I’m a moron when I go out in the stuff; the gringo who doesn’t even have enough sense to come in out of the rain is supposed to be teaching them about the environment. Oh well... Peace.


jcvertin said...

Mr. Hable is coming in tonight for Senior Walk tomorrow and he, I, and Bennie Westie are going to have a moment at the QHH were we remember all that is great about the one and only Kyle Brill. Take care bud. ;)

Sharon said...

Haha, don't feel bad about your cooking Kyle! I'm pretty sure I had the exact same situation as you described, only I'm not living in a 3rd world country without appliances... I just suck at cooking!