peace to peace corps

it seems that saying goodbye is at the same time really easy (physically), and impossible (emotionally). you can never really be ok with potentially never seeing a friend again. at least, not if you're not crazy. but the question is, how comfortable do you need to be before the goodbye stops being painful? and what can one do to avoid that business alltogether? I guess on one end, you can just never really face reality and just avoid goodbyes. You can also embrace the idea, and do it with poise, or whatever word you want to use there. But in the end, I think it's all bullshit. Because in either case you're just lying to yourself. I do think though, that there are other options. I personally prefer extending the goodbye over a long period. Not physically, but psychologically. You start saying goodbye months before you actually leave, that way the actual act means nothing, because mentally you're already there. However, that does have unintended consequences almost every time. Because if you actually care about a person, that last goodbye is just as hard, if not harder, because rather than extending it, you've been building it up. Or, you cut a person off too soon, and maybe even never reach the true potential that your connection could have been, had you not spent the whole time saying goodbye. Which makes me wonder, since I have been following this philosophy for some time, how many personal relationships have I killed before they even formed? And what's the alternative? Because goodbyes are inevitable, and then the question that appears is the following: Is it truly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?



ok, so i've had a couple experiences that i wanted to get on paper before i forget them. to be honest, i wrote them on post-its days ago, and now the details are becoming muddy, so if it all sounds boring and whatnot, well then, go read something else. i keep realizing that this blog is more than anything a record for myself, so if i seem apathetic, well it's because i am.
ok, so first and foremost, it is raining. and yes, i wrote about this before, but it's getting worse. it rains with gusting winds, every night, power and cell phones go daily, and yesterday we had our first hurricane. or second. i don't know. the point is it sucked. it was as if i was in a wind tunnel. and i was indoors. water came from all sides, falling almost laterally, coming in from under the door (and i live on the second floor). the roof leaked everywhere, even though it never leaks, and every outdoor surface had at least 2 inches of standing water on it. it hailed. yeah, that's right, balls of ice fell from the sky in a tropical country. i bet it's not even this shitty in jersey, thousands of miles to the north. and the interesting thing is, for the first time i was a little disconcerted. i would say scared, because i trust our concrete house to withstand a little rain, but the lack of electricity, missing cell phone service, falling tress, and constant lightining strikes feet from my house, made me wonder if our new construction would survive the storm. actually i was sitting for some time, watching the long rebar towers sticking out of our new roof, hoping one would be the recipient of a lightning bolt, and that it would forever remain a deformed mass of iron, but i wasn't so lucky. kind of boring actually in the end.
on a different note, my work is done. at least my community development business. although one story i think is worth noting. so my garden project had one stipulation: lack of participation would result in the return of materials to the project. and i loved using this as a threat to get people to work. maybe not so much as a threat, but the ultimatum had the desired effect. "get this shit done, or i take everything away and give it to somebody who actually gives a damn". and people took it seriously. except for one family, and i decided that they would not get the pleasure of calling my bluff. so a couple weeks ago, i got into a car with my buddy luis and the local community leader, and we drove up the mountain to the tiny adobe house. it stands in the middle of a coffee farm, and there is no road access, so i was forced to leave the car and walk to the front door through dense wet coffee trees. when i arrived, a 70 year old man met me with a stern look. his son had signed up for the project and then left, supposedly with no intention of building the garden. and the conversation (after all the initial pleasantries) went something like this:
me: sir, due to your son's noncompliance with the project rules, i have to pick up the fencing and take it back.
old dude: well, that won't be possible because it's not here. they (the family) took it with them.
me: sadly, that's not going to work. if there's no fencing, then someone will have to pay me the cost, so that the materials can be procured for someone else. if you'd like, you can see the contract your son signed.
old dude: i don't understand this. why do you even need fencing, i used to plant acres of cabbage without the need for any of this fancy crap. and anyway, isn't all this shit free? didn't you gift it to us? how can you take it back?
me: well, to be honest, it's not free. it was given out with conditions, and those were not met. and rules are rules. that's one of the reasons this country is how it is, because no one takes laws seriously.
old dude: well there you have a point.

and this is where it got interesting, because the old guy called his grandson and told him to pull the fencing out of the house and give it to me (yeah that's right, the fencing that supposedly had left with his son).
after about 20 more minutes of the old dude telling me how gardening can be accomplished without materials, i dragged the roll of fencing through the farm with a stupid smile on my face. and yes, i did feel guilty for taking something away from such a poor and humble family. but i did offer them the option of keeping it and making a garden even though their son was a fuckup. but they said no. and now another family is benefiting from this material. hopefully, this will also remain as a lesson for the community as a whole, and people won't take future projects as lightly. or maybe not. at least my conscience is clean.


july, maybe last post for PC

it's been raining daily, starting at 11 am, for almost, well i actually don't know how long now. it feels as if forever, but i know it's only been a few weeks. the point is, life has been forced indoors, and that can drive a person a little stir crazy. and since endless rain here is tied to power outages (the last two days we didn't have electricity for 40 hours straight), being indoors in the darkness is a little tough. luckily i'll be leaving soon. i think i should look at this as a test of my abilities, a challenge. to add salt to the wound, or make matters worse, or whatnot, it has become almost impossible to dry clothes (since no one here has a dryer and there isn't enough sun), and laundry isn't easy either, so i am currently going commando, and have been for days. hopefully i will have underwear for tomorrow.
on a different note, my work here is basically done. this friday, we will be having our last meeting for the garden project. after seeing all of the hard work that has been accomplished, i can only smile. people have done things that i never imagined would occur so early on, implementing pretty important novel techniques. and the crazy thing is, all these practices have been working out, and so some participants have even changed their minds about organic crop production. i had a guy yesterday hand me a radish the size of an 11 year old's fist. he couldn't believe it either. i just sat there dumbfounded taking pictures.
in the end though, this all pales in comparison to the anxiety of finally getting out of here. the interesting thing is, it's the same as when i left for honduras in the first place. i am excited to move on, but sad to leave. i guess it will happen everywhere i go, might as well get used to it.



ok, i'm back to pose two questions:
1. do you think that if all the time that people spend discussing theology and going to church were to be invested in something productive (and yes, that's offensive but i don't care), like learning a trade or studying science, would we live in a better world?
2. is it me, or is religion inherently selfish, at least in the case of christianity, where one can only save oneself? what about saving others? and i don't mean in the sense of preaching and missionary work, but actually achieving salvation for others. self sacrifice style. like the homeboy jesus did, supposedly. even though we're all still fucked according to the bible, and unless we accept him as our lord and savior we are condemned to damnation. what kind of belief structure is that? what if i do good and live a life with no sin? what then? do i still go to hell cuz i think jesus was just some bearded dude? how does that make sense?

ok, it's not the time to rant, but i've had a long day filled with people telling me to tie a rock to my feet and jump in the ocean, cuz that would be better than not believing in god, or something. :P


may, almost june, 2011

seems like i'm down to a monthly update, which i guess, under my circumstances of living in the mountains is no big deal. granted, i do have satellite internet in my office, and all the luxuries of living in a developed country, but still, just go with it. pretend this is being written from the deep jungles of a forgotten land, while spider monkeys curiously watch from the canopy. soon, natives will arrive and attempt to sacrifice...ok enough of that. now i'm just getting offensive. let's get down to brass tacks, or whatever the saying is.
in the last month so much has happened that i don't even think i can fit it all into this blog. not physically, but in the sense that, by the time i write a few paragraphs i'll get distracted by one of the many insects/animals/weird occurences outside my office door, and well, that will be the end of that. so, here it goes:
1. panels are up and functioning. people seem happy, although i have yet to receive the standing ovation i was expecting. maybe i'll never get it. but really, who cares. at least the work got done, people have light, and now they can stay up til the wee hours watching telenovelas and rotting their brains. mission accomplished. hopefully, this will count as real experience and i can go on to be some sort of important renewable energy dude. otherwise, ill probably end up in a basement somewhere, looking at old photos, eating pints of generic ice cream, and falling asleep on my keyboard drooling into the cracks. :)
2. garden's are all distributed except for a small portion, and hopefully soon, people will be eating veggies everywhere. so far, thee interest of the populace is high, although that may be a sham. i think that the true test will come at the end of august, when everyone would have harvested the last of their crop, and well...if they don't go to buy more, then that's the end of my little dream project. but for the time being, i can pretend that i have made some sort of difference. the best part tho, is that a key group of people still call me and come visit to tell me that their plants are growing well, that they are harvesting X that's THIS BIG, and whatnot. and that brings a smile to my face (i'm not sure where else it could be brought to, but whatever).
3. the rest of my work is also basically done. i have gotten myself involved in a crazy regional improved stoves initiative, but it requires little on my part, so i'm not stressing. if it works, then good, and i can take some credit for the organization of the whole thing, but otherwise, that's life, that's honduras, and that's development for ya. shit happens.
4. i have also taken two awesome vacations recently. one, i think i wrote about in the last entry, so it doesn't need to get mentioned. but about a week ago I went to UTILA to go scuba diving, which was incredible. i am now an advanced open water diver, which is pretty dope, although i'm not sure when I will actually be able to use those skills. we did all sorts of interesting dives, saw some really awesome critters (rays, octopii (i don't know how to spell that word), giant crabs, barracudas, etc), and i almost got the bends. actually, more like, i'm an idiot, drank to much the night before, got dehydrated, and thought i had the bends, but...that doesn't sound as romantic, so for my purposes, i got the bends. we also got to see a bit of CEIBA's carnaval, which was interesting, but not incredible. it was like any fair event (not fair like pretty, but like carnival, whatever, you get the point), just bigger. people stood around, ate a lot, walked a bunch, and some had the guts to dance (mostly us stupid gringos).
5. now i'm back in town, trying to sort out my life for the next couple of months before going back to the homeland. and now, we were just informed that our Close of Service date is being moved up a month due to budget problems, so i will be home much earlier than expected. which is a relief and disconcerting at the same time. the closer the date, the more i think about it, the more i lose my mind, the more interesting things here get. so it's an adventure to say the least. the good thing is, i will basically be trapped on my mountain for the next three months, which will give me plenty of time to finish everything, close up shop, read everything i have wanted to for the last few months, watch a shit-ton (literally) of movies, and just get my head on straight before going home. oh yeah, and start looking for a job, which right now sounds like a daunting experience.
ok, so that's basically it. as for stories, well there are many, and it's hard to recall them without some sort of stimuli. i have met some really incredible people in the last month, some that have truly surprised me, and have opened my mind up to bigger and better things. it's amazing how in the least expected moments, things happen, and you change forever.
rainy season has also started, which brings about it's own diversions. frequent power outages mean pitch black nights, which is impossible to experience in the states. by pitch black, i mean, you put your hand to your nose and it's not visible. nights when you truly can experience isolation, or even enlightenment. to be honest, sometimes, it's just downright frightening.
rainy season also means the appearance of a variety of anoying insects, and other critters, that constantly remind you of their existence. for example, there are these little guys called palomillas, which swarm at night for about a week, fly into houses, into your hair, into your clothes, then shed their wings, mate, and die. it's romantic in a sense, until you look around and your walls are covered in dead insects and wings.
and with that, i think i will leave you.