My parents packed me a bug repellent hat, scarf, and two bottles of spray just so I could not have to deal with bug bites. Unfortunately, even with these tools I feel like a open buffet to the critters abroad and around--but as I remind myself, its a challenge, a small one compared to our stay, but nevertheless a bodily resistance against the urge to scratch away the never ending itch. But it's nothing to be concerned about for I have taken a new liking to bananas--something I despised before this trip, but now find heavenly. It's a new lifestyle featuring a new diet and new bites (both of food and bugs)--nothing I can't handle. 

The rains finally stopped and the sun gave us an opportunity to check on our radish crop--looks to be growing, but weeding will soon be necessary.  Mornings bring light meditation, following with interviews for the documentary, and then 5 hours of cooking/tending to the fire.  

Lard has been treated like a new invention, something from the gypsies, that despite its awful look and texture, tastes incredible after just eating rice and beans and salt.  

We turn out the lights around 8 sometimes on a late night, 9--almost  a 5 hour difference in 'sleep-time-zones' here compared to college. 

Here, without the fresh 20 ounce drip coffee, no sugar or cream please, I'm allowed many moments to reflect upon the land, culture, and myself while merely observing it, cross-legged, from on top of a rock.  Though I try this at home, during school, and sometimes at work, my mind, easily distracted by the thousands of inner agendas and brewing headaches to come, can't help but breathe a few clear sighs, until a new thought enters and pushes whatever 'emptiness' to the bottom, where it lies, awaiting a simple moment of resign to the game and open eyes in the passing of 'this-time'. 


I personally feel calmer, at a greater piece, but the awareness that this lifestyle is only temporary--these 8 weeks will pass and I will return home to a full refrigerator, makes me question the reality we live here.  Despite having little food, 15 cent meals, and dirt floors to sleep upon, how true is our experience compared to the life of the people who surround us?  They must combat not only day-by-day problems that we face, but those of lifetimes and generations, something we do not have to overcome.  We simply come here, already physically developed, cleaned teeth, with shots, and antibiotics--for an emergency, and the knowledge that no matter how weak or sickened we are after 8 weeks, we will have full meals to eat and a warm bed to sleep in.  It's as if, no matter how hard we try to escape the roots of our white skin, we can't also help drag them between our toes as we walk through the land.  Even in our attempt to buy food, Zach and Chris are forced to bargain and reduce the 'Gringo' prices that are immediately placed upon them (but recently after a few weeks of de-fattening and dirtying, I think the vendors may be noticing our slightly sunken cheeks and offering better prices).  


In all honesty (for I swore to tell the truth over a cup of coffee with friends before I left the U.S.), our experience is an attempt to be one of the many, living on one-dollar-a-day, but without the hardest struggles that many of the families we interview face.  Just last week we learned a family lost half their crop to the hard rains and mudslides.  Bad luck here doesn't apply as it does in the U.S.--we have insurance or government to cover the loss of a house or assets, whereas the family who lost '10,000 Q' will receive nothing for their grievances, no extra pay; we did learn though that some warm clothes were donated to them from the Microfinance bank.  The family will not have enough food to eat some days, but through our research and interviews with 'Alomgir', head of the Grameen Microfinance Bank, they have begun to offer new loans to people whose crop or life has been destroyed by Volcanoes, hurricanes, mudslides, etc.  Normally Grameen would only offer a loan every 6 months, but for the people affected, they have made adjustments to offer an extended wait period for repayments of loans until the family recovered. 'Alongir' also mentioned that for those affected they have started offering the opportunity to take an additional new loan to get started again.  The fact that these disasters can simply uproot a family from their prior lives without any warnings and safety-nets of funds is unsettling, but the response and change that the Grameen and Microfinance banks are making to better accommodate the lives of the poor is at least a step forward in providing further assistance and empowerment to people who live so scarcely but are also needing to save and budget for the unexpected; a wedding, natural disaster, medicine for emergencies, or funerals.  


This trip thus far has had its hunger struggles, lack of sleep, and even times of peace, but whenever the four of us, a family, have food, have shelter, or time to think, I try to stop and realize the beauty of living this life, an examined one from all angles, atop the great pine, amongst the roots and vine, or even within from the inside; sometimes ignorantly seeing all that passes around us, as two opposing categories--wrong & right--a book of sorts by which to live, all the answers told to us through its text--but this text can't be deciphered here, nor there, but only in the city of mirrors, seen in them the recipient's own reflection in spirit, in nature, in balance with everything around it.  Unfortunately, this reflection too will change as we rediscover more about our community here in Pena Blanca, but I welcome the changes it has provided us thus far; some as small as bug-bites or a new fruit liking, but some as strong as the building of relationships in a new community, so that someday over a hot cup of coffee, one can question "the importance of memory" and give a reply. 



 




 




 


Comments

Nagisa
07/03/2010 02:00

Oh my godddddd, don't itch them. Slap them instead. >< Jesus that sucks.

Reply
z
07/04/2010 10:22

itch them until they ooze

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tish
07/07/2010 06:35

Have the village people helped you with any local treatments? Do they all have bedbugs?

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