Otro Mundo Ausente

Changing the blog layout now... For those of you who happen accross my blog these days, you're in for something different from my Peace Corps doings. I'm back state-side in the UP, Michigan, finishing my master in volcanology. These days you'll hear about my doings post-PC, and occassionally some random thoughts I just need to get out there. Politics, conservation, persepctive, people who bug me.... whatever. I hope it doesn't fatigue you too much. best. -adam-

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Saturday Ride in a Pickup truck

It’s there. I’ve seen it; the ability to work together. Being here for almost one year now, I was becoming discouraged by the lack of teamwork, but the other day I was reminded once again that these people have an incredibly strong sense of community and working together.

Until the other day I hadn’t seen such closeness between people other than family. It was a Saturday, and a group of us were leaving from the finca. The only vehicle leaving was a white, double-cab pickup that the finca uses for transporting people, diesel, coffee and running other errands. The front and back passenger seats were taken out the previous day so that they could be refurnished; only the driver had a seat and in the bed of the truck we were seated six, to start.

In Guatemala, there are two classes of pickups; those with a cage on the back to hold more people, and those without. This pickup was one of those without, so we were all sitting around the edge of the bed, I had been one of the earlier to arrive to the pickup, so I took one of the privileged seats in the rear corner; privileged because I can control my balance better in the forward-backward direction as well as the left-right. The rear corners are also roped up in order to keep the hatch closed, so it also has a type of seat, albeit a little dirty.

The roads among the fincas are cobble stoned, windy and go up and down various hills. The entire trip is through macadamia trees, trees that at first glance are pines, and the aliso, a tree about forty meters high with a straight trunk colored green, brown, red and orange. I would say the trip is like a roller coaster when certain people are driving; ignoring bumps and taking a few turns maybe a little too fast.

As can be imagined, not everybody can take one of the privileged seats, so there are people sitting on the sides and the rear hatch, and these people may have difficulties around these turns and bumps. There are not enough places for hands, so one has to hold on to their neighbor; the arm, leg, shoulder or belt. Whatever works.

Along the way we picked up some 4 more people, also looking for hand-holds to keep from falling out. I had two hands on my right leg, and when we made turns to the left I could feel both of them pulling at me, and I felt is was my responsibility to keep my leg stiff, preventing it from being pulled to the right so that my new friends had a secure hold. And so it went, left turns I was a support to those on my right, as were the others on the opposite side support when we made right turns.

Until we all got off the pickup, we were working together, even if they had not realized it. I realized it immediately, however; it is not often I have a woman my age and an older man grabbing my right thigh at the same time. This trip is not something that would happen where I am from, mainly because it would be illegal. Here, you take what you can get, and there is never not enough room for one more.

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