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-

Monday, June 04, 2007

We Got Wet


I hadn’t even begun living in my new house yet, and I’d already had just as many community experiences as in my old living situation. I have neighbors visiting and can hear human life around me that doesn’t include campo-calls (hollering in the distance) and tractors passing by.

Yesterday was a rather long day. In the morning I had to go into town (San Felipe) to print out some papers and buy a magdalena cake for a taller (workshop) with the local teachers about teamwork. After the taller, successful, though cut short due to another activity they had to go to and hadn’t told me about, I had to haul down to my new house two bunches of wood that am going to use to screen in my back porch. My shoulder is still sore and red.

The house was still dirty when I arrived, so I had to finish sweeping. I swept up two mountains of polvo (dust) and threw them in the back yard, with all the trash that was already back there and needs to be cleaned up eventually. Then the kids came over….

After sweeping it was still dusty, and dirty, so I had to mop the place down; floors, walls and ceiling. I had bought a hose and nozzle the previous day and was using that to hose wet the floor and the bucket to get to places I couldn’t reach with the hose. It seriously turned into a water war, something like you might find at a water park, the hose being the gun and the bucket being the bombs.

I tell you, if you ever think that cleaning is still a woman’s job in the developing world, just ask a bunch of boys to clean your house. We got everything good and wet. And clean, believe it or not. They would shoot each other with the hose, plaster their buddy with buckets of water and pull each other around on the floor by the feet thereby mopping up the dirt.

I had to manage all the chaos, however. Eventually we had to stop wetting the inside, so that it would eventually dry, and I could bring in my furniture and other goodies the next day.

I can tell you it’s going to be a chore to keep my house clean. The dirt comes in daily from the road outside and the ants bring it up from underneath the house. They will have to die soon.

I ate a pig's face


I had never knowingly eaten the meat from the face of a pig until today. And I tell you what, it wasn’t all that bad.

Last week I had gone over to my soon-to-be landlord’s house to talk about living in my soon-to-be house in Las Marías. His house is hidden by bushes and the front gate is a sheet of aluminum, held shut with a wire. Most of the house is outside, dirt floors mostly covered by more gray rusty sheets of aluminum. There are kids’ and men’s close out to dry, but no women’s. I don’t know whether I should ask about his wife. There is also an assortment of various items; a white birdcage with parakeets, a large plastic truck hanging from the ceiling, little toy figures from various cartoons and movies.

I arrive at the front gate and call out “Buenas Tardes” and a moment later his son comes to let me in. He leads me around the side of the house and I see Victor talking on his cell phone wearing his worn-out Adidas shorts and his plastic Guatemalan sandals, which are another common item here. Victor is extremely kind, about 5-7, skinny, and with a scarce mustache of long black hair. He asks to have a seat in his hammock while he finishes up on the phone. A moment later he pulls up a plastic chair and we chat about the house, my life and job, and his interests and occupation; he now has his own business of raising animals at his house. Before he used to be a promoter of events in town and actually met the previous Guatemalan president…you know, the guy that stole millions of dollars and is now hiding somewhere in Mexico. I saw the picture.

Victor is extremely proud of the animals he has: chickens, ducks, turtles, a cat, a dog, and two large pigs that maybe weigh about 100 kilograms each. When I came in, he was on the phone with a potential buyer of the pigs. One thousand two hundred was not enough for one of them he told me afterwards.

Today I show up to his house and once again I am asked to sit down, have a glass of fresco, and talk for a bit. We talk about my house a little; how the electricity doesn’t work, how I got the copies of the keys, how I had swept up the floor earlier today. He tells me he now has 6 small pigs (he finally sold the two large ones) and asks if I want to see. But he doesn’t show me the 6 new little piggies, he shows me to his kitchen, which is also outside and covered by an aluminum sheet like the rest of his house. Cooking in a black pot is this unrecognizable mass. He pulls it out and only now can I make it out as one half of a cooked pig’s head, cut down the middle. It has been cooking for a while, I notice, as the dark red skin has tightened and split in some places. I can clearly see where the eye was and I can make out the lower jaw, mainly identifiable by the teeth.

It doesn’t taste bad at all, really. I was preparing myself saying, “Well, here’s probably the first real questionable thing I’m about to eat down here.” Victor took a spoon and knife and managed to cut me off a small piece of pig face. It tastes like pork, of course. I am then handed the standard tortilla and wrap the harder part to chew inside of it to make it easier to take down. It wasn’t the taste, just that it was less chewable than the rest.

I leave his house with a smile. I’ve now got this pretty unique landlord and a piece of a pig’s face digesting in my stomach. I don’t think I could be more content.
Free Guestmap from Bravenet.com Free Guestmap from Bravenet.com