Saturday, August 15, 2009

Singing Frogs

Life here in Cantarranas - Singing Frogs - is muy tranquilo. This is a pleasant, comfortable town, only a little more than an hour away from the capital, but operating at a much different pace. We have a nice view of the main street into town from our balcony and on any given morning we will see a few cars and trucks, but also an equal number of horses and burros, an ox cart and a few mototaxis -- a three-wheeled rickshaw with a motorcycle engine. There will also be a regular schedule of American school buses, with the names of elementary schools still on them, which are the main form of intercity transportation. But there is never so much traffic that we have any difficulty walking up or down the cobblestone street or standing in the middle of it and talking for a few minutes (Elizabeth carrying her sombrilla for shade).

Cantarranas is in the foothills, below the nearby higher peaks. It is warm, but usually not too hot. We are getting rains every few days, but not too much. It is an agricultural area, with lots of corn fields on very steep hillsides, but a good amount of natural vegetation, as well. There are fruit and avocado trees, some large cactuses, but also something like Spanish moss that grows on the larger trees and the power lines. It all seems very alive.

We spend our week days in Spanish classes, in groups of four, in the morning and in technical training in the afternoons. Thus far we have been learning about access to government, local government organization, a few youth citizenship programs and emergency response. One of our roles may be to assist citizen groups in exercising their rights under the Honduran open meeting and public record laws, which exist, but are not widely known. It remains to be seen how well that will be received at City Hall. We are progressing in Spanish poco a poco. But improvement is not the same as being able to readily converse. We still have a long way to go, but Elizabeth does now have a favorite telenovela that she can mostly understand -- Amor Comprado.

Our zen activity for the weekend is washing our clothes at the pila, using the lavadero. This is a large cistern of water beside a built-in cement washboard. It works very well for cleaning, although it can be rough on delicates. Elizabeth finds it to be very calming. We are thinking of building one when we get back to Bisbee.

We remain in good health and continue to try to be open to all of the new experiences. Que le vaya bien.

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