Mystery Solved!

First – quickly – I am home, but I’m so far from having my brain in place that I scarcely feel like it. Between the tumult of things left undone for a month, work that backed up on me, and new stuff that plopped into my lap rather unceremoniously the moment I walked through the door, I didn’t even need my souvenir virus in order for my head to be spinning! I have another post I want to write as soon as the fog lifts, but for now, I wanted to share a bit of a mystery I came upon last fall and the very funny resolution.

When I went to the Woolgathering in Yellow Springs last September, among other things, I was on a fleece hunt. One fleece that I purchased was from a Lincoln lamb, but the label on the bag had me baffled. It said that it was a “Lincoln Piglet.” I asked my more experienced acquaintances and a fleece raising friend if they had any idea what a piglet fleece was, but they were as clueless as I was. Internet searches and scouring books both left me no more educated than I’d begun. I finally gave up and squeezed the puzzlement onto a crowded back burner in my mind.

This evening, totally unexpectedly, I had a eureka moment when a friend sent me a link about some pigs in Great Britain that look like sheep – woolly-coated porkers that look like total mistakes. (Article here.) Since the animals can be shorn, I found myself laughingly wondering if that would make the first fleece a piglet hogget. Instantly, bells went off in my head as I realized that after 7 months, I’d inadvertently found the answer to the question that had confounded so many of us for so long. The person who had labeled the fleece I’d purchased had remembered that a lamb’s first fleece had a name that sounded porcine, but lost touch with the proper term somewhere along the way. My Lincoln “piglet” fleece is a actually Lincoln hogget! As pleased as I am to finally have figured this out, the real pleasure has been in the tremendous amount of amusement I’ve had tonight, laughing at the humorous  misnomer that bewildered me for so long. I do hope he or she finds the proper word before putting too many more fleeces on the market, but I’m glad enough for the original confusion that’s had me giggling all evening!

Advertisements
Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 6:37 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Honduras Journal – Day 2

SATURDAY, April 10, 2010 – Villa Alicia, near Siguatepeque, Honduras

4:15 am – I am NOT sleeping well at all. A series of discomforting dreams and a lot of pain in my hip joints finally encourages me to get up and take some Tylenol. I glance at the next bed over and suddenly realize that Anita is already up for the day. Groan! Thankfully, I’m able to fall back asleep, and though it’s somewhat restless, I doze off and on until it’s time for me to get up for good.

7:00 am – One of my favorite things about Saturdays is that the now familiar tap on the arm comes a half hour later than the rest of the week. Despite my less than profitable night of sleep, I’m actually awake before it happens, and my Tylenol is still in effect, so I get around faster than usual this morning. I feel pretty good when I arrive in the kitchen five minutes early – until Marissa announces that she’s already cleaned out two of the three refrigerators that are on her Saturday duty list.

7:30 am – Breakfast buzzer sounds, and to my complete joy, the week produced so few leftovers that Anita has made a fresh main dish – Brunch Enchiladas. I’m SO glad!

7:55 am – Breakfast clean up starts. I never cease to be amazed by the speed and efficiency of this process, and I actually love being involved in it. Too bad it doesn’t work like this at home!

8:05 am – The VS (voluntary service) boys take turns leading Saturday morning devotions. Today Keith spoke to us about accepting correction with a right attitude. We sang four hymns, with a slight hitch in the middle of singing time when one of the little boys called out the number of a song no one knew. Sometimes I suspect the children just look for something different on purpose, and though I’m sure most of the songs in the hymnal can be sung by someone or another person here, there are a few that no one knows at all.

8:30 am – Time for speech therapy with Jessica. This is a six day a week project, and the physical therapy is seven days per week. Today it’s like someone flipped a switch inside her, and Jessica is suddenly saying many of the phrases that have been a constant challenge perfectly. Marissa and I are both amazed and delighted, and I slipped Jess an extra graham cracker fishy for working so hard today.

9:00 am – My Tylenol is overdue and I’m starting to notice it, so I take a quick walk back to the room, where I remember it’s also laundry day. Since I came down to Honduras with just three dresses, thinking I was going to be here for just a week, laundry has to happen every other day. I gather my towels and a few odds and ends of Marissa’s and head to the laundry room, finding that Esther has already finished washing all the Saturday laundry for the entire home and hung it out, so there is a washer free for our stuff. I decide it’s best not to fixate on the thought of having that much wash done by 9:00 am, manage to get the washer started without help for the first time, then wander into the kitchen to see what awaits.

9:15 am – So far, so good… no cauliflower duty yet. Marissa sends me to the walk in freezer to get a 4 pound bag of ground beef, which I put into a pan of hot water to thaw. It’s the third time I’ve walked through the walk-in refrigerator this morning, and I’m totally sick of seeing the skinned, headless rabbit lying in the bowl there, so I grab a kitchen cloth and cover it, winning the approval of all the kitchen staff this morning. We are having baked potato bar this evening, so the next thing I do is pull the pan of larger small potatoes from the cooler to prep them. Once they are in the roasters, it’s clear there aren’t enough, so I go scrounging in the vegetable bins for the smallest of the medium-sized spuds. No washer this time; Marissa and Jessica scrub them by hand. I drizzle oil over the lot of them and toss them by hand until they are thoroughly coated. They are done until it’s time to bake them this afternoon. Anita is updating the weekly whiteboard calendar. My throat catches a bit when I see my departure listed for Thursday, and Favi has fun putting “Marissa takes off her cast” on Tuesday. After a bit of a debate, Marissa and I settle on Tuesday as our day off this coming week.

9:45 am – Given the choice of working on veggies or sorting beans, I opt for the beans, delaying what I figure is inevitable for a little while longer. As Veronica puts it, she gets out our “bowl of worms” for us – a reference to the massive bowl of broccoli and cauliflower we have to process today – and Marissa starts working on it. When Veronica’s pie crusts start giving her a bad time, she and Marissa swap projects for a while. Meanwhile, Osiris, who is severely autistic, finds herself in a poor mood and creates a fuss, but happily it is resolved fairly quickly.

10:05 am – Adriana makes my morning when she shows up for her daily visit to the home with her aunt. The moment she sees me, she runs to me and begs to be on my lap. I quickly find out that sorting beans isn’t quite as efficient when one is holding an interested toddler. Adriana is Honduran born, but fostered by one of the Americans who has moved here to be part of the community. Mom is away for a few days, so Adriana is keeping Sue busy instead.

10:15 am – I didn’t have a full meal of beans to do, as I’d already sorted some spares last week, so I’m done already. I need to make another trip to the room, and think on the way that I should bring back hangers to for our dresses. I’m back as far as the kitchen when I realize that I’ve forgotten the hangers, so it’s back to the room again. Hangers in hand, I make it to the laundry room this time, put Marissa’s dresses in one dryer and the towels and such in another, then hang my own dresses up. Oh dear! Can it be? Yes, I guess if I want these to get dry yet today, I need to go back to the room yet again, so I can hang them on the window grill – three round trips in 20 minutes. No wonder I’m tired!

10:35 am – I’m back in the kitchen again, and Lynette has captured my attention. She’s making corncakes for Osiris, who has to eat a gluten-free diet. They smell delicious, and I say as much, then am surprised and pleased when Lynette offers one to me. They are good! I bum the recipe from her and quickly copy it. She says they freeze well and reheat nicely in the toaster. I get a quick milk customer, and Gerald, who is in charge of our farming activities is working in the drawer when I go to write down the sale. I ask if he’ll jot it down while he’s writing his own info on the paper, and he says, “No problem.” I grin and say that I owe him one, and he replies that I can make it up by helping with the milking. He gets an unexpected response from me when I tell him I’ve never milked a cow, but I’ve wanted to ever since I was a child, and that it’s on my “Life List.” Almost before I know what’s happening, I am set to help this afternoon. I almost can’t believe it, and I think maybe it’s good that Saturday naps are after lunch instead of at 11:00, for surely I’d have trouble sleeping so soon. I feel like a child who just discovered a trip was planned to Disneyland!

10:45 am – Another customer comes to the window – or should I say three customers. They want 3 “cartons” of eggs, which around here is a flat of 30 eggs, but I have only one available. I get to practice my new skill of flipping a flat of eggs onto the customer’s tray – an action that still makes me nervous to do, but certainly beats moving them two at a time. Then they want 6 quarts of yogurt, but aren’t sure of what flavors, so I bring the entire crate from the walk in. First the lady tells me to pick for her, but I prefer subtle guidance and coax her into taking one each of the lemon, orange, and raspberry, with the remaining 3 being my favorite vanilla. Then she wants some Monterey Jack cheese. I’m not sure if she wants it with or without peppers, so I bring both. She buys both! Her order totals 387 lempira – by far the largest I’ve ever done – then her friend adds another hunk of cheese, which is another 49 lempiras. Too bad the weasels got so much of the last flock of broiling hens, or I’d have been able to sell her the chicken she wanted, too! If you are wondering, a lempira (lemp for short) is worth about the same as a U.S. nickel.

11:00 am – Finally I get to put the beans on to cook. I’m pleased to go through the steps on my own this time. If I was staying a few more weeks, I might even learn to make beans and rice as well as Marissa now can.

11:15 am – A trip back down to the laundry room to gather the finished clothes from the dryer. I’m very pleased with myself for remembering so early in the day. It sure beats dragging the stuff to the room when I’m so tired after supper! On the way back from the room, I meet Carol, and we get to talking about selling stuff, especially on Etsy. It feels so strange to be momentarily connected with part of my life that has seemed so distant for the past month!

11:30 am – I’m bored silly! There is absolutely nothing to do between now and lunch, and my knitting is clear down in the room. I know that if I go get it, I’ll come back to find a string of customers waiting or some other such thing. I go take a picture of the white board with its mixed messages, then help the pre-lunch dishwashers put away the last of the dishes.

12:00 pm – Finally, it’s lunchtime! After grace, I send an extra prayer of thanksgiving, as it’s our table’s turn to go to the bar first – a definite advantage for Saturday’s leftover lunches. I get a dab of macaroni and cheese, some of Thursday’s fried noodles, and a generous scoop of the tomato and cucumber salad I made that same day. I figure I have no right to complain that I missed the last of Brian’s chocolate birthday cake, since I did so well with the rest of the meal. Favi pays me the compliment of saying mournfully that she wishes I could stay longer, and I find myself agreeing with her. I never dreamed a month could seem like such a short time.

12:30 pm – Lunch is over and the clean up routine swings into action.

12:40 pm – Hurrah! Back to the room, and I’m definitely ready to settle down for my nap. I sleep so much more here, and yet I still covet naptime ferociously! I don’t quite make it through my memory verses before I’m asleep.

2:00 pm – I wake up and grab my current book, God’s Golden Children, to read for a few minutes while I stretch and yawn.

2:35 pm – Back in the kitchen again… I start the ground beef browning, put 14 pounds of beef roast in a big pan of steaming hot water, hoping it will thaw quickly, and try to avoid seeing Lynette chopping this morning’s rabbit into pieces. When Kevin comes in, he comments on wanting it eat “her,” and I groan. Lynette corrects him and says “it” is probably more appropriate at this point. Thank you, Lynette…

2:45 pm – The boys have been down to the river with the VS guys, and on the way back, they have one of the boys call and  beg to have milkshakes waiting when they arrive. Anita obligingly begins producing large quantities of Orange Julius, made with orange juice squeezed from the orchard here and milk from the cows out back. When the boys blow in, there are a couple of curious little girls around, and one of the boys announces, “It’s just for us men!” After they down seconds – and a few thirds – there’s another announcement, “Okay, we’re done, so it’s for everyone now.” I raise an eyebrow – but am also quick to grab a glassful. It’s WONDERFUL!

3:00 pm – As quickly as they came, the boys are gone, and the kitchen is quiet again. I stir the beans I cooked this morning into the browned ground beef, then while Marissa is seasoning them to please, I take over gathering and measuring ingredients for tomorrow’s California Pot Roast. A failure in communication results in me putting the ingredients in the wrong bowl, but after she gives me a fairly good natured bad time about it, she tells me I’ll be happier with it as it is now, because it will save me a late evening trip down to the kitchen, since it will all just go in at the same time now. Then she sends me to the pantry to retrieve the big roaster and the crockpots.

3:50 pm – This is it! I dash to the room for a moment, then back to the kitchen to grab my camera, and head out to the barn. On the way, I stop for a couple minutes by the pond to take some pictures of the herons, egrets, and wild ducks, as well as a cow posing prettily, then look for Gerald. He already has things underway, and I appreciate watching him go through the process for a few minutes, before he says that the next cow in line would be a good one for me to do. I decide that I should approach the job with confidence, even though it is largely feigned, and I am thrilled when my first squeeze actually produced results! Although they use milking machines, the first step after dipping the teats is to express a bit of milk to clean the “pipeline.” All goes well, though I forget to dip her again before I let her out of the stanchion. Oops! I get another chance later on, and I don’t forget the second time. I now have bragging rights for having milked numbers 6 and 21 solo, and I’m grinning from ear to ear. I stay down at the barn quite a while, watching and asking questions until Gerald has finished the entire herd. I’m amused to see the mail order catalogue that allowed the twin calves in the pen across the barn to have an American daddy. Jimmy, who helps with milking, is quite impressed that I actually milked the cows, and says I should do it all the time.

5:20 pm – I dash back to the room to change my dress and scrub up past my elbows in deference to my tablemates.

5:25 pm – Back in the kitchen, I see that Marissa and the others have supper completely under control, and I’m at a loss for something to do beyond sharing my adventure and grinning like a fool.

5:30 pm – Supper buzzer rings, and we take turns at the bar loading baked potatoes with meat and beans, broccoli and cauliflower, and cheese sauce. Turns out to be really good! We end up with two severe bouts of laughing at our table this evening. The first occurs when Favi suggests I could adopt her, but after a bit of discussion, the suggestion becomes Marissa adopting her instead. Marissa points out that she can’t because she’s single. Favi says she could get married, and Marissa responds without thinking by asking her to whom. Favi has a ready answer, naming one of the VS guys, and while Marissa turns totally scarlet and tries not to choke on her food, the rest of us erupt in gales of laughter. We’ve scarcely recovered from that when the bell rings to signal the end of supper, and Jeff announces that Jimmy would like to sing “I Saw a Little Wormy.” Marissa’s eyes grow wide with horror, as she strongly suspects his choice had to do with discovering an escapee in his dinner – an easy assumption, considering how many worms we’ve seen in the past two days. Neither of us is able to sing the song for laughing so hard, but in the end, it turns out to be an innocent coincidence. Whew!

6:05 pm – The ever amazing clean up time begins. In addition to our usual duties, Marissa and I pack a row of 16 school lunch containers with potato bar leftovers for Monday. Then I get the big bowl of the tiniest potatoes from the walk in, and we divide them into two crockpots, toss them with oil, parsley, and garlic powder, and start them cooking for tomorrow’s noon meal.

6:40 pm – News has spread that Marissa and I adopted new dolls, so when we go back to our room for the evening, we do so with an entourage of 9 curious girls. Micah and Malachi get all sorts of attention, but still no middle names. Carla finally wraps her ball of yarn, so they are all done at last. Little Anita, noticing the last of my Coke stash (bought super cheap at Del Corral a couple weeks ago), asks me, “Do you drink every night?” I find it difficult to sputter ANY sort of answer to a question like that!

7:15 pm – Our last young visitor leaves and the room is quiet. Despite my intentions to be focused this evening, Marissa and I manage to be distracted by various little things for a while.

7:40 pm – Okay, I’m back on track and in the shower, practicing my memory verses and scrubbing off the effects of a busy day in the Honduran heat. I’m SO glad it’s been unseasonably “cool” this month!

7:55 pm – I get out of the shower and find we again have company. Veronica and Anita, my other roommates, are here, as well as Esther, Sue, and little Adriana. I finally manage to deliver the sewing needles I brought along when I came down more than three weeks ago, and I get some adorable pictures of Adriana trying to comb out Marissa’s hair.

8:15 pm – It’s quiet again, as everyone has gone except Marissa and me. She heads for the shower, so I kidnap the computer to start working on the Friday portion of this log. Words are flowing well, and I’m having so much fun with it that I want to work straight through to the finish, but that’s not an option. Sigh…

10:15 pm – I get ready for bed, read briefly, then turn out the light. Lying in bed trying to sleep is nearly impossible, as there are thoughts and words bounding through my head, begging to be typed NOW! The last time I look at my watch, it’s past 11:00, and I’m wondering how close I’d be to finished if I’d kept working instead of pretending I was going to be able to sleep. Eventually, I drift off, reminding myself I have to face two sermons, three devotions, and a Sunday School class, all in Spanish, tomorrow, and I need to do it well rested.

**********

Hope you’ve enjoyed the two days I’ve shared of life here in Honduras!

Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Honduras Journal – Day One

There is no way I could do this for every day, but I’ve always wanted to keep a log of what a day working in the children’s home here in Honduras is like. When a day starts, of course, there is absolutely no way to predict how it will play out, and I’ve finally decided there is no such thing as a truly typical day here. I ended up logging both Friday and Saturday of this past week, and thought I’d share them here on my blog. Today I’m posting Friday, and I’ve scheduled Saturday for tomorrow. Enjoy!

*************

FRIDAY, April 9, 2010 – Villa Alicia, near Siguatepeque, Honduras

6:30 am – Marissa taps me on the arm to wake me up. I do a poor job of stifling a groan, then start mentally reciting the first ten verses of John chapter one in Spanish, which I’ve been memorizing during the sermons I’m unable to understand, while I try to convince my muscles to function. I can’t give them very long to respond, as I have to be presentable by breakfast time.

7:00 am – The buzzer sounds. I gulp a mug of Coke and two Tylenols and make the 50 yard trek to the dining room as quickly as my aching joints will allow. Sitting down to the table, I discover my worst breakfast nightmare has come true this morning – fried eggs. This is possibly the only breakfast here that I can’t even make a brave show of eating. I fantasize about passing up the main course entirely and going straight for the banana bread and yogurt on the bar, but decide to behave myself and nibble on a piece of toast made from the bread we baked yesterday while I wait for the more grateful breakfasters to finish their eggs. Favi and I exchange a quick grin when “Padre Nuestro” is announced as grace, and I reach for the cheat sheet she wrote for me Wednesday night at church. I wonder briefly if it might have been a better choice for my memory project this month.

7:20 am – The bell announces the end of breakfast, and in a matter of moments, the room springs to life with people clearing tables, carrying their plates, silverware, cups, and serving dishes to the serving bar where the cooks quickly sort the incoming items – dirty dishes lined up by the sink, leftovers into appropriate containers, and ketchup bottles back to the refrigerator. Milk pitchers are emptied into larger containers, water jugs refilled and toted to the cooler, and the dishes are well underway in a matter of minutes. Clean up takes much less time than preparation.

7:30 am – Everyone is assembled for devotions. Today we simply sing “choices” and close in prayer. Two of the men confidently sing the tenor and bass parts in “Search Me, Oh God”, and with the children and ladies adding soprano and alto, I am suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty of the music. It’s a moment I could live over and over again and never find tiring.

7:50 am – The school children leave in a clamor of “have a good day!” Marissa hands out party invitations to the preschoolers, then we head to the special education room for Jessica’s speech therapy. It’s good to be back to our normal location after yesterday’s fiasco of trying to do class with her while we three sat on a bunk bed. She did MUCH better today!

8:30 am – As we leave the speech room, we find Rhoda looking for help with Dina’s therapy. Dina is a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome and is missing 40% of her brain. At about a year and a half old, she has varying abilities more in the range of a baby from about 4-8 months old. Marissa helps Rhoda run Dina through a series of patterning exercises while Jessica and I go to the office to copy a paper Marissa wanted for speech therapy.

 

8:40 am – I walk out to our room for a minute, then back to the kitchen to start the day’s work. We are really out of sync today, and end up spending a lot of time trying to figure out precisely what it is that we are making for meals over the next few days.

8:45 am – On the way through the kitchen to her morning special education class, Nerlin, who has severe cerebral palsy, has a seizure. When her mom arrives, she decides to let her have a nap rather than go to school today.

 

8:55 am – Another distraction when Alex arrives in Mom Carol’s arms, wearing the outfit Marissa and I bought in town for him. This is definitely a “Kodak Moment” and requires much fussing over him as well.

 

9:15 am – It feels like we are getting nowhere fast today, and now Marissa gets a phone call. After pacing for a while, I decide to set up for the pre-school party, so I make the 50 yard trip down to the room for the treats and bunny napkins, then set up the table, fill the milk pitcher, and double check my camera.

9:25 am – The weather again forgets that rainy season has not yet begun. We have an intense five minute rain, then the sun is back out again.

9:45 am – Finally some progress toward supper! I load up all the patastes and 4 monster-sized carrots from the garage and bring them into the kitchen to soak in bleach water. Meanwhile, the native cooks have already made substantial progress toward today’s lunch – the pupusas I begged them to make me while I was here. I can hardly wait!

10:00 am – Not surprisingly, 6 little people arrive promptly in the kitchen, then arrive a second time when told they must bring clean hands to the party. Keyla, Karina, Kenia, Sarita, Yesenia, and Jose each pick a song to sing, then we have grace. Snacks of “pink milk” (Strawberry Quik) and Ding Dongs are devoured with delight, but our little guest aren’t ready to leave. They want to play a game, so I learn how to play “Doggie, Doggie Where’s Your Bone?” My pitiful imitation of a preschool voice doesn’t fool anyone!

10:35 am – Back to the far too familiar task of prepping veggies for supper. Marissa takes the pataste (bless her heart!), and I attack the carrots with the slicing side of the grater, then I move on to cutting up a seemingly endless container of baby onions. One of the girls misunderstood at planting time and put out a ridiculous amount of seed, so instead of waiting for them to mature into hundreds of pounds of big onions, we are spending hours peeling and cutting onions ranging from regular marbles to shooters in size.

11:00 am – I’m wishing very much for the normal 11:00 nap, which is being forfeited in lieu of sticking around for lunch today. It will be worth it, I know, but when we aren’t doing much and I’m tired, I have to keep reminding myself about why I’m here.

11:15 am – I get an excuse to dessert my onions for a while, waiting on a customer at the window. She wants a flat of eggs, and we have only 20. Marissa abandons the pataste project to clean 10 more eggs from this morning’s gathering in order to fill the flat.

11:35 am – I’m glad to have another customer. This morning has been ridiculously lazy and I’m feeling antsy! However, it seems there is a run on eggs or something. After I bag two liters of milk, he decides he wants his change back in eggs instead of lempira. Marissa cleans 13 more eggs from the bucket.

11:45 am – Rhoda comes into the kitchen, and Marissa dutifully tells her that we’ve snitched 23 of the “easy to clean” eggs. Rhoda has the job of washing, counting, and sorting the cracked and uncracked eggs this week. Rhoda’s brow furrows as she tells us we weren’t supposed to sell ANY eggs this morning, as they are reserved for a large order. Oops!

11:50 am – Conversation in the kitchen meanders to talk of a couple that has just found out they are expecting conjoined twins. The babies are due relatively soon, and this news is quite fresh even to them. The children aren’t expected to survive more than a few hours. What a sad story to hear!

11:55 am – I finally have the onions done! There is just enough time to clean up, load the slop bucket, and put the veggies in the cooler before lunch.

12:00 pm – The buzzer sounds for lunch, and I waste no time finding a place to sit. After grace, I’m grinning from ear to ear as I eventually finish off four very tasty pupusas, piled with shredded cabbage and red sauce. This is definitely a high point in my 4 week stint here!

 

12:23 pm – It’s strange to just drop my dishes off at the bar and leave the kitchen! However, I’m happy to finally be heading to the room. A quick check for email reveals a note from my neighbor back home, but instead of answering it, I respond to a squall outside out window. The battle over the tricycle resolves instantly when I stick my head out the door, and I suspect I know which party was in the wrong by how quickly she takes off upon seeing me. I come back in to find Marissa in bed, so I flop out across my mattress, aiming to read a short chapter in my book before dozing. Instead, I am paged as having a phone call. Mom calls to share some info with me and get an update on the patient (or impatient). I tell her that Marissa has become totally disgusted with being in a cast and is almost to counting the minutes until her Tuesday appointment with el doctor.

1:00 pm – I’m finally one with my pillow, and barely get started on my memory verses before I’m asleep.

2:10 pm – Marissa and I wake up almost simultaneously. She is ready and out the door a lot faster than I can manage, though. I remember I need to pay my credit card this weekend and figure I should do it now while I’m thinking about it. The phone lines are busy, but I figure it’s better to do this on my cell phone. However, when I dial the number, I get a Spanish recording telling me otherwise. Grrr… Both phone lines here are busy, so I’ll have to do it later.

2:25 pm – I return to the kitchen to find Marissa sorting today’s freshly picked and shelled peas. Remembering my missing sock, I dash down to the laundry room and am thrilled to find it. I don’t have enough clothes with me that I can afford to lose anything!

2:35 pm – Back to work now. I dump all the veggies into the pot to see if we have enough for tonight’s supper. Veronica vetoes adding green peppers, because she seriously dislikes them, and since neither of us can go get them from the garden ourselves, she wins. Marissa sends me to get the leftover lunch cabbage, and thinking it’s in the cooler, I go looking. I don’t find the cabbage, but I find the last coconut raisin cookie and relieve it of its lonely existence. When I find the cabbage, it’s sitting on the end of the counter, and there’s but a spoonful left. Our mixed veggies are becoming less mixed by the minute. The school children flood into the kitchen, turning it instantly from a peaceful retreat into something more resembling Grand Central Station at rush hour, as they clear and repack lunchboxes and claim their afternoon snacks.

2:45 pm – I do one of the strangest things I’ve done since I arrived – help Marissa throw two roasters full of very little potatoes into the washing machine – short cycle, no soap…

3:05 pm – I finally get a free phone line and pay my credit card. I’m extremely grateful that the home has a Pennsylvania phone line via satellite and that it’s working today!

3:15 pm – The clamor of children has dissolved into homework and chores, but we suddenly develop a regular trickle of grinning youngsters all bearing the same exciting news: “Ethan’s dating!” He’s a former VS worker who went home earlier this year. Everyone is very excited!

3:30 pm – Andrea wanders through the kitchen and I just can’t help myself. I ask her if she could pretty please just bring our load from the washer into the kitchen, then almost hold my breath in anticipation, wishing very much I could be a fly on the wall. She’s back in a couple minutes laughing at having found it was a load of potatoes. She good naturedly helps me pick that mess of miniature spuds, now spotlessly clean, out of the tub and carry them back to the kitchen. Seeing what we were doing, Gerald asks if we are going to cook them in the dryer.

4:00 pm – The pre-supper dishwashing crew shows up. I’m sorting dozens and dozens of little potatoes by size for the two meals we’ll be using them, so I start a game with the girls, quizzing them on which part of the plant we are eating when we have our various fruits and vegetables. I ran out of foods before they ran out of enjoying the game.

4:30 pm – Yes! I get a brief break waiting on an ice cream customer at the window. We get the news that the guys are pouring concrete and won’t be in for supper, so the tables, which Marissa had been pleased to have set already, need to be redone to accommodate seating the boys with their moms instead of their VS guys.

4:50 pm – Finally done with the potatoes! I’m sure glad I don’t have to eat any of them tonight. Right now I’m thoroughly sick of potatoes!

5:00 pm – I have a milk customer, and before I get the stuff put away, a second one. Where were these people when I was so bored earlier?

5:07 pm – Marissa checks the rice we have reheating for tonight’s supper – leftover arroz con pollo from last Sunday’s fellowship dinner. It doesn’t taste right to her, and it turns into a major project to try to get it satisfactory – not good considering supper is just 23 minutes away. Meanwhile, I measure the peas for Sunday dinner and blanch and freeze the two quarts that remain.

5:20 pm – Marissa is thoroughly sick of doing the cauliflower and broccoli, and is still fussing over the rice, so I take a deep breath and take over the worm hunting project.

5:30 pm – Buzzer sounds for supper. I’m still trying to finish the cauliflower and broccoli, and I realize it HAS to be done before I eat, as it’s tying up the sink. I sing grace with everyone long distance from the kitchen. It’s impossible to feel good about being nearly done with this project, as late this afternoon, a substantially larger bowl of the same, fresh picked from the same garden, arrived on the kitchen counter, meaning tomorrow will bring more of this less than stimulating activity.

5:45 pm – Finally done with the worm hunt, I move everything out of the way and go out for my meal. The rice doesn’t taste right to me, and the veggie blend is missing something, too. I’m busily thanking God again for the wonderful pupusa lunch, as breakfast and supper have left me very wanting. Then I discover there is a lovely blueberry cobbler for dessert. Suddenly everything seems just fine again!

6:00 pm – The bell rings ending supper. Chairs grumble as they slide out, releasing sated diners, and the ballet begins anew in the kitchen as dozens of plates, cups, bowls, and pieces of silverware arrive for the dishwashers. I notice that the latecomers won’t have much cobbler to share, but there’s plenty of other food left for them. Hmmm… By the time we are done with our part of the clean up, the guys who are washing dishes tonight have begun an impromptu sing along over the soap suds, and I almost don’t want to leave.

6:25 pm – We head to our room with Luci, who wants to see Marissa’s crochet project and wrap the yarn she dyed a couple weeks ago at the party we had for the big girls. We have a nice visit, talking about knitting and crocheting.

7:15 pm – Luci leaves, and Marissa turns on the David Copperfield audiobook we’ve been enjoying. I try not to feel too guilty about the email I should be answering, as I  coax my aching muscles to relax, while knitting a few inches up the ankles of my Rushing Rivulet socks.

8:45 pm – Marissa decides it’s time to turn off the book and take a shower. She’s soon celebrating, as she finally managed to dislodge what appears to have been a small abscess in her tonsils, relieving a discomfort of several days’ duration. I knit for just a little bit longer, then decide I should write today’s journal entry, especially since I missed yesterday. I’ll have to have her help me catch up – hopefully soon. It’s surprising how quickly things become a total muddle in my memory!

9:10 pm – Time for my shower. I’m still amazed that something I’ve considered for so long to be an absolute luxury has now become a very quick, in and out, nightly necessity for me. I still manage to get through my Spanish memory verses thrice before I’m done.

9:25 pm – Stretched out in bed, I read for a while as one by one my roommates’ lights go out. Despite my long day, I’m still not nearly as sleepy as I am tired.

10:23 pm – Okay, it’s time for me to try to sleep. I turn off my light and drift between prayers and memory verses until I’m finally in dreamland.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

A Funny Thing Happened When I Went to Honduras…

Seems I have a bit of an adventure to share with you all. A couple weeks ago, I left my family behind and took off for a short, somewhat unexpected trip to visit my daughter in Honduras. I pre-posted a couple of things on the blog so I could keep up with my weekly posting goal for the year and hopped on the plane with my return tickets dated for 8 days hence. Funny thing happened when I arrived in Honduras, though. When I searched my daughter out at the airport, I could see the top of a pair of crutches. Thinking this was one of her little pranks, I laughed – until I made my way through the crowd. Somehow, the big, blue cast on her leg seemed to be a good bit farther than she would go for a prank. 

Sadly, I was right in that assessment. Turns out that when she was creeking during a visit to the coffee farm, she fell and fractured her tibia (shin bone) and is going to be casted until April 13. Since the other cook was going on furlough at the beginning of April, and Marissa is about half of a cook right now, I’m sure you can guess how my mind started to turn. After a couple of days here, I decided to brave voicing the wild idea of changing my flight, and after receiving the thumbs up from the home front and those in charge here, I re-ticketed for the middle of April – a couple days over 4 weeks here. I still think I must have lost my mind! 

I packed very lightly for myself, bringing all my personal stuff in my carry on bag, so it’s been interesting to say the least. Toiletries are pricy – paid almost $5 for a 4 oz. can of deodorant! And it’s supposed to be hot season, though God has been gracious so far, providing a week of abnormally cool weather to this point, followed by a second one that was also cool enough to bear – a tremendous blessing for me, since I can’t tolerate heat well at all. I don’t even want to think what the bill will be at the parking lot where I left my car “for a few days.” But it’s fun – and it’s odd how much the feeling of the trip changed for me when it changed from being a short visit to see Marissa and the children to staying here to work because I’m legitimately needed.

There have been a lot of things happening around here during my first two weeks – far too many to share in one post, so I’m just going to tell you a few from my first week for now.

Thursday, the day after I arrived, in a brilliant moment of creative problem solving, we pulled an old office chair out of the sewing room. The back had been broken off some time ago, but after three of us spent about an hour digging a double handful of thread out of the casters, we had the perfect wheels for Marissa.

She can now zip around the kitchen doing many of her tasks, and can even set the table. This has been tremendously beneficial. It means she doesn’t have to use crutches too much, and with her wrist having been broken and not treated last year about this time, the crutches were causing her a lot of problem. The things she can’t do – like fetching from the pantry and waiting on milk customers, for instance – I’m able to do, and I am also making up for her being obviously a bit slower at some things.

Friday evening was the school program. It was such a delight that had they offered to start from the beginning and do it again, I’d have sat through it a second time! I’ve never seen anything to match it in the States, and much to my joy, they recorded it and sold CD’s for 20 lempira – about $1 each. I’m probably not going to get out much, since Marissa can’t drive a standard casted and there are no automatics here, but I know I have one souvenir which will be long treasured in that CD.

Saturday we had an afternoon party for the big girls. Instead of our traditional tea party, we divided the girls into two groups. Half of them used Wilton icing colors to dye yarn, which they will be able to crochet into items for their dolls. 

The other half made cards for the other children and staff, sharing appreciation and encouragement, then picked a treat for the people for whom they made cards. Then we switched, so all the girls did both projects. The cards were very nice, with some beautiful and thoughtful notes written, and the yarn dyeing was quite a success, with the resulting skeins being as varied as the girls themselves. It was a great afternoon!

Sunday we did something else that was new to me. We were up and ready to go at about 6:30 in the morning, and we rode with 15 or more people in the truck about 2 and a half hours to a tiny Mennonite church in Macuelizo. There is only one American family there, and the congregation is quite small, but the people were incredibly friendly, and I enjoyed visiting with them very much. We had lunch with Les and Verna – very traditional Honduran fare of beans, rice, and tortillas. I’m glad I like that menu, as one sees it in some form almost daily around here. I suppose I’ll be very full of beans by the time I get back home. Pix show some of the scenery through the Honduran countryside and the little church where we worshipped. The cattle on the road is a very common site.

Monday was a traditional day in the kitchen. However, there was one moment that was so funny I have to share it. I went to help a customer at the sales window, and somehow it didn’t quite register with me when I looked at him that he didn’t exactly look Honduran. I opened the window and greeted him, and he said, “Do you have any milk to sell?” I looked at him a bit dumbly and asked him to repeat what he said, then suddenly realized he was speaking ENGLISH! Duh!!!! It sure was a lesson in how expectations can influence perception. I’m still laughing a bit about that! In case you are wondering who he was, there is a boy’s home nearby, and they come to buy milk from us here. We got a bit of a blessing today, as he’d toted about 15 pounds of sweet potatoes they had to spare, wondering if we wanted to buy some. The timing was great, as our rice bag is about to the bottom. We had our red chicken gravy over sweet potatoes tonight instead of rice, and the rice we sorted this morning is ready for the next time we need it. (We found gusanos in the rice bag, so have to sort it before cooking it now. And if you are wondering what gusanos are, let’s just say they wiggle… )

Now I’m “only” a week and a half behind, but I think this is enough for now. I’ll try to get more posted sometime next week. Online time here is extremely limited, and when I do get online, it’s heavily filtered, so I’m not able to post to my blog as much as I’d like. For quite a while, I couldn’t even access it. I was joking that they were trying to protect me from myself. Of course, even if there weren’t the limitations, I’d still not be able to manage much, I fear. A day working in the kitchen here leaves me feeling VERY old and tired!

I’m leaving what I’d written here and adding this paragraph. I prepared this post the middle of last week, writing it offline on Word. Between my work schedule here, revival meetings, and the frustrating challenges of trying to access the internet, upload pix, etc., it’s even more aged than it was when I first tried to post it. At this rate, I better start on the next one right away! Since I was at least trying, I’m still counting this as keeping up with my weekly blogging. 😉 I have some truly wonderful pix that I’m very eager to share!

For those of you who pray, if you would, please keep both Marissa and me in prayer – Marissa for all the normal missionary stuff, plus for patience with her incapacities and speedy healing. For me, health and strength equal to the task I’ve undertaken, and that things work out okay with my abrupt change of plans, as I’ve left much dangling on the home front, plus have increased my trip expenses substantially. Hope to post again soon!

%d bloggers like this: