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!

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