Saturday, July 15, 2006

bat netting and village appeal

Day 5, Saturday, July 15 In the morning Tamir asks me to meet him at the “bar” a nice sitting area overlooking the water. He knows he has offended me and wants to talk about it. I let him know how I am feeling which helps. I also let him know that I am on the verge of booking a flight home. I am not enjoying this at all. I feel empowered to know that I can do whatever I want, I am not bound by anything and am not intimidated by traveling in Honduras by myself, or changing my plans. I am capable of making whatever choice suits me. But I know that I don’t want to quit this so soon and mostly because of one difficult person. I decide I will wait and see, but will have no qualms if I come to the decision that I will return early. Overall, things are quite disorganized with OpWall. The other staff members are also surprised by the amount of responsibility we have for these school students, and also the lack of organization and communication. I don’t realize it at the time, but things will improve in this department and are largely the result of the inexperience of the El Paraiso camp manager. Also, the logistics of working in the jungle and the large number of students and staff that are involved and moving from camp to camp means that there is a lot to organize and the organizers aren’t always the most capable.

Tonight we net again in the same location as last. We catch a couple different species. Tonight’s netting goes better. We take fewer girls and Tamir has more self-control. The fireflies in the helipad field where we process bats twinkle off and on like stars. The hike up to the helipad has gotten easier since I’ve made the hike for the third time. Knowing how far the climb is certainly helps. The first time I just kept wondering when we’d get there and how many more steps there were and my lungs are screaming and so are my legs. But now it’s manageable, and my screaming thighs are adjusting to the daily hike into the area. It’s about a 45 minute walk from El Paraiso to our netting site and I especially like the walk through the village at the start. As we pass, children from the village shout, bye! they are so cute. One little boy bends to pick up flowers and runs to us to give us each a flower as we pass. These simple little gestures are what I love most about central america. How interested we all are in one another. A curiosity and respect that you don’t get in big cities. The people are nice in the pleasantest of ways, they look on and smile. Unfortunately most of my time will be spent here in the jungle, and time spent mingling with communities will be sparse. What I love most about latin american countries is that the rural areas are like a window into the past. They are existing very simply, without a lot of stuff, and often without electricity. People talk to each other to pass the time, and time seems abundant. No one is rushing anywhere. No one is too busy, but most work hard. A family with bare walls and no possessions to speak of will invite someone like me into their home, all smiles, offering me coffee, without even a hint of self consciousness about what they don’t have have, or the chicken that just ran across the livingroom floor. I feel so clean sitting among them. I don’t feel judged – and I envy their openness and sincerity.

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