Tuesday, January 27, 2009

¡Bamanos Pues!

¡Bamanos Pues!

By a quirk of the Spanish language we’re able to bring you the aforementioned word play. For the non-Spanish speakers in the audience, the phrase “¡Vamanos pues!” usually translates to something like “Let’s go, then!” Alright, so here’s the quirk; B and V are very often indistinguishable in spoken Spanish, and depending on where you find yourself, they are often used interchangeably in written Spanish as well. So, please join us for an enthusiastic “¡Bamanos pues!” Why? Well, of course, for our new president. Not to digress too extensively from the purpose of this blog, which is a nearly unyielding focus on all things “us”, but we must say that as the ambassadors of sorts we are as PC volunteers, it is so very refreshing to have a president who both appreciates the art of diplomacy and promises to practice it, consistently and skillfully. The promise of Obama as a skilled statesman, albeit almost entirely untested as yet, has spread to the far reaches. Anecdotally, Obama is mentioned in the political conversations we hear here as often as Honduran and other Latin American politicians. Also, due to our relative similarity of stature and skin tone, one of my co-workers has fondly taken to calling me Obama and jokingly quizzing me about policies as one would the president. All word play, anecdotes and jest aside, we are decidedly happy to have this man in the office of president.

Alright, back to Honduras. We’re doing quite well, between settling into our new home and looking forward to new work opportunities. Regarding our home, as previously written, we’re completely moved in, new paint and all. Our remaining focus is on tearing apart a defunct earthen oven that was left in our back yard (it was approximately one cubic meter), continuing to grow our compost pile, and planting our garden.

Gardening has been entertaining in unexpected ways. It would seem that our back yard was previously employed as a makeshift dump. In addition to the half dozen hours we’ve devoted to picking up bits and pieces of trash, the process of preparing our 10 ft. X 10 ft. garden plot has been an amateur archaeologist’s dream. We’ve already uncovered in the ballpark of 20 fragments from a shattered plate, shards of glass, batteries (corroded beyond the influence of Coca-Cola), warped fragments of rusted metal, spent bottles of nail polish, and old clay roof tiles, amongst other items. Keeping with the theme of amateur archaeology, these “precious finds” have certainly kept us amused, and may for a while yet if we decide to reemploy the plate fragments as our newest puzzle set; we’ll see. Although the majority of our fun has come from digging, while preparing the topsoil of our garden Emily has also been nipped by one our neighbor’s chicks (yep, small, fuzzy, yellow, and equipped with a beak), who was visiting to feast on the earthworms we uncovered. Perhaps most surprising of all, today Emily mistook a young tarantula for a clump of dirt. Fortunately it began moving before she could move it!

With regard to work, after over three months of supporting Aldea Global in many capacities Emily will begin volunteering with another organization that works to support orphaned children. Another Peace Corps volunteer worked with this organization in the past and had a very meaningful experience there. Thus far we understand that Emily will likely be supporting the children in at least a few capacities, from teaching and hosting other educational initiatives for they and their adoptive families to helping collect information about how well the organization and its affiliates are supporting the children to ensure they’re given the best care possible. Emily has long had an interest in supporting orphaned children and her work with this new organization promises to be fulfilling and challenging.

I am currently beginning work alongside a fellow PC volunteer who’s an architect as well as my counterpart and a civil engineer to design and plan for the construction of a biological research station to be built this spring. My role, owing to my background in urban planning rather than construction know how or design savvy, is helping ensure the location and design of the research station (which will be located in a national park here in Honduras) are consistent with the park’s development goals. I am also still working to get started on a project to map and delineate several of the park’s watersheds. Along with a few other volunteers in the area, and likely with Emily’s editing skills coming in handy very shortly, I am also helping to compile an informative brochure to educate local community members about the need to and advantage of preserving the park.

We would be remiss not to mention our part time job of helping coach a little league team. Whether we’re instructing on the basics of executing a bunt or teaching how to properly field a fly ball, it’s safe to say that we’re having fun, getting a decent amount of exercise, and, let’s hope, serving as positive role models.

As a parting thought, we’ll leave you with a short poem, intended both to redeem myself (Dan) after my last endeavor and more importantly, to give a taste for some of the simple things we appreciate about our experience thus far. All the best and please stay in touch!

I am a young experience in the happening and an eager memory in the making

I am the rooster’s crowing through day and night, I am the midnight dogfight whose bark foretells its bite

I am a full night sky with very small stars, whose brilliance teach that Earth is only one very small world; one very big very small world that can’t impress the universe and that can’t help but fascinate her stewards

I am the clever paradox of a pure, clean, dirty, dusty road

I am the wandering calf, colt, and chirping chick, constant reminders of and constantly reminded of the perennial necessity to venture forth and in so doing learn the meaning of exploration

I, too, am the please go away bludgeoning torrential rain and the please come again subtle morning mist

I am the constant sense of sensitivity in our tin roof, creaking under sun energy, crackling in the rain

I am a young experience in the happening and an eager memory in the making in one very big very small world, and I am t h a n k f u l for the complexities I’m learning to see in such a simple life


Juanita said...

Hi Dan and Emily,
I just checked your blog to see how things are going. I had the opportunity to read and catch up with all of the progess you guys have made since joing the Peace Corps. I am so very happy for you both and proud.
My students have just began doing research on the founding of the Peace Corp, so I want to send them to your blog to check out the "real life" work that you guys are experiencing.
I will instruct them to read only and put all of the questions together and we can send them at once. Answer what you want we are just grateful for the interaction.

Take care and I love you,

PS - Scot and Douglas say hello and hang in there. Douglas and I went to Obama's inaugral in DC (Daniel I always think of you and Aaron running around DC having fun!:)

Casey Clan said...

Hi Em and Dan,
I loved the latest blog. Keep up the positive energy! We are still riding the Obama high and hope that he will continue to inspire and empower.
I'm so excited to hear about the results of your gardening labor..stay away from the chicks and spiders.
We love your blogs, so keep them coming.

Daniel said...


Hey there! Thanks for keeping up with our blog and tuning your students into our work as well. We´d be more than happy to get back to any questions your students may have. If we can´t come up with an answer, we´ll try to poll some of our friends. That´s great your students will be introduced to the PC through your class - what a great teacher! Love to you, Scott and Douglas!

Daniel and Emily

Daniel said...

Madre Maria,

Emily is out doing some real work at the moment while I´m merely checking email =) We´re definitely having fun posting to our blog from time to time - it´s a creative outlet as well as a fun way to let everyone know what´s going on. Thanks for the positive feedback, as its nice to know what we´re sharing is well received. Of course, love to you, Con and Miguel!

- Dan and Em

Indiana Kellers said...

Buenas Tardes Danile and Emily;
It is always interesting to hear what you have been up to and them to be able to see pictures. The little chick is cute and was probably just trying to be neighborly (smile).
Have fun with your baseball efforts. I am sure that it is rewarding for both you and the children. Good luck with your garden work and be sure to look out for moving objects!!!


Ana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ana said...

"I am a young experience in the happening and an eager memory in the making in one very big very small world, and I am t h a n k f u l for the complexities I’m learning to see in such a simple life."

I love the Kellers (sorry if you just thought of Dan´s parents in place of yourselves, Emily ;)