We didn’t know that the clocks were supposed to change back an hour. We just got up, went to school and then waited for the bus to come. It was an hour late, as it had come from the city where the time change was already in affect. Up here in Rio Viejo one finds out about such things later. It is easy to be disconnected from the outside world here. Apparently someone decides the time will change and when it will happen and then everyone stays in limbo for a week to see if it sticks. Time changes that don’t stick – it’s a funny concept to me. I guess it stuck this time, since we haven’t heard otherwise. Now the sun comes up before six o’clock and it sets by six-thirty at night. You feel like going to bed at 8 o’clock, since that feels more like midnight here. After dark the only places to be in Rio Viejo are in church, the bar, or at home. We tend to be home after dark, with the doors and windows closed to keep the bugs out. And yes, we even went to bed at 7:30 the other night, thinking it was 8:30, as we didn’t know which clock was on the new right time. Oh, if any of you are curious, our current time lines up with the Mountain Time Zone in the US.
Youth Trip from Colonial Heights, VA
Jason and I just organized and led a youth trip here this past week. We really enjoyed having the team here and working with them. Our goal was to give them a variety of experiences that help them see what life is really like here for volunteer workers and missionaries. We spent the first couple days painting, white-washing, and pouring a cement sidewalk at an orphanage. We had them navigate the local markets and shopping area too, as a race. Then they came into the mountains here, where they did more cement work for a basketball court at Instituto el Rey. They also visited some small villages, where it is highly unlikely that groups of foreigners have gone before, and handed out school supplies to the kids. They went with our friend Larry up to his field, which is an hour hike off any road, and the helped him plant trees. Larry has a master’s degree in agriculture and is trying to provide that local community with alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, which depletes their future resources. We also had fun swimming in the river and going to Roatan for a day. The team worked hard and had good attitudes about what they did, which made them fun to work with. I think some of the things we wanted to communicate got through to them, as they talked about their changed perspectives on cell phones, heat, food, walking, and lots of other things that are really different about life here. Come again soon guys!
Water sounds simple and reliable, but in Rio Viejo, Honduras, it takes on new meaning. Here one cannot turn on the faucet without a little more thought. The obvious beginning of this is the fact that we have to choose whether we are using tap water or purified water at our kitchen sink. There is a little button to push which diverts the water through a filter, making it safe for drinking and cooking.
Today was a P.E. day at school, where the kids wear more athletic uniforms and spend their last period doing some sort of sport or other exercise. In one class I observed today, the teacher checked to see if they had brought their water bottles. An array of old Pepsi and other drink bottles appeared on the tables, many empty and hollow sounding. The explanation was that there was no water in Rio Viejo today.
Sometime midmorning today the steady flow slowed to a tedious trickle from the faucet. Yet it is funny to think of there being no water, for I can hear the river rushing. The land here is so vibrant green and fertile too, acknowledging that this is a place of frequent downpours. Water scarcity has a funny sound to it. There is also a stockpile of ‘cleaning’ water under my kitchen sink in old detergent bottles, two pitchers recently filled with ‘drinking’ water, and two gallons of water in the fridge that were put there sometime in the past several years. (Does water get too old to drink?)
I was sitting outside before, listening to all the sounds: the river, the wind, more bird sounds than I could count, a horse whinnying, and the occasional truck rumbling through, crunching the gravel. These sounds were disrupted by the gleeful screams of children and the noise of a large metal pot or bowl hitting the ground. And up the road came a group of women and children carrying dishes in crates, some drumming a beat on the dishes. They had been down the river to wash their dishes for the day, which makes me thankful for having a stack of paper plates.
Supposedly the water is never out for more than a day. It runs from a nearby mountain, most likely through a hose. Our water pressure exists because the water source is higher in elevation than here. If one looks closely at the side of the road when going down the mountain there is a black hose which weaves its way through the brush. Hopefully it is safely carrying water to those further downhill and is not connected to our water supply.
There is a water-man in our village, by occupation. Everyone in Rio Viejo pays him a yearly fee to keep us supplied with water. It is his job to hike up along the water hose, find the leak or other problem, and fix it. Hopefully he is up in the hills now, restoring our water connection wherever it had gone astray.
I think I’m thirsty. Perhaps I had better have a juice box.