Tuesday, December 11, 2007

still more pictures

pics again

Cock Fights and Binge Drinking- it MUST be Mother’s Day!

Karinne and I escaped the chaos of Mother’s Day, easily one of the biggest holidays here, by passing it in Panama City. Most people were heading out of the city to visit their families, so it was fairly quiet and calm in the city, which is unusual. And yeah, the holiday is marked by the usual binge drinking, cock fights, dances, massive meal cooking; the usual things for holidays here. I enjoy them for the spectacle- stumbling drunks especially. But mostly I am not too interested. One nice thing is that people will often bring food over to share; we had rice with pig head the other day, and it was delicious.

The phone company came to fix the phone the other day, and I was very happy. Recently the three nearest phones have been down, in fact, they haven’t really worked at all in recent years. So he came, fixed it, left, and I made a phone call. I’m glad I did- the phone worked less than two hours. Now, back to the hour plus hike down the road to make a phone call.

I am done with the harvesting and processing of coffee for my thesis research. This is a relief, since it was kind of a race against man and nature to get enough harvested before the coffee was all picked or over-ripe. Overall, things went smoothly, and most of the time the work was very enjoyable and satisfying. The 13 mile roundtrip hike to the farm got a little old, especially the long hill right before I got home exhausted, but it got me in good shape for sure. I got a lot of help from our volunteer neighbor Darlene, and of course from Karinne, too. Our dog Java accompanied me every time, and would bark threateningly and scare locals who had the nerve to walk on the train through the farm; I always enjoy this, since I know she would never bite anyone. I guess I should be more understanding of what I think is an unreasonable fear of dogs that locals have. But mostly I find it hilarious when grown men and women freak out and shrink in terror from our small, friendly dog.

As I may have mentioned, there are a ton of holidays in November until mid-December. These holidays are always accompanied by dances. We went to a dance up in Barretas, near where I harvest coffee, a couple weeks ago. It was great- still very muddy, many entertaining drunks who kept falling down, sorta fighting (they were too drunk to really distinguish fighting from hugging), cock fighting, bored band, the works. The mud was the best, since the drunks just could not stay upright. One guy must have fallen 25 or thirty times just while we were watching, he must have been so sore the next day.

I completely forget what time of the year it is, then I hear Christmas music on the radio, and it feels like a slap back into reality. We went by the start of the big, national Christmas parade the other day, and it was weird- scorching sun, yet people sitting on the floats bundled up in Christmas costumes looking very uncomfortable. Why can’t they just acknowledge reality and have Christmas tank-tops instead of sweaters and scarves?

Not much work going on up in our site right now, mostly because the coffee harvest has wrapped up, and people are taking a break around the holiday. Though we are helping to organize a sewing class, looking into getting solar panels for the school, and trying to get the public phone replaced with one that’d be more reliable, so I guess we are doing stuff. I’m also trying to get people to prune their coffee trees, since I’ve come to the conclusion that pruning is the easiest and most effective way they can improve their farms. I’m even trying to talk people out of more labor-intensive things they mention, since I know that the easier and quicker a job is, the more likely it’ll get done instead of just be talked about ad nauseum.

Karinne is stuck in the city for physical therapy for a few more days, but I’ll be heading back to our site tomorrow. We are lucky to have a good dog-sitter right across the street, so Java can run around while we are away. Too many people keep dogs tied up here.

Pics, I hope