Friday, October 07, 2005

land of natural disasters

so today was the first day we were able to come into san vicente since last saturday. we had pretty much been in lockdown in our communities because of the double red alert that el salvador was under because of the volcano (volcan ilamantopec) eruption and then the floods from hurricane stan. i think something like 70 people have died here because of the massive amounts of rain that fell earlier in the week. it started sometime saturday night and really did not stop until thursday afternoon. i seriously have never seen so much rain in my whole life. it was absolutely pouring non-stop for five days. it was miserable because every time we had to go outside for something, our shoes were soaked, our clothes were soaked, everything was absolutely drenched.

see, anna and i have to go to megan´s house for spanish lessons and since we were supposed to stay in our communities, our spanish teacher was supposed to come to our town for spanish lessons all week. melissa lives right next to megan, so it´s not a big deal for her to go over there. but for anna and i, we have to walk across town and there is a spot where two roads intersect and basically the river runs over the road in the rainy season. it´s wasn´t bad last week because there were a bunch of rocks we could jump from and get to the other side. but this week, there was so much rain that there was no way to cross it unless we rolled up our pants and just waded through it. on tuesday, this stupid river had an actual current. anna and i were like ¨is this even happening?¨ we knew that our feet were probably infested with some kind of disgusto bacteria and all i wanted to do is soak my feet in a vat of purell antibacterial gel. anyway - our teacher never showed up on tuesday but the peace corps called and said anna and i should go back to megan´s after lunch because byron (one of the guys from the office) was going to come by and talk with us about some feedback thing. so anna and i left my house and went down to the ¨river¨and it had now risen like another foot. we were like ¨screw this¨ so we tried to go this back way that a couple of farmers had showed us before. by this time my umbrella wasn´t even working anymore. we get to this tiny path we are supposed to follow and we are dying laughing because this whole thing is so ridiculous. i mean, we weren´t even helping people as peace corps members, we were just trying to get to damn spanish class. anna said that this is what the ads for the peace corps should be - us trampling through pig and cow crap in the pouring rain in an attempt to cross from one side of the town to another. so we´re on this path, right? and in front of us is this cow, with one hoof in the path, totally blocking our way. it was like the last straw and i thought i was going to die laughing. the cow turned around and just stared at us and we see these bratty teenage kids yelling at us from their house to go around it and saying ¨hello¨ and ¨bye bye¨ in english. and it was like we knew that´s what we were going to have to do, but we were laughing so hard we couldn´t move. finally we got around it and continued walking to megan´s. to top things off, right after i almost fell down in this bacteria-infested street of mud and crap, some guy whistled at us as we were going by his house. we were like ¨are you EVEN kidding???¨

in any event, we found out later that our spanish teacher got into an accident coming to class on wednesday. apparently the peace corps was taking the teachers to some of their communities and the truck with our teacher in it got into a crazy accident. i guess she´s in the hospital and when we came into the office today, the truck was parked outside and the entire front end is smashed in. i guess she is ok, though so that´s good.

as if both of those disasters - the storms and the volcano - weren´t enough, today we were in the office having a spanish class and all of a sudden our teacher was really quiet for a second and i was like ¨what the hell is she doing?¨ then york, one of the volunteers i was sitting next to, is looking at me and is like ¨are you moving my chair?¨ i thought my chair was falling backwards and then i realized it was an earthquake. there were only about 10 of us in the office and everything was super silent and then when it was over everyone was freaking out. we found out later that it was about a 6.2 and was based somewhere off of the coast. apparently san salvador felt it way more - about a 4.0. i don´t know what it was where we were, but it was definitely the weirdest thing i have felt. it was like having motion sickness or something. anyway - so that´s that. í can´t belief i´ve only been here two weeks and so far i´ve experienced/witnessed a volcano eruption, massive flooding and devastation and now an earthquake. i´m wondering what´s next......locusts?? black plague?? maybe a tornado or two??

melissa and i actually got to go out on wednesday and work with a local farmer, don orlando, in his field. we couldn´t really do much because it pretty much poured the whole entire time. my shoes were soaked after walking through his sugar cane and corn fields. it was really interesting though. and when we got up to his field, we had a super awesome view of molineros. i couldn´t believe we were that far away. but you could see our purple church from high in don orlando´s field. we dug up some beans and he showed us how much they had grown since the corn was harvested. then he showed us this area along the main road that apparently served as a killing field back in the civil war. he said they used to bring buses of people up there and slaughter them. it was strange to think that because the it was really pretty up there. anyway.....

lastly, let me inform you all that when i left the house this morning, all of my underwear was hanging from a dead tree on the side of the house (which is clearly visible for every person who comes to the tienda to buy things). it rained so much earlier this week that practically all of my clothes were soaked. yesterday was the first day we had any sun and so i took advantage of it by washing all my clothes and trying to hang them on the line before it started raining again. well, guess what? yep, you guessed it. it started raining again. so basically all the clothes had to come onto the porch – which is actually where the kitchen is. you´d think having my underwear hanging from the dead tree was embarrassing enough. not so. try to imagine it all hanging over the dinner table. yep….so actually the tree thing isn´t so bad. ana said this morning that they´d dry quicker on the tree. great, whatever… long as i have dry clothes, i don´t care where they are hanging or who sees them.

that´s it for now. i have some interesting things to say about the peace corps being an official dating service. but that will have to wait until the next entry. it´s actually quite intriguing. oh, before i sign are some pictures of my family and where i have been living.

adios for now!!!!

dayana (my sister)

dayana, ana (my mom) and sindy (i just found out sindy is spelled with an ¨s¨and not a ¨c¨) in front of ana´s tienda - which is also the front of my house

sindy (my sister)

mama rosa (my grandmother) and sindy

the front of my house/tienda