Monday, January 09, 2006

si, yo estoy soltera

the word around san jorge is that i´m not married and have no boyfriend. this is important to the people of my town. more than anything else. little kids ask me if i´m married. old women ask me if i´m married. every man wants to know if i´m married. i´m surprised the dogs and chickens and cows haven´t figured out a way to ask me if i´m ¨soltera.¨ i went to a fiesta on sunday in san jorge that was thrown by this rich woman – nina claudia – who is from san salvador and donated the money for the school in san jorge. each year she throws this ¨fiesta para los ninos¨ at the beginning of the school year where the kids get to play games, eat cake, and eat massive amounts of candy from the piñatas that nina claudia brings. nina claudia is hilarious. my counterpart – elba (who is one of three teachers at the school, and also its principal) told me to come around 9:30 or 10:00 on sunday for the fiesta, and when i arrived, everyone was hanging out at the school waiting for the grand arrival of nina claudia. when she finally did arrive, about an hour later, she had a friggin´ entourage, complete with, i´m not kidding you, a dj. at the end of the fiesta, nina claudia started asking me questions about myself in english. and you guessed it – one of her first questions was ¨are you married?¨ when i told her no, she told me – no, she promised me - that she was going to find me a salvadoran guy to marry so i could stay there forever. i just laughed and she thanked me for my work that i was doing in the community and all that. then later, when she was leaving and saying goodbye, she came up to me and goes ¨believe me, that was not a promise that is going to go unfulfilled!¨ i was really embarrassed because, of course, everyone else is laughing and agreeing. seriously??? this is my life here….nonstop questions about my marital/boyfriend status. in fact, not only does everyone ask me about this when i meet them, they also talk about it behind my back. elba told me today that some of the moms at the fiesta asked her if i what my deal was regarding the husband/boyfriend thing. ugh!

i had a great time at the fiesta though….i met a ton more people and the best part was getting to finally meet all of the kids from the school. they are all so awesome and i´m really excited to actually start working with them. another highpoint of the fiesta was that i was talking to this woman that i had met at one of the meetings that antonio took me to, and she was asking me if i found a house in san jorge yet. i told her i hadn´t and she started telling me about this house that she knew was for rent. i didn´t want to get my hopes up because i´ve had a couple different people tell me the same thing – but then found out that the houses didn´t have water or electricity and our director wants us to have houses that have at least one or the other. so anyways, this woman – her name is kenia – told me that the owner lives in apaneca and she was going to try and talk to him the following day. i have to admit i was a little excited because i really want a house now that school is starting. plus i´ve met more of the farmers here and i really need to be in town in order to try and get more information from them about the adesco and all that.

this morning i got off the microbus at the far end of san jorge and started walking up the road and i ran into kenia and she´s pointing to the side of the street and goes ¨that´s the house!¨ so we looked at the outside and it looks fine and she says it has a bathroom (no latrine!) and a pila/lavadora and so now i´m even more anxious about it. so basically, i´ve just got to wait until she talks to this guy and then if he says he wants to rent it, then i have to see the inside. and if i like it, then i have to get approval from the peace corps to move there. who knows, though. things here have an amazing way of working themselves out. but they also have an amazing way of falling through. so while i´m excited by the prospect of finding a house in san jorge, i´m also reminding myself that i´m content in apaneca for now and if i don´t get this house, there will probably be another one soon!

the good news is, i´m busy! i have official places i have to be!! i´ve been working at the school since last week, helping the teachers (elba, bessy and mirna) get ready and trying to get the huertos ready in the plot of land above the school. i´m also going to see how much abono organico the huertos are going to need so that i can start some wormboxes...but i´ll probably wait to do that when school starts so the kids can help. the first day of school is the 16th, but sadly, most of the kids won´t be there because they´re out helping cut coffee. that´s how important education is down here. it´s so frustrating. and when i say i´ve been ¨working¨ at the school - don´t picture the three teachers and i frantically trying to get things done before monday. here´s a run-down of what we did today:

i got to the school around 8:00 and only elba and bessy were there. we chit-chatted for a while, and started cleaning one of the classrooms. then we sat down outside in the sun - it´s been amazingly warm here all weekend - and chit-chatted some more. then elba decided we should go up to one of the houses at the top of the street where the grandfather had died last week. they were having the final day of the ¨tierra¨ and doing hail marys (no, people weren´t passing footballs, they were saying prayers....) in the main room of the house, around the casket during the morning. so we went up there and since i don´t know how to do hail marys in spanish, i kind of just stood in the doorway and looked around at stuff. then elba decided to leave, so bessy and i followed, and mirna was just getting there, so she stayed for a bit.

elba, bessy and i stood outside on the street and chatted with some other woman who came up and we talked about how sometimes people die, but still have reflexes and move after dying. i´m not kidding you - this conversation lasted a good half hour. then mirna joined us and we talked about the family of the man who died.

about another half hour later, everyone started coming out of the house and then they loaded the casket on the back of this pickup truck and put all the flowers around it. so we decided to follow the funeral procession (when i say ¨we¨ decided, i really mean the rest of the teachers...i just go along with what they´re doing). so we walked out of san jorge and onto the main road, but since the cemetary is in ataco, we decided to turn around and walk back to san jorge. it was about 10:30 at this point.

on the way back up the street to the school, we stopped at the molino and told the woman there - nina flor - that we wanted some food, so we put in our ¨orders.¨ we walked back to the school and i helped bessy clean her classroom for a little bit. a little while later, nina flor delivered the food. i thought when we stopped there, we were telling her what we wanted for lunch...but it turns out it was just a snack. so we stopped everything we were doing to eat our plates of frijoles, huevos, tortillas and queso. mmmm.

around noon, elba busts out this television and we watched the news and a telenovela. ????? then nina flor came back with lunch at around 1:00. bessy left, so mirna, elba and i worked on some bulletin boards for a couple hours.

at 3:00, we sat around chatting again, and then elba got out some chocolates she had and we sat there eating them. around 4:00, we cleaned up from the bulletin board stuff and then packed up and left.

so when i say we ¨worked,¨ that´s what i´m talking about.

adios for now!

bessy, mirna and elba at the fiesta

the girls playing musical chairs (at the fiesta)

breaking the pinata

nina claudi and the DJ