Friday, June 09, 2006

i´m in el salvador??

so it’s basically looked like this here in apaneca and san jorge for the past three weeks:

these are pictures i took at the school - the one right above is the football cancha. i’m not kidding you, every single day for about three weeks or so, it’s looked like this, más or menos. no sun or anything! it’s been raining like mad every single day and it is next to impossible to wash clothes because it takes them like a week to dry. it rains during the night. it rains during the day. during the night again. during the morning. all day long. so we begin the rainy season. the thing is, i went to anna’s site this past weekend, which is on the beach in ahuachapán, and at her site there was sun and blue skies and everything. it rained during the night, but it wasn’t dreary or anything. the same for when i was living in san vicente during the rainy rained every day for one or two hours during the day/night and it was really tranquilo rain. that is totally not what we’ve been having here. what’s been happening here reminds me of the rains from hurricane stan that rolled through el salvador last october. hard rain all the time, every day. plus there’s all this mold and mildew that accompanies this rain. everything’s perpetually damp now - i had clothes hanging up in my closet and when i took them out they had all this mold on them, so not only do i now have to wash clothes that i wore, but clothes that i didn’t wear that have mold on them. and they’re probably never going to get dry because i can’t hang them outside because it rains all day long. so i have them strung up on lines that i’ve got draped across my room.

and here in apaneca, because i’m in the mountains, when it rains, it’s cold – especially at the school. this fog, like in the pictures above, rolls in and it sweeps into the classrooms and i’m not kidding you – the teachers and i wear sweatshirts and fleece and put up our hoods. mirna wears a winter hat. no shit! and the rest of the country is sweltering. isn’t that funny? i think if salvadorans from other departments and pueblos were to see the people of apaneca/san jorge, they’d not believe they were looking at citizens from el salvador. in the morning, like around 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. people wear coats and winter hats here in apaneca and san jorge. women wear pants with skirts over them to work out in the cafetales so that if it gets warmer during the day, they can just lose the pants. i would have NEVER imagined it being like this before coming here.

but i’ll say this, i’d rather have fresco temperatures and cool rain than what it’s like at anna’s site. it’s hot and humid as hell there. i was laying in the hammock at whatever time of night it was and i thought i was gonna roast. i don’t see how she gets anything done there – its sooooo humid and steaming hot. you sweat and everything sticks to you, including loads and loads of dirt. if you scratch your skin, you’ll have all kinds of dirt under your fingernails just from your sweat attracting anything and everything. it’s gross and i’d always rather be cold than hot.

anyways, i think i’m over my sickness thank god. that sucked big time. i spent pretty much all last week carting myself on buses to different medical examinations. finally i got some medicine from the peace corps medical office and it was making me sick too because it was so super strong. but finally on sunday, i started to feel close to normal again. i never realized how gross it is to feel sick to your stomach like that all the time. hopefully i won’t have any more bouts with that disgusting illness ever again. but man, i just kept thinking how nice it would be just to have a car to drive to these medical appointments. ugh. a bus to sonsonate – 1 ½ hours. bus to san salvador – 3 hours. then one to the office – another ½ hour. then to the lab – another 20 minutes. to the estancia – another 20 minutes/half hour. back to apaneca – 3 hours. back to sonsonate – 1 ½ hours. goddamn was i sick of the bus.

so like i said, i visited anna’s site for the first time this past weekend. her site is really tranquilo and nice and actually looks and feels like we´re in el salvador – meaning, it´s hot and sunny. she’s got a crappy pueblo – cara sucia – which i’ve already written about before. she, megan and i had a molineros reunion and met up in cara sucia on saturday a.m. i was still feeling gross, but it was nice to be hanging out with my friends, so at least that made me feel a little better. we ended up having to walk a lot of the way to her site which was super hard because it was so friggin’ hot! when we got to her house, carly, another volunteer from our group, was there. she lives super close to anna, so i guess she often just shows up at anna’s house. anyway, so we all then walked down to the beach which was so beautiful. the ocean looked really scary – the surf was just tearing it up, but back on land the whole beach was just lined with these big huge palm trees that were swaying gently in the ocean breeze. we walked pretty far down to this inlet that was warm and tranquilo and just hung out there in the water, albeit fighting the current, for a couple hours. it was really beautiful, and totally tourist-free. there was nobody on the beach (except for a couple of fisherman), no obnoxious condos, nothing at all. just giant palm trees and the occasional house. that’s what’s so strange here – the poorest people live on the beach, unlike in other countries where the rich people hoard up the oceanfront properties. anna was saying that there were some nice houses down a little ways, but for the most part, lots of the coastline of el salvador has the poorest people living in beach houses.

anyway, so we hung out there for a while then walked back and just chilled out. we kept saying how it was nice to just hang out with other peace corps volunteers because we can sit and read and not talk to each other and it’s totally fine. but what’s funny is that salvadoreños that see us doing that probably think we’re crazy – we’re just sitting there, not talking to one another. they must think it’s just so weird – because the concept of reading a book is not something salvadorans understand at all. i think it´s a safe bet that the only book most salvadorans read is the bible. when you’re reading a book – like a novel or other work – salvadorans always ask you if you’re studying. it’s really hard for them to understand that we’re reading because we like to read stories and things like that. another nice thing about having other peace corps volunteers visit, according to anna, is that when you have visitors from the states, they don’t understand that there’s not that much to do and lots of time is just spent sitting around doing nothing. that’s just how life is here....huge chunks of time where you’re not able to divert your attention with anything else like you can in the states – things like television, being able to hop in the car and go somewhere else, etc.

so we three just read books and magazines (my friend sent me a bunch of mags like people, us weekly, etc. filled with hollywood tabloid stuff just to let us know what important stuff we’re missing in the states...ha) and chit-chatted about what’s going on in the peace corps community the rest of the day. then on sunday i came back to my site – well to juayua anyway. i met antonio there and we went to the cemetery there and i took a bunch of pictures. the architecture and decorations are so different from cemeteries in the states. if i don’t get a chance to post some of them in this entry, i’ll definitely do it in an upcoming one.

anyway, so that’s about it. other than the rain there’s nothing crazy happening here, at least for now. well, the gals that are reading this might be interested to know that i spent most of yesterday afternoon drooling over the 21 and over year old guys from san jorge playing soccer in the cancha next to the school. um, yeah, they play soccer really well too. dayum!!! ha ha.

more photos below. adios for now!

the neverending gigantic palmas lining the coast

the inlet where we chilled out (that´s megan in the pic)

this is anna´s house