Sunday, November 26, 2006

are we green yet?

so that was some excursion to san salvador this past week. i felt like all i did was spend money. food, more food, reading material, etc. it definitely put my finances in the red. but everything was a-ok with my cavities, parasites, amoebas, problemas. so i was really happy about that.

wednesday night megan, sara e. and i went to see an inconvienent truth, which, surprisingly was playing here in el salvador. let´s just say that i left the theater even more determined to teach the little punks at my school about their fate if they don´t shape up and quit throwing their trash all over the goddamned place. it made me want to ask the woman on the bus to give me her plastic bottle before she throws it out the window and then tell her exactly why i want it. but i have to say, as well, that i´m glad i´m here in the peace corps trying to do something about this environmental problem. i was a little sad when al gore was talking about how back when he first brought all that information to congress about the future of the earth should nothing be done about the pollution we cast into the air every day, and nobody gave a damn. it´s kind of like that get all your stuff together with facts and pictures and whatever, and the people here really don´t care. however, i don´t think it´s because they truly don´t care (like those congressmen didn´t), it´s just because they don´t really understand how to think about something in the future like that. but you know what, i don´t care if they don´t care....i´m gonna get at least some of them to care. even if i have to use their religious beliefs to do it (god created the earth, you guys shit all over god´s creation....etc.) i never thought i would want to bring religion into the whole picture, but when you have people saying that they are sick because god made them sick (they believe no other factors were involved), how do you explain environmental problems? plus, a lot of people are only thinking in terms of day to day.....they don´t think about the future at all. it´s just about where they´re gonna get their food the next day. so in terms of that, our work down here is extremely difficult. but i´m trying and i will continue to try no matter how many people scoff at the idea of protecting the environment.

so how are you all doing with the whole going green thing? let me just say isn´t a joke. really, it´s not. down here you can see what happens with´s sad. the total loss of tons of animal species is just one of the big things down here. and PLEASE only buy shade-grown coffee, because there are some cafetales here that are trying out the no-shade coffee, which means cutting down the shade trees which are the homes of tons of birds native to this area. loss of one type of animal can really set nature into a tailspin. it seems like in the states it´s hard to see the day to day effects of small things as opposed to here. one thing down here that really REALLY irks me are the buses. they blow dark black smoke every time the driver turns one on. and for a minute i think - don´t these assholes care about this? i mean, these buses go directly through the terminal and blow that smoke onto all the people, as well as the fruits and vegetables that they´re selling. but then i think...where did these buses come from? the united states, that´s where. they´re all reformed school buses that the united states sold to el salvador (and sells all over latin america). the united states, in trying to comply with the clean air regulations there, says ¨oh, this school bus is too old, it doesn´t pass emissions tests.¨ so it makes the school get a new bus. but instead of junking the bus altogether, it just sells the bus to latin america. air pollution doesn´t have borders. just because the states is complying with clean air regulations in the united states, doesn´t mean it´s helping control air pollution in the WORLD. they´re just redistributing it, making it some other country´s problem. some other POOR country´s problem.

anyway, thanksgiving sure was interesting. the minute we were picked up by the husband, martin, in the family that was hosting us for thanksgiving dinner, i felt like i had bought a ticket to the states and had landed in suburban boston or something. stacy (martin´s wife) is a legal attaché for the department of justice and works in the embassy in san salvador. their house had every amenity that i had almost forgotten existed....washing machine and dryer, couches(!), a for real bathroom, not what i have that kind of resembles a bathroom, kitchen with everything indoors including sink and name it. they were lacking nothing. it was a GREAT dinner....we had beef instead of turkey (i wasn´t complaining), the most awesome potatoes, something called ¨carrot souflee,¨ only it tasted more like sweet potatoes and was soooooo good, pumpkin pie AND cheesecake (made by one of the guests, fernando, who was hilarious and works for the department of homeland security?). i had mucho, mucho wine and cerveza and just had a great time for un ratito forgetting what it´s like to live in el campo, el salvador. i have to admit, i am used to living here....when i moved into my house i thought - hey, this isn´t really THAT different than living back in the states. but when i returned to apaneca after my week-long excursion in san salvador and martin & stacy´s house, i realized that, yeah, it IS a lot different. i have no hot water, my kitchen consists of a wooden table and a three-burner gas stove (with the gas tank next to the table), and i have absolutely no heat.

speaking of was a record 4.5 celsius on tuesday here in apaneca....that translates to about 40 degrees in fahrenheit. now, all of you living in the colds of ohio where it is snowing and what-not might say ¨40 ain´t that cold.¨ well, when you have HEAT, no, it´s really not that cold. but we don´t have heat for the people that have their wood-burning cooking stoves (no, not like wood stoves in the states....these are all open air, which means all that smoke blows around the house and into the lungs of whoever is living in the house). in other words, if it´s 40 outside....not including the almighty wind´s about 45 or less indoors. and that´s COLD!!!! seriously, all around the country it was freezing - even in san salvador - and lots of people lost their vegetable gardens/crops because it is really unheard of to get that cold here in el sal. it was much warmer today, but i can´t seem to shake the chill that seems to be in the air. everyone´s wearing their sweaters and jackets and winter hats and i really wish i had some toasty warm long johns. do any of you knit? because i´d love a nice long scarf. or gloves. i´m just sayin' is all.....

so this week is gonna be FUN in apaneca. tomorrow is a parade for the fiesta de patronales. then wednesday and thursday are the big fiestas....bailes (dances) and good times all around. everyone seems to think i should dance at the baile, but i have to admit, i might have to have a few glasses of wine in secret before i dance in any baile. seriously, me? dance? should be hilarious if it happens.

so it looks like the leftist candidate in ecuador´s presidential race, rafael correa, is gonna win. great news for the left!! but this is what is just plain hilarious to me....this from bbc news: mr. correa is close to venezuela's anti-american president hugo chavez and has called u.s. president george w. bush a "dimwit". hee hee. i love how these leftist latin american candidates don´t really try and impress anyone with clever name-calling. they just go all out and call a spade a spade. and i think it´s funny. it´s definitely how it is down here. i´ve had people just out and tell me ¨ud. estaba gordita la primera vez vino aqui.¨ (you were fat when you first got here). i mean, i´m not gonna argue with that at all. but it kind of takes you aback for a second...did niña magdalena REALLY just say that? and you know, you do ponder this later. this kind of directness MAKES you think about what they said. i wonder what george bush thinks when he hears these statements. ¨seriously? did rafael correa just call me a dimwit?¨ because, we all know how the press and other political candidates here in the u.s. like to tip-toe around stating the obvious. why not take a cue from latin america? just go out and call bush an his face in one of those press conferences. what could possibly be his response? probably something along the lines of ¨i know you are but what am i.¨ ugh.

well, i´m gonna say adios for now. my fingers are cold from typing with the wind blowing through the internet place. so with that being said, adios from my cold mountain town.....