Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More pix of our site

Lisa, one of our host nieces, Lilia, and our host mom, Lucila, in the backyard of our host family's house.

Our host brother's bar. He just had it painted. Atlas and Balboa are names of two popular beers down here. Yeah, this bar is across the street from our house. Luckily it's only open on the weekends.

Lilia and her cousin, Anny del Carmen, on our host dad's horse, Morracho, which is a take on borracho, which means a drunk. Don't ask. Our host dad, in the white hat, is named Virgilio, and he worked for 26 years as a supervisor at the sugarcane refinery. Now he farms his family's land an hour outside of town.

Our host nephew, Einar. He's 4 and is the cutest kid ever! He speaks perfectly clear Spanish and likes to stand at the side of the road as cars pass and say, "Hey, hey, hey!" He also talks to the drunks across the street at the bar. It's so funny. Lucila is standing in the kitchen doorway at the back of their house. To her right is a little shanty, or rancho, where she often cooks on an open fire.

Our host dad insited Matt take a picture of me on his horse. Okay, I haven't been on a horse in about 20 years! I was scared and they all laughed at me as I tried to get down!

Virgilio and Morracho.

Matt had Lisa and her friends pose in front of the cooperative's tractor.

Dancing at the first meeting of our youth group. The young lady at right, Karla, is the vice president.

Everyone got in a circle for an ice breaker, or dinamica. Lisa is seen here with our friend Emily, who lives nearby. Her youth group is helping ours get started. The meeting was in our town's casa comunal, a big pavilion. The primary school, the only school in town, is in the background.

The town park, where we hope to plant trees. It's really hot without shade!

One more shot of Morracho. Our host sister's house, which is next to our house, is in the background.

Last week they started burning and cutting the sugarcane. They work day and night to feed the refinery. Some of the cane is cut by machine, but a lot of it is still done by teams of men with machetes. They work in brutal heat, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants to protect themselves from the sun and the sharp leaves of the cane.

They burn the cane to kill snakes before the workers go into the fields. The smoke smells sweet.

Here's Lisa near the entrada to our town. Those are beans on the ground and watermelon in the distance. Watermelon, or sandia, is a huge crop just south of us, but they don't grow any where we live. It tastes awesome!

The road into town. Those mountains in the distance are tall and usually covered by clouds. The views are quite pretty, but if you wanted to walk to town from this point, you'd melt in this heat.

Burnt cane up close. The fields go on for miles, and the cooperative that Lisa works with sells all of its cane to the nearby refinery. That sugar eventually goes into candy and those little paper packs they give you for your coffee. Everyone here drinks coffee with at least 3 of those packs of sugar. They think Matt's nuts because he likes his with just milk.

Cane and smoke.