Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
In the U.S, there exists a federal program found nationwide that hands out cash to those who would otherwise, and in many cases, still are living on the street and hungry. We call this welfare. This program, though riddled with problems, at the very least sends a message from the government that it knows the poor and marginalized, who also happen to be the sector of any society that is often times victim of the judicial and educational system, that they are recognized. But even, in the most basic function, welfare provides at least a starting point at empowering people to support themselves. Because, when I look at the causes of theft and petty crime here, though, in recent times, petty seems to mean that no one was killed, people commit crimes due to a lack of opportunity. Now, here I will mention, that this is certainly not the only reason why crime is so prevalent here. The root of most of our issues here: corruption. We are chasing our tails and running to the NRA convention because the cops, in many cases, are the burglars, murderers, gangsters. They don’t generally commit the crime themselves, though, without a transparent and effective judicial system it really doesn’t matter. Instead they accept bribes to basically protect any and all criminals. This is no secret to any of us who have been here for a significant amount of time, especially since those on the fringes of society and morality have taken liberties to accelerate their thievery because even more so than ever, there is not a recognized leader in the entire country. When the cat is away, the mice, will play.
I say this with conviction not only because these stories of corruption are the norm, but also due to the fact that in my daily life, I see this. I see this extreme denial of personal accountability, seemingly innate in certain folks. Many of the sayings are in passive voice, ‘ I didn’t drop the lamp, it just fell’. I have been studying the body language in my daily interactions, at the bank, on the street, with professionals. You will never be looked directly in the eye by someone who is stirring the muck of truth.They are either ignorant of, afraid of, or embarrassed it. Hey, here is an idea, just do stuff you are proud of talking about!!!! But who is going to set that example for us? The teachers’ unions here, call off school if the wind picks up. No, actually, if that were true public school kids would have probably had at least 100 of the 200 days they were supposed to have had last school year. But due to the absolute foolishness that abides, public school children only attended 40% of the school days that are required by Honduran law to complete a year.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I mean it, we Americans really take pride in our mystery, our tom-foolery, our fake boobs and false teeth. It makes me proud, because we only do it for one reason, to have fun.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
July 24, 2009
I am sitting here with my Port Royal brewski and a bag of limon y chile peanuts for my happy hour, content to be on an adventure again. This Honduran metropolis, San Pedro Sula, I find myself in longer than ever anticipated due to the indescribable comotion that our deposed president is stirring up. I was suppposed to be getting into Managua, Nicaragua by now, however, this assumed golpe de estado has turned my summer international travel plans down detour alley. I find SAP ( San Pedro Sula), like so many places in developing countries, absolutely fascinating. There are so many social challenges. There may not be a caste system as in India, but it seems that like in other unevenly-distributed, wealth-seeking societies, every social stratum has their role, like it or not.
So here we are, all shuffled in the mix, blaming our neighbors or cooperating with them, marching for or against the powers that govern us, but what intrigues me the most is the over emphasis on the whole and the ignor-ance of the individual. Funny, as I write that word 'ignorance', I realize that if you move the accent it takes on a whole different meaning, IGNOR-ance. One meaning seems to stem from the other.
As I stroll or bike around SAP, I achieve immediate popularity, almost stardom! Especially with my $2 sunglasses, but shhhhh! (Marshall's hasn't gotten here yet, everyone thinks they're evidence of my grand wealth.) In a country where most people are happy to have any amount of money exchanged in their hands, I AM rich. I must truly be a sight on my friend's second-hand stolen then spray painted bike. I ride over narrow bridges and merge into the oncoming traffic, passing settlements full of dusty, corragated metal shacks, bursting into the neighboring field or gated community. I've got all 6'0 of me peddling and sweating, puffing from under my fake raybans. Never a peep out of the few women I pass, they are modestly carrying children or plates of 'plato tipico' or flashily scurrying along in high heels and great hair. But the men love to talk to me. One even followed me into a department store and shuffled behind me, waiting for the right moment to leap, but was instantly picked up by the 10 bored, unoccupied clerks. It seemed I was the only one shopping.
This particular trip into an urban, impoverished nation's main city, I feel a little more cautious. No doubt my loved ones have voiced certain concern about traveling at this particular time. Although it can be tempting, I am learning as I age, to stay away from huge mobs of people in places where more people carry a gun than can read a Dr. Seuss book.
The necessary security measures are shocking. There is high voltage fencing that runs on top of the wall that in order to get through, I have to open a series of iron gates. Finally, I unlock the deadbolt to the apartment and it has only taken about 5 minutes to unlock and re-lock all the gates.
There is also the obscure, completely black tinted windows on shiny rims, slowly rolling past, or when the taxi driver asks me if someone is waiting for me at my destination. Huh??? Let's not get alarmed, as in any case, the good outweigh the bad.
As I search for a little shop to buy a beer in the neighborhood, I realize why the old man who sells chips and baby diapers from his front living room doesn't sell beer. He sends us thirsty souls down the street to wiggle around drunk guys on crates enjoying their liquor consumption to the fullest.
Then there are all of these watchies(guards). They sit there for a 12 hour shift, earning no more than $15/day watching the richest people in the country come and go with their shiny paint jobs and pissy pedigree poodles, only to return to the corrugated metal and rusty barbed wire that awaits them in their kingdom.
Later, I walk into the TGIF's because they are showing CNN in Spanish with live coverage of the ever exciting failed Zelaya attempts to enter the country. That is a whole story all together.
As I sit there, sipping my Bahama Mama happy hour special, as the only unaccompanied female in the place, I am privelged to watch, simultaneously, thousands of anti-Mel protestors just minutes down the street and on the other tv, Mel Zelaya chomping on fruit as he unenthusiastically talks on his cell phone at the southern Honduran border. The camera shows him getting in and out of his Venezuelan-bought Jeep Wrangler, drinking a soda, with the attention of the world. Strange, this dude, ultra clear and up close camera view, is personally driving his own car into a country that has banned him AND where 10's of thousands of his patria are protesting against his return. Aside from the comical theatrics, all under the shade of his white western-style cowboy brim, the camera stares at Zelaya as he holds his personal cell phone up to one of his followers so that this random guy can submit some future, polarizing news bit, live from the scene of the political injustice.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thome: I don't have pics of our CA trip on my computer, they will come soon!
This one is for the ladies. I recently found my stationery that I carted down here from
Bernadette: Thank you for always being willing to listen to my rants or smart alec-y interpretations of life. I feel like I am growing up with my siblings again as I relax in my dungeon and listen to Jaden play the drums or Zora feed Susan the Cat, upstairs. Thank you for sending down dinner after a champions day at work!
Bear: One memory that sums up my love for you- You jumping on stage to sing “Bobby McGee” at the Pink Seahorse on your visit to the island. Life’s always more fun when you are around!
Miriam: Thank you for being forever patient with me as I dive into my role at school. Listening to my zealotry with nods of understanding and empathy. Allowing me to make my own mistakes, even if it means more work for you. Welcoming me into your house, with my bottle of Giffiti in one hand and Billy Blanks’ Taebo Boot Camp DVD in the other! What a commitment on your part!
Thome: Looking forward to a lifetime of free legal advice, not why you are included!!! Thanks for keeping a wise-ass, yet sage-like perspective on the happenings in our lives.
Erin: Missing our hours long trips to the