Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10th 2010 – Trivial Tidbits

33 miles = 3 communities = 6 plus hours in the car.

The roads are horrible this time of year. Deeply rutted, washed out and a bit precarious in areas and lots of deep mud pits. By the time the rainy season is done I’ll be able to compete in some good 4x4 competitions!

Conversation around the breakfast table the other day:
Magic Squirrels.


We have a new stove/oven. It still is not connected to the house. It is a gas stove but is hooked up to a propane tank because there is no such thing as a gas line here in Berlin. I made cookies last night in the new stove. And how cool is this: even the oven regulator now works! So if I put it at 200 degrees (Celsius) it actually is 200 degrees. I’m still afraid to light the oven by match though.

Cecilia … my hero.


Oh yeah… I forgot to mention … RAIN.

I have been really busy this past week getting ready for my trip to the States next week. I have 5 days worth of classes to teach at Synod School. I’m excited that I was invited back this year. So I’ve been making some changes to my power point presentations and their outlines. I don’t put words on my power points for the most part. I prefer photos. And LOTS of them! They say so much more than words anyway. But they need to tell the story – give the testimony – teach the history lesson and share the realities here. So I am very deliberate in how I put them together. I actually enjoy this work. But it takes so much time. I want the most powerful photos – and I have thousands of photos to go through.

But I’m done. I have them loaded onto my new little ‘netbook’ (the netbook was an extravagance for sure – but traveling with my 8 pound laptop and all its accoutrements was not fun so I splurged). The little netbook is limited – but it will have all I need to work away from ‘the office.’ I have access to my email, word processing, excel and power points. I’m set. This will be my first trip traveling light!

And I get to “preach” at my church (Heartland Presbyterian in Clive) on the 25th! Y’all are invited! So I’ve been working on that presentation as well. I think it is ready. Although knowing me – each time I go over it to become more familiar with the flow of it (so I don’t totally ‘read’ it that day) – I’m sure I will make adjustments. But it is basically done.

Magic squirrels.


Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2nd 2010 – NEIGHBORS

My neighbor right over the fence near my office USED to be a rooster that sang very loudly and very badly. And at all times of the day and night. He died (enjoyed in someone’s soup perhaps?) or merely moved away about a year ago. I kinda miss him.

The next neighbor noise makers were party people. Their parties began about 7 p.m. and went till 10 or 10:30. Weekends, work week nights – didn’t matter. From the sounds, it was maybe 8 or 10 people and quickly moved from loud chatter to a few men singing along with to same songs every night – getting progressively louder – and more out of tune as the evenings wore on… and I’m assuming as the alcohol got consumed.

This wasn’t so bad. I had learned to tune them out.

Haven’t heard them for probably a month or so.

So about 15 minutes ago – NEW music sounded!! Cool. New neighbors?

This group sounds like about 15 or so. And they started with a song accompanied by clapping and a tambourine. Kind of nice. And obviously evangelical (read that: not Catholic and “subdued”). When the song ended – the preaching began in a loud, very boisterous and almost yelling voice. Sigh. He didn’t talk for long and now they are singing again. Most of the voices are pretty nice. But one male voice is just enough off key to be a little painful.

So now it’s been about a half hour of mostly singing. I wonder how long it will go on. If it is like the church across the street – it could be up to 3 hours.

Take no offense Lord – but I sure hope not.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canton Elections

We were invited to go to Corozal this afternoon to attend (what I thought) were going to be the election of a new Directiva.

It is about an hour and a half drive when the roads are good. But what an adventure to navigate the roads today! What a muddy mess. We passed 2 BIG trucks stuck in the mud on one of the hills ... and I had to navigate around one of them on a steep hill on a curve ... and I BARELY made the skinny space. But had a cheering squad ... (the ones waiting for the truck to get un-stuck). And there were lots of areas with extremely deep and mucky mud.

But hooray for the 4x4 and knowing (a little) how to avoid getting stuck in mud.

And I'm glad we went. There was a "protest" from someone in the community regarding the new Directiva ... which is why there was going to be an election… This is not an uncommon thing – so there is no shame in what transpired today for the community … (shame perhaps on 2 or 3 individuals – but the community as a whole is not at fault – and in fact – they are to be commended for being in attendance and showing interest in and participating in the legal processes of their community!!)

So back to the reason for the ‘election re-call’ – One man said the new president came to the Pastoral House soliciting new houses for the new community down the road from them (which legally they are not supposed to do – they are only supposed to work for their own community).

But since we were there in person – representatives of the Pastoral House - WE could answer to that... Cecilia spoke up quite clearly and said that all we received was a list of names of the people now living in this new community. (They are calling themselves NEW Corozal and they have 110 families who have resettled there within the last 2 years and it is just down the street from 'old' Corozal).

Cecilia also said the new president of ‘old’ Corozal did not deliver it ... it was someone from the new community who delivered the list. And we did not receive any kind of solicitude - just the list of names for our information.

So the man was caught in a lie. Apparently he is the local trouble maker. He is maybe 30 years old... often drunk ... arbitrary... goes behind backs to stir up trouble (as in this case). And all this was verbalized in the meeting in front of everyone (with lots of nodding heads of agreement). This man had made a list of people who wanted the new Directiva out. There were 28 names on this list. But 8 of the signers were present in this meeting and they said they did now know what they were signing ... (duh... so don't sign it!!!) and that they were not in agreement to kick out the new Directiva. And some of the signers were not ‘socios’ (legal voting members of the Association known as Corozal)

Sigh. But there was MUCH more arguing and accusing that went on even after Cecilia’s words and the words of some of the signers.

But at least we could defend the poor guy who was accused falsely. And in front of the majority of the community no less. So for that especially, I am glad we made the trip out there.

And there was an InterVida guy there ... and the mayor was supposed to show up ... thankfully HE never made it to be witness to all this bickering.

Several of the community members asked forgiveness of Cecilia and me (and the InterVida guy) - apologizing that we had to be witness to all this arguing and accusing. I found it interesting to see some community dynamics in action. I don’t often get to see the actual ‘discussions.’ I usually just hear about the results later! It was interesting to be in the thick of it. And what a good thing that so many people were voicing their opinions – either way!

The InterVida guy was asked to speak about the legality of such things. InterVida is an NGO that works with the organization of communities. He said the general assembly DOES have the right to dispel a Directiva (or individual member) but only in the general assembly ... not out of one’s living room and then going to your neighbors and saying: ‘here... sign this.’ He sort of chastised them a bit... asking them to think: what institution is going to want to work with a community so divided?? They need to come together for the common good of the community.

Gee - THAT sounds familiar!!!

It really was quite interesting. Unfortunately, we had to leave because it was getting late and we didn’t want to be on the roads in the dark. We left about 4:45 and the meeting was still going strong. They might STILL be there! haha