Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday in Tegus

From somewhere above me, people are singing--a church service. A man is yelling Jesús, Jesús! I am at an internet cafe that I have never been to before, the last stop on our way back to the ranch. There is no window, only an opening with bars and a vinyl, stenciled internet sign hangs from the bars. Through the bars, I can see a papaya tree growing out of a parking lot and buildings with additions on every side, that can only be houses. Above it all hangs a knot of electrical lines with air plants growing out of the wirey nest.

It is a lovely day, a quiet morning with a touch of tropical heat balanced by a breeze. We had plantains, chorizo, eggs, and tortillas for breakfast, the plantains fried and sweet and golden. I love mornings like this in this city. Getting up early, walking the empty streets past shop after shop, closed and quiet, shuttered and locked. Even the street vendors aren´t up yet and those who are are gentler than usual and only promote their goods with a wave instead of a scream.

We walked around looking for grapefruits, and finally found them on the edge of Plaza Dolores. They are as big as canteloupes and their yellow rinds are splotched with pink. Their insides are a deep, alluring pink and sweet enough to eat like an orange, without sugar.

A friend, an ex-volunteer, wrote me recently and recounted how her feelings about Tegus were always in flux: how sometimes she hated this city and other times loved it. She is right. Tegucigalpa is a city of contrasts, hard contrasts. A woman with no legs and matted hair and a woman with a designer handbag and high heel shoes talking on a cell phone, who doesn´t even see her. Flowers blooming above piles of garbage.

My friend is right, sometimes you love this city, sometimes you hate it. And the second you think you know it, it changes.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Crabby, tired Amelia says . . .

Well, the "old" volunteers have left, leaving a noticable gap. It is funny how hard it was to see them go, how hard to adjust to our new group, people in new rooms, new jobs. I keep thinking I see them or hear their voices, keep thinking to tell them something or how we all can go to La Venta tonight. And then the realization hits and leaves me feeling empty and a little numb, like I have taken too much cold medicine.

We, of course, celebrated their departure in style, "despedidas" (going-away parties) nearly every night for a week. Too many maybe. Too many goodbyes. It will take us all awhile to get back into routines, regain our energy. I new expected it to be so hard to say goodbye.

At the same time, I feel sort of scared. Unprepared for my own departure. Someday, I have to leave. Someday, I have to go back and start over. I feel like I have worked so hard to be where I am, to be comfortable, to be making friends. How can I abandon it?

Yes, I am just doing a bit of moping these days. Not good, I know, but it feels necessary, like crying while chopping onions. I´ll get over it. I always do. We always do, right?

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