Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jerónimo's house

For those of you just tuning in, I am writing from Honduras where I have been for five days on a scouting trip to identify mountian villages with suitable rivers for microhydro projects. I intend to return this summer with my family and groups of college students...

I spent the remainder of Friday morning driving/walking around Mejía and looking at the other two rivers. They must be near enough to the village that runing electric lines is practical, so we couldn't go too far. But all three rivers turned out to be inadequate. They were either too flat or too little. The last one might be able to be used for a very small system to charge batteries only, but it can't be the big system I had in mind. Snap. Here are some photos of us in the medium sized river. When I asked this fellow to stand in the river for a photo, he did so obligingly, and put his machete down. I have seen this before, when I want to take a picture of someone with a mechete or a machine gun, they seem to assume I don't want it in the picture and try to hide it or lay it down. Something is being lost in translation.

(the medium river, flow is about 250 liters/second)

(see his machete politely layed down on a rock?!)

(at first she covers her face with shyness)

(but then she warms up and giggles)

After taking some pictures of some cute kids, we went back to Jerónimo's house for lunch before we departed. There is where I met his 18 year old son, Josue Isaias Funes, who, I was informed, has been saving his money for years to get to the sum of $5000. With this, he intends to pay a "cayote" to smuggle him into the United States, where friends assure him a good income building houses. They told me this matter-of-factly, and I'm sure they didn't realize I found this offensive. The older adults and I tried to discuss with him the folly of doing this, how he might be killed in the process or deptorted in a matter of days. But the televised glamor and mystique of the U.S.A. has him in it's spell, and he intends to go through with it.

I stopped short of telling him that illegal immigrents are not a welcomed social group in the U.S.A., or that I, for one, do not wish to pay his medical bills and children's education through extra taxes, while he avoids taxes all together. That seemed rude in light of the lunch his parents were giving me.

We ate lunch, but my stomach felt a little sub-optimal, so I had trouble eating it all. It was minced chicken with spices and rice with corn tortillas and coffee. It started to rain pretty hard while we ate, and Humberto and I exchanged glances. The problem is there are a few rivers to cross on the road back home, and if they are too high we have to wait or go around. "Go around" means driving around the mountains the long way; the six-hour treck is the short way. So we packed up to go and that's when I realized I didn't have my keys to the truck...

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