Monday, July 14, 2008

Taking Data in Rural Villages in Northern Honduras

Today our team split up. Dr. Jordan, Ryan, and Nicole went to Danta Uno, while Kim, Jason, my son D, and I went to Pueblo Nuevo. The first group was surveying the area to determine the best way to build a canal and/or locate a pipe to direct water from the river to our small hydrogenerator. Their tools were primitive for the task: a carpenter's level and a 100 foot tape measure. Ryan came up with some fancy triangulation methods to determine the placement of a few large boulders that could be used for support. All that math is paying off after all.

My group went house to house with GPS receiver, recording the latitude and longitude of each home. Most of the men were working in the fields, but we spoke with many of the women about their use of flashlight batteries and kerosene "candils" like the one shown below. It is essentially a tin can with a wick that they fill with kerosene. I have also seen small glass containers used in the same way. The trouble with glass is its fragility, of course. When lit, they are essentially a molotov cocktail.

{This reminds me of a story about The M. When we were first married, we were discussing the Jewish wedding custom of stomping on a glass and yelling "Mozal tov!" which means "good luck". She got the two words confused and made a reference to thowing "Mozal tov coctail". We have laughed for years about that.}

This lady has been using electric lights powered by the hydrogenerator we helped them install last year. She says she is no longer using kerosene for lighting at all! I looked at her candil and it was empty and dry. I found this very satisfying! She was terribly patient with my Spanish too.
This was D's first visist to a rural village. He came with us to survey the area and enjoyed the sights and smells. This home had been recently painted with flower decorations and swirly designs around the front door. The broom by the door was home made, and this seemed to be of great significance to him.

This lady and her son posed for me at my request. When ever I take someone's picture, I try to show it to them on the display on the back of my camera. They almost always laugh when I show them. I have no idea why, perhaps it's the novelty. Behind her is a wood burning stove and above her, hanging from the rafters, are plantains (left) and something I do not recognize (right). Also notice the home made mini blinds in the window.

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