Friday, July 10, 2009

Melvin's Protest

A few weeks ago I told you about a deaf Honduran subsistence farmer and his family of four daughters named Melvin. Strictly speaking, it was the man whose name is Melvin, not his daughters. Actually, they each have their own name, and even though I can't remember what their names are, I think I would remember if they too, were named Melvin. I mean, yes, they are poor, but they can afford a name for everybody. Hand-me-down names from Dad are OK as a last name, but not at the beginning. Well, in Latin America, it's really the next-to-last name that comes from Dad; the last name comes from Mom. But you understand.

As I sit here and type as if my stream of consciousness had a direct link to my fingers (and yet you read on?), I realize that Melvin has never heard the sound of his daughters' names. What other-worldliness he must live in. In fact, to him, their names are something else entirely: a hand sign, a lip movement, or perhaps, a scent. I am reminded of the Biblical account of Jacob tricking his father Issac into giving him the blessing of his older brother Esau. Some Old Testament scholars, in fact, think that Issac actually had a third son, not mentioned in the Bible, whose name was also Melvin. But I digress...

The purpose of this post was not to wax philosophically like, say, the deep-thinking salon attendant that did my back that one time, but instead to celebrate the arrival of a new computer to post new photos from Honduras! One of my students compiled several hundred shots from every one's cameras, so now I have many good images to share with you. We will start with Melvin.

This is Brian and Melvin after a hard day's work on the hydrogenerator canal. It was sorta like the Panama canal, only smaller and made of PVC pipe. Despite it's smaller size, our canal was a lot of hard work to construct. Brian and Melvin were two of our strongest workers, as you can see below.
I include this photo to show that Brian was, in truth, a strong young man. He was able to lift large styrofoam blocks like this one for hours at a time. My point, while covered in layers of absurdity, is this: that Brian said Melvin was the strongest and hardest-working person he had ever worked alongside. And Brian picks up boulders, so he must be strong himself.

It looks like Melvin is cooling off in the river, but actually, he is protesting the way the United States is interfering with democracy in Honduras. He told me, through hand signals, that he plans to sit in the river as a silent protest until Hilary Clinton brings him a hearing aide paid for by socialized medicine. Or at least I think that's what he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article. What a smile. The article made me laugh out loud.