Friday, July 31, 2009


July 25th marked the anniversary of the Agroforestry Cooperative “San Matias” in La Campa. I have worked a fair amount with the manager of the cooperative who has thoroughly supported the potters with loans, buying/selling their product, and organizing sales at fairs and events.

The anniversary was to begin at 8 am and I didn’t arrive more than 2 minutes late when I came up the hill at 9:10 to the large warehouse-style room usually used to store coffee. I finally have Honduran time down! Although I admit I did walk quicker than usual because even though I knew nothing had started at 8, deep down I knew I was getting there . . . well, late. I can’t seem to ever get rid of the thought: “What if on this occasion things actually start on time?” And sometimes people will tell me the time they think something will actually be starting because they know I arrive on the hour. I guess there’s habits we just don’t shake after two years. (July 11th marked exactly two years for me in Honduras!)

By the time I arrived, the number of this anniversary had already fallen from being taped on the wall, so I don’t know exactly which anniversary we were celebrating. We began with singing the National Anthem and then with a devotional from the pastor. The Evangelical church band from my village filled the spaces between every bullet point on the agenda with ranchera tunes. We almost needed them to provide an intermission during the president’s words who, during his 50 minute oration, appeared to begin concluding his speech by thanking everyone for listening to him three different times before thinking of something else he wanted to say and then continuing on. Then, he was so delighted by the applause that followed that, after the music interlude, he stood up and continued again for another ten minutes.

During his speech, more and more people started to show up and so more chairs were brought to squeeze people in. The screeching of chairs and shuffling of people made it hard to hear the president at times. Also, every now and then, the green and yellow balloons that someone had meticulously hung from the ceiling and walls started to pop haphazardly or deflate as they were only tied with string. One strong breeze sent the name plates of the board flying to the ground and the people in the front row gathered them up and put them back in place just to have them blow down again twenty minutes later. Oh well, they weren’t in the correct order in the first place.

The event ended with lunch for the 150+ people who arrived and I found my friend, Leonor, with her daughter Esmeralda. I was looking for them during the meeting and was sad to see they hadn’t come. They had either entered later and I didn’t see them in the back or they had come just in time for the food, not uncommon. Either way, Esmeralda’s squeals of laughter turned heads and produced smiles as we played in the line for food. All in all, the meeting was . . . a lot of fun! We didn’t play any games or learn anything new that can help us live more productive lives, but I got to chat with tons of people that I hadn’t seen in a while. Sure, I could have been actually DOING something else like cleaning my always dirty house instead of sitting for 3 ½ hours, but two years here has taught me that just getting to see so many people I know and care for is what it’s all really about. A year ago, I probably would have been almost gnashing my teeth with boredom after this. I’m glad I’ve opened my eyes to see that at least some old habits change.

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