Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maybe June

Thoreau said ¨Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.¨ Likewise I think Summer is when I am alive and there is a June (or a May) in me. I have a May in me today. It poured rain all day yesterday. Last night I saw the constant flashing of lightning through the cracks in my door. Today the sun has returned but the air is cool and moist, the plants green and robust, and the sand and dust subdued in red brown muck.
Though we are still technically in fall here, today feels to me distinctly like a late spring day. Those days felt so glorious both for their freshness and for the iminent end of the school year. The prospect of freedom is always sweeter even than freedom itself.

It is Aldo`s (my host brother`s friend) birthday today and to celebrate they slaughtered one of the pigs at my house today just before lunch. I`d never seen a mammal gutted and disassembled before. I`ve heard pigs screaming here, and seen (everywhere) fresh hunks of flesh tossed about, carried open in horse drawn carts, shlumped in refrigerators and on kitchen counters, but I still had yet to see the most important part of the process.
The pig bled and died quickly. It had been stuck right in its heart, which I can only assume requires impressive dexterity. Boiling water was poured on it and then the hair was scraped off with spoons and knives. Frist its ears were cut, then the skin down its middle. The feet were cut off at the ankle. The skin was opened like a coat and the fat scrapped off the meat. Then the chest cavity was opened and the guts removed. This was the part that amazed me most. To see the lungs, stomach, intestines, liver and heart. I held some of them in my hands. I thought how silly it is that the school recieves so many educational materials with anatomical pictures. These kids have a more intimate and accurate understanding of thier insides than I do.

I`ve found a house to move into in July. Its brick and has tree rooms and a bathroom. The kitchen is the back porch, but that lacks a sink (or a drain...?). They say they`ll put stucco up inside, in the bedroom anyhow, before I move in. I`ll have a little front porch to sit on an drink terere or coffee or something stronger with guests. There`s a little mango tree next door, a couple grapefruit trees in the yard, and also a bitter orange and a banana tree. Its in the poorer part of town, a good 4 blocks from the paved highway that cuts through town, so it is very quiet and removed. I can`t wait to move in, but I`m required to stay with my family for my first 3 months in site. This is so I can share in important bonding experiences, like slaughtering a pig, but its a requirement that many volunteers chafe at.

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