Here are a few random thoughts and experiences:
1. It is hot. How hot? I don’t know because we don’t get constant information—or any information at all—about the temperature, which probably is good. We suffer enough from the heat without knowing how much we’re suffering on a scale. But it’s so hot that nearly always there’s a thin film of sweat on my face. My shirt sticks to anything it touches, including my back, the chair, my pillow. I opt for my room where there is a fan and over the last two months, I have set the fan at a gentle 3, then a robust 2 and now a serious 1. There are three blessings heat wise. When I teach, I don’t notice it. And at night, in my part of Nicaragua it cools down, unlike some sites in Leon and Somotillo where volunteers use fans night and day. And this is not only the hottest time of year, but the windiest and the breeze is a blessing, teasing the damp skin at the base of the hair on my head until it feels positively cold for a moment, a micro second of natural air conditioning.
2. It is dry. Everyone is waiting for the rainy season to start which will cure the heat and the dryness. A week ago I, and everyone in my town I imagine, awoke in the night to hear the rain pattering on the zinc roofs of houses, a little at first and then a torrent and finally the sky emptied barrels of water on the house or that’s what it sounded like. I smiled and I bet everyone in town was smiling, too. Ah, the rains. But no, it was an anomaly, no rain since. When the rains finally come (on May 15th I’m told) it will rain often in the afternoon and evening.
3. Today I left the house at three in the afternoon and headed to the park for a little newspaper reading and to see what’s up, I being tired of hiding out with the fan. I young man came up to chat. This happens sometimes and I wonder what they want from me. Usually it is to tell me that they have a family member in the states. Sometimes they wonder what I’m doing sitting in their park. Today we were joined by the man’s friend who carried the tell-tale bag of a bus salesman. All kinds of people sell stuff on the bus. Sometimes they are on and off at the bus station, selling food. Other times they get on and ride till the next stop. During that time they lecture the crowd about one thing or another trying to sell something to the captive audience. Sometimes it a preacher with a Bible looking to share a reading and a prayer with a bus full of short term congregants. Often what they are selling is health related, like mimeographed books on the supposed heath benefits of food, quite specific. Did you know that papaya cures renal disease? But mostly it’s pills that are sold and the most common pills are anti-parasitical. The salesman starts with a chart which depicts in enhanced color and size maybe a dozen parasites know to inhabit the human gastro-intestinal system. Having gotten everyone’s attention, he shows a bubble pack sheet of pills that will take care of everything. He tells them how many they will need to take and the price—special for bus passengers, cheaper than in the pharmacies. The he walks down the aisle putting the right dose in everyone’s hands. Later he returns and it’s amazing how many people buy the pills. I’m not sure if it’s fear of parasites, the alleged relatively low price , or the psychological effect of holding the pills and not wanting to give them up. The guy I met in the park was a parasite pill salesman. I tend to have a low opinion of bus salesmen. While I recognize everyone is just trying to earn a buck, it bothers me to have to listen to the harangue. My Nica bus mates don’t seem bothered. I’d guess they see him as somewhere between a public service and entertainment on the long ride.
4. Recently I took the bus to a nearby community to co-plan with one of my counterparts. We were done kind of late in the afternoon and when I went to get a taxi home, they all passed without stopping—full. I was starting to get worried, really tired from a long, hot, too full day, when one of my students saw me and joined me to keep me company and to talk. We hung out for a half hour or so during which he handed me 2 flowers from the llamarada de bosque tree (flame in the forest) one of the few whose names of which I know. I’ll attach a couple of pix. The closeup of the flower , the most beautiful in my view, hardly does it justice. This is the time of year for the llamaradas. Compensation for the heat.