"Average" day.

A common question over the past few years has been “What’s an average day like for you guys?” The easiest (and most accurate) answer is that there is no regular day. Weekly activities change more often than Alida’s dirty diapers. Chores are the most consistent thing, but are different for Stacey and I. Since Alida’s birth, our roles have changed some, so with this overview, I’ll try give you a sample of what life looks like for Kaleb now… This was my Monday, July 6.

El cheapo cell phone starts buzzing at 4:30 AM, perched on top of an electrical outlet that protrudes from the wall... classy. Fortunately its an alarm, not a random phone call. Roll out of bed to the sound of Argelia making food next door, all of 20 feet away. As first light begins to creep over the hills in the valley, rufous-naped wrens and clay-colored thrushes belt out their morning songs. Water on the boil for coffee as I get dressed. Once it’s through the brewing bag and into the Thermos, I slip on my rubber boots and swish through the wet grass on the soccer field on my way to meet with Yovani at 5AM for devotions at the church. He’s already there when I arrive at 4:55AM. Apparently he’s been there for an hour since he set his phone’s clock wrong (time doesn’t automatically sync here). He’s remarkably less frustrated than I would have been with a similar mistake. At 5AM on the dot, Pablo strolls in. We spend 40 minutes sharing scripture, prayer, coffee, and breakfast bread before we each head towards our respective work, each of us a little more encouraged and caffeinated than when we pried our eyes open. Yovani is weeding pineapple fields today and Pablo is off to a 24-hour shift at a cell phone tower an hour’s bike ride away outside of Santa Lucia. I’m headed back through the wet grass for the morning chores.

I grab the pail and milk the goat up at her new milking stand at the top of the yard, then come back down to feed and water the dog, cat, and (presently…) 23 chickens. I grab the eggs and milk and slip off my boots before coming back in to quickly pasteurize the milk. Fortunately it rained last night, so I won’t have to water the garden. Stacey’s up now and has a nice hot breakfast on the table (what a woman). I scarf that down, change into clothes that don’t smell like a petting zoo, fix my hair (haha), kiss my girls and drive out our dirt and grass driveway. On my way down the hill I remember (all of a sudden) that I’m having brake issues and need to leave the car with a mechanic - like today. As usual, I pick up a carload of LomiteƱans walking down the hill, my neighbor Antonio’s sombrero does a fine job filling the top half of the car. I’m not worried about not having the car today since Fredy will be able to take me into work. Just kidding. I arrive and find out that some evil virus has possessed his innards, and he won’t be going anywhere more than five feet away from a toilet. I walk down to the highway and jump on a CosteƱos bus that’s already filled to capacity and stand in the back where everyone’s curious eyeballs were also located. We arrive in La Guama. I pay my 20 lempira and jump into a little green three wheeled moto-taxi for my 15 lempira ride to the office.

Fairly normal day at the HTH Community Development office. Meet with a group of North Americans visiting a couple of communities. Fight with internet for two hours (literally); meet with our Honduran director; drink three cups of coffee (grown across the road from the office). Work on post-project reports, financial transparency issues, and leave at 4:30PM to head into Santa Cruz (now in the Comm Dev truck thankfully loaned to me for a couple of days). Stop alongside the road to buy this pretty little fold-up guanacaste wood table that I’m now typing on. Talk to the table vendor/new friend about ways to propagate a couple of plants from leaf cuttings.

Stop at first of the three ATMs in Santa Cruz, but it’s down. Fortunately number two of three is up and running. Stop by Poultry 2 (concerningly their motto is… ‘It’s not just chicken.’) to put in an order for fried chicken to go (yum). Head to the market to pick up load of fresh fruit and veggies to offset the upcoming grease intake before scooting up to the dimly-lit, strangely-stocked, and perpetually-reorganized supermarket to search for the rest of our daily sustenance in this week’s exciting new store layout. What is the need to move tomato sauce every week? Is it just to mess with the gringos? Head out of Santa Cruz. Stop by Fredy’s to check on him (he’s at least moving, but pretty pale). Drop off some cash for the mechanic to go into the big city tomorrow to buy the parts.

 Finally get home! Eat yummy fried chicken with Stacey and start getting Alida ready for bed before the inevitable “HOLA KAHLEB!” happens. This time it’s Javier with a nice sack of chicken crap (now in the barrel making manure tea for this week in the garden). We chat for a while, and I repay his thoughtfulness with a couple of tomato plants and some cilantro seeds. As we talk, a drunk teenager from Los Caminos walks through the front gate and onto the front porch unannounced to try to talk me out of 20 lempira to go buy something to drink (surely calaguala – a local alcoholic/hallucinogenic drink made out of an epiphytic fern rhizome). He’s not happy that I refuse him 15 times. So at the end he decides to just curse and leave. Javier just laughs. I laugh too, more out of frustration than amusement. I finally get back inside to kiss my little daughter good night and actually communicate with my wife about her day!
Another day… now the night begins.

Look for a future blog post on what happens here at night.

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