Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Diecisiete de Julio

Our bus broke down this morning.

FORTUNATELY, we had two bikes between the three of us (Adam’s and Teddy’s, with myself standing on the pegs of Adam’s bike).

UNFORTUNATELY, it’s all UPHILL to the school and these bikes are plain cruel on even a slight incline.

We cycled uphill with our thumbs out for a bit, and then hitched a ride on an 18 wheeler for the remainder of the trip, tossing our bikes on the bumpy platform bed of the truck.

The trip home is always fun, coasting downhill on Adam’s pegs under a canopy of trees, dodging the potholes and the oncoming busses.

It’s even more fun in the rain holding a guitar.

I hadn’t yet taken photos of Adam’s 3rd grade choir class, so I hopped on the back of his bike this afternoon with one hand on his shoulder and the other holding a guitar tied in a clear plastic bag. As we zipped thru town, the warm rain soaked us head to toe, temporarily blinding my eyes so I couldn’t be a back-bike driver (“watch that pothole!” “don’t run into that kid!” “you’re going the wrong way on a one way road!”).
It's very freeing to not care about running make-up, messed-up hair and wet clothes.

We made it to the school, tucked down a muddy road and Adam taught the most adorable kids ever how to sing Cielito Lindo along with his guitar.

Tonight as I lay in bed in the dark, my smell sense magnified, I realized nothing around me, including myself, has had a proper cleaning in months. When water availability is sporadic, clothes, sheets, floors, dishes, and bodies don’t get cleaned as often even though they get dirty and smelly much faster here. Everything, including myself, smells like musty mildewed dirt and when there isn’t much one can do about it… being clean becomes less and less important. Going to bed with dirt caked to my feet, like the kids do in the barrios, doesn’t bother me anymore. Eating with dirty hands or with a spoon that’s still a bit crusty from breakfast isn’t as gross as it used to be. Putting on a shirt for the 9th time that has been rained on, sweat in and used as a napkin is no big deal. And falling asleep with my face in a pillow that smells like rotten egg just reminds me that, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.

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