Life in Olancho, Honduras–3 poems

THE BOYS  

I look at you
your dirty face and
dusty, blackened, toe-nailed, shoeless feet,
tattered-and-torn T-shirt hanging from your
heavily burdened shoulders,
hand slapping at the orange pumpkin
and I see humanity
 
I look at you
like your father and his before him,
you are a cultivation of beans and corn and coffee
and I see perseverance
 
 
I look at you
your big, bright smile,
sun-deepened, dark-skinned,
extended little hand, offering me a shake of greeting
and I see innocence  
 

These are the thoughts I had while watching the boys play basketball in the town park. We play every afternoon around 4 p.m., as the sun begins to go down and it cools off a little. Trying to teach them how to play basketball in a country where soccer is practically a birth-rite is an amusing task. A lot of laughter is shared, partly coming from me watching their unskilled shots and they at me trying to explain basketball in Spanish. 

 
  
 

THE BUS STATION   

Old, yellow school buses waiting departure
the people are boarding street vendors hording,
hot and dusty, littered and dirty  
 
 “Juice, juice–who wants juice”   
 
Manto, Catacamas, La Union, Gualaco
Olancho is pulsating, breathing
chairs and cushions being tied to the roof
beans and corn being thrown in the back 
 
 
 “Watches, watches-you need a watch”  
 
  
Smells of sewage and sweaty bodies hanging in the air,
hustle, bustle, chaotic, yet orderly
mothers breast-feeding, children crying   
 
“Taxi, taxi-who needs a taxi”   
 
Dogs eating trash, friends greeting, market sitting closely–  
fruits and vegetables
awaiting the last second buy
engines starting, horns honking  
 
Time to go  
 
 

These are the sights and sounds of the local bus station in Juticalpa, Olancho. Buses are the main Source of transportation in Honduras, especially in the rural areas. The buses are old school buses from the 1970s and 80s brought down from the States. Every time I am at the bus station I get a reminder of home. One of the buses is an old Harrisburg City Schools bus! To get an idea of what a bus ride is like–from Juticalpa (the main station in eastern Olancho) to Manto (my site) is about 32 miles. How long does it take? About two-and-a-half hours. 

 
 

 ALARM CLOCK  

 
 roosters, pigs, dogs and donkeys,
do you know how early it is
stereos, truck horns, kids and adults
why do you have to be so loud    
 
 

I never have to worry about missing a morning meeting, as oversleeping is impossible here. I have yet to figure out why animals are awake at two in the morning. Also, Hondurans like to play their music loud, often times competing with their neighbors.

Such is life!

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