November 21, 2011
Ciro had to go somewhere else for awhile and left me alone in this room full of teenagers, one of which could speak english quite well. Angie served as my translater for a couple of hours as the other kids crowded around sitting on the floor, in desks that were all postitioned around me and others standing leaning in to get in closer.
Lots of questions back and forth but the main topic that kept coming up were my eyes, all the young girls kept complimenting my eyes and said they were beautiful. They asked if all people in US have beautiful eyes. It is rare to ahve any other color except brown and a very dark brown that looks black.
I was very flattered by all the attention and being treated like I was some sort of celebrity. My main message was about how wonderful and friendly it is here and how open everyone was. It seems that in the US most people keep working to keep buying stuff, work many long hours to keep buying stuff, here people seem to actually live. It does not take money to live a beautiful life all you need is joy in your heart and a close relationship to your people however you define your people.
For the kids the most important things the enjoy and what brings them alive is, singing, dancing, music and food. That seems to be true for most people here.
Today with the kids it was no different than any other place in this area, it seems as though there can be several conversations going at once, lots of laughter and joy in their eyes. They love to talk here and if anyone ever felt shut down and needed to open up, it is quite easy to open up here because the joy is contagious. I have yet to see anyone whisper and people just talk loud, open and honest.
Many of the students wanted their picture taken so they can go to this website and see themselves here.
Many of the photos were blurry unfortunately, but these are some for the students to find and copy off this website to keep.
Afterwards it was back home for lunch and then off to catch a bus into town for my Yellow Fever vaccine. We were in luck we happened to get a bus driver a bit more crazy than the others. He either had his foot all the way down on the gas or his foot is slamming on the brakes. The bus ran all stop signs like many people do, not just slow down they just sort of look and keep going, same thing with red lights at major intersections. they just push their way through and always constant honking everywhere, there does not seem to be road rage like the US. Everyone seems to be okay with someone driving up the right turn lane in a bus passing 6 other busses and cutting back left at the last moment to get back in the straight lane, but only to make an immediate left across two other lanes to make a left turn. Man this guy has excellent negotiation skills in crowded traffic speeding inches away from other cars, busses and people. One of the turns was so fast that when he hit a bump I thought the bus was going over on its side. At one point he was racing another bus trying to get ahead and making incredible maneuvers passing cars almost touching the other bus inches beside it. I think it is better than a roller coaster ride, if you're lucky enough to get a seat you are sliding everywhere in the hard plastic seat as the bus takes off fast, slams his brakes to make you fly forward and then the turns push you side to side. You are constantly pushing against other people and they are always pushing against you. The busses are private and the compete to get places first to pick up people. There are no real bus stops, you just stick your hand out pointing to one of the many buses going by and the bus slams on its brakes and you get in. Before you have a chance to get all the way into the door the bus is taking off again. You then stand there and pay the guy through a window. Getting off is pretty much the same, get off fast because as soon as you have stepped off the bus is moving again. But I have to say people seem honest, a person got on the bus from the rear and had to pass her money up through everyone to get it up front to pay her fare, then the driver made change and each person just handed it back until it made it back to her.
We made it there and found the place for vaccines, I got my shot and it was way cheaper then the $300.00 + I was going to have to pay for the MD visit and all the other layers of bureaucracy I would have to go through. Here I just stood in a line, walked in, signed a form, showed them my passport and got a shot for yellow fever.... for free. :)
Spent some time in the downtown area which is filled with people everywhere and what looks like chaos. The smell of diesel, the loud noises, the people moving everywhere around the sound of loud diesel engines up and down the road with busses back to back.
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