Monday, December 21, 2009

The day I got Tom Sawyered and the day God blessed a whimpering spoiled soul

December 19, 2009

The morning went by pretty much as usual, vanilla cappuccino, sunrise, a shower, and a little iguana chase. There was not much action on pony lane as there are no cruise ships on Saturdays so the locals aren’t racing around as much. At 10:00 I wanted to be over at the La Vina’s church and see if the ladies there needed a hand with the lunch. Once a week the La Vina people serve a lunch to the kids in the poorer areas where they have a new church plant. You don’t see the starving children here with the big bellies like you do in some other countries because for the most part these kids are not starving but a lot are just living off of tortillas which are affordable to most families because the Mexican government subsidises tortillas because it is the country’s staple food. I wish other countries would do the same. However, the tortilla alone does not provide all the nutrients that one needs so there is a lot of malnutrition. The church tries to feed these kids one nutritious meal a week, obviously they are not reaching all kids but they are doing what they can with what they have. So, Fridays and Saturdays the La Vina feeds kids in 10 different colonias now, Stone Island is one of them. I get there and find out that all is under control; today is a special day because they have cake as well for a Christmas treat and some toys for give away prizes during some fun children’s games. It was fun to watch.

As I am walking home I pass Mrs Cardenas’s (my land lad's mother) in law on a quad, she waves and I wave back and as she passes me I get a glimpse of something in a basket on her quad and I immediately remembered that it is Saturday...Tamale Saturday...the ones with the heads, and she is cruising around selling them for her mother-in-law....I holler at her but she is too far passed and doesn’t hear me. There is no way I can catch up to her and she is coming from the direction of my house so I know she has already been to my hood....I missed the Saturday Tamales :( As I am walking I have a brilliant idea, Mrs Cardenas is always inviting me over to her house and I haven’t been there yet this year, I should go now. She most likely got up really really early to make the tamales, the whole process of making them is obviously done as they are on the street already and so I wouldn’t be interrupting her...yes, a great idea, I’ll get to visit with her and get tamales after all. I’m feeling pretty excited as I am wandering along....then....I get to the little wee Baptist church and see Mrs Cardenas’s sister painting the church. They have been slowly building this church for at least 3 years that I know of; holding a Sunday service under a palapa in the meantime and now the building is up. So I stop and chat and see up on a ladder Mr Cardenas and on the other side Mrs Cardenas’s niece with a paint brush in her hand and one other very friendly lady also elbow deep in paint so I offer to help, what else have I to do...nothing . Mr Cardenas tells me that his wife would love to see me but she is at home making tamales....I whimper deeply and painfully, but silently “I know”. He doesn’t know I was on my way to his house for just that reason. So I start painting and after a few hours I suddenly think of something rather funny. Yesterday I had finally went into the mainland and bought a canvas and had pondered all day as to what I should paint, I had a few ideas but they just weren’t quite right so I decided to wait until something would pop out at me....and here I am painting a church and it feels right, I wish I could say I had forgotten about my tamales but you just don’t forget the Saturday Tamales that easily. At 2:00 it was announced that it was time to break for lunch, I wasn’t sure if everyone was going home or if they had all packed a lunch so I was preparing to run across the street to the store to pick up something and was told that they had lunch already prepared and I was to eat with them under the palapa, they had plenty of food. Mr Cardenas had brought ....... drum roll! Tamales! Oh yes, that man had no idea how much I loved him at that moment...of course I had to contain myself and act like a guest...which I did, a very grateful guest I was. They were not the shrimp ones, they were the beef ones but they were awesome as well, I had never had the beef before I have always just gone for the shrimp or if for breakfast the plain corn ones or the pineapple ones....beef ones were great! We had a great lunch and Mt Cardenas took the time to explain to me how tamales are made. OH by the way, Mrs Cardenas got up at 3 am to start making them. We finished the church at 6 pm, whole church painted inside and out (it’s a very small church) as I am leaving I ask if the paint will come off me (yes I was wearing it) with just soap and water and was told yes but to wait to have a shower for an hour or 2, I assumed it was so that it could dry, perhaps it comes off better if dry. As I am putting things away Mr Cardenas really emphases that I am not to have a shower for 2 hours because my body is hot from working in the sun and then I remember what my Spanish reading tutor had told me last year. When you come home from work and your body has heated up you should not jump in the shower right away, for some reason that is bad for your body. I guess this is why the men here lay in their hammocks right after work, cooling off the body slowly. I do believe this is when you are taking a cold shower; most people here do not have hot water, because that would make sense that your body might be shocked in some way when getting such a fast temperature change. However, I waited for an hour after I got home to have a shower and halfway through the breaker flipped on me...turning my hot water into cold...go figure. Having hot water here is just so finicky it is almost not worth it.

Shortly after I get home a lady from the trailer park pops by, I had met her and her husband at church last Sunday and discovered we were neighbours here. She said she had gathered up 2 other people to come to church tomorrow and was wondering if I wanted to go with them tomorrow. If there are 5 of us and we all share a taxi it would only cost us each 10 pesos, the bus to the Golden Zone is 9 pesos. I was late for church last Sunday because the boat and the bus were not totally lined up and I had to wait for both, making me late and they had had the same problem and were also a bit late. So if we take a taxi we will not be late and as we were talking about how it would only cost us 1 peso more than the bus she laughed at her cheapness and threw in a comment on how the Canadians were always perceived to be cheaper than the Americans and she said throw in a little bit of Mennonite yet too. I said “yes that triples the cheapness”, thinking she was talking about me and she said surprisingly “how do you know about us?” I said in German “I know all about you and your cheapness” and she nearly fell off her chair, she had no idea I was German and I had no idea that she was. How funny is that?

I got a tip from a friend yesterday that apparently the iguanas at the big fancy resort hotels in the Golden Zone are fed daily so that they leave their beautiful gardens alone. So this morning I bought a lead of lettuce from my vegetable guy for my iguanas and set some out for them and when I had come home from my painting adventures they (or someone) had eaten what I had left out and as far as I could see no more plants had been mutilated. I just hope I didn’t feed the rat.

But now, I must get my aching tired and sore body to bed....oh yes, 6 hours of painting did not go unnoticed by this body but I was not about to bail out especially with old Mr Cardenas (old enough to be my grandpa) painting circles around me, but then, the man has never shocked his body over and over again like I have my whole life.


Anonymous said...

You will have to see if the truck will give you the leftover lettuce... of the leaves they trim of. Having to pay for it??? lol

Anonymous said...

The anonymous was me, Pat. not good at this yet.