My skin sheds and so do my developed-world, city worries, bank troubles and hipster fashions, all turned into ash and light. There is a fire burning at the end of our yard. Black and grey smoke lingers under the trees, heavy and toxic from 2L bottles of Pepsi and swept-up leaves. My neighbour burns her trash periodically. In these villages, it is one of the two ways to deal with garbage, the other being the purest form of neglect. Garbage collects on the largest road to the city, where black bags are sacrificed to hungry birds of carriage. On trips to the city, I’ve seen families throw out their waste near a small creek as a white heron stares back accusingly. And yet the rivers are so pure. No country is void of contradictions. Yesterday we went to swim in the river, and it was so clear, the water turning different hues of blue depending on the depth and the strength of its flow. The sands were coarse, clean and shining of quartz.
New concerns grow with this tougher, darker skin. My goal this year is to create a non-denominaional youth group that integrates members from El Nance and Tacualtuzte; two small towns near one of the largest natural reserves in Honduras. Planned throughout the year, are various artistic projects: environmentally themed murals, theatre plays, radio plays (Orson Wells style I hope), and the production of an educational video. The catch it that the two towns are divided by ancient disputes and grudges that I fail to grasp entirely. In part I’ve noticed the most visible grudge circles around water issues. In times of drought, Tacualtuzte suffers, gets almost no water and minimal water pressure but El Nance is unaffected. From an observer’s point of view, the two towns appear to live in harmony. I’m slowly learning that their surface is only a tense blanket; underneath are layers of sand, dust, rocks and finally, water.