Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Downtime was a needed break

Two weeks ago I shut down the blog as I was not writing and it was bothering me to know the blog was sitting out there, ignored by me. I debated what to do with it, I really just wanted to disable it while I took a break, but there is no such thing on Blogger - the only thing I could do was restrict access to the blog. Unfortunately people trying to read the blog received a message saying they no longer had permission to view the blog, and this caused confusion. Sorry, wasn't my intention to shut out anyone specifically, I was just shutting down for a while.

But I'm back, not sure how often - Facebook and the iPad have changed the way I use computer technology. I do not sit at my laptop like I used to, and I hate typing long messages on the iPad - way too many typos that take time to correct. So without the laptop beside me, I'm not inspired to write, even though there are lots of things I think about writing.

To bring you up to date on some things that come to mind...

The sheep that was around the corner happily munching on grass, trees, and other stuff tossed its way has vanished. For a while I was hopeful it was not going to turn into a meal, that someone actually just wanted to give it a nice home where it would earn its keep by keeping the weeds down in the empty lot. Part of me still hopes the sheep was moved to greener pastures, I can't even imagine a slaughter. I should be vegetarian - back up my heart with my stomach and stop eating animals. I don't eat much meat, but I do eat poultry almost every day, and when I buy the chicken at the local market, there is no doubt that the chicken was once a living creature - it lies on the counter with feet and head intact. I try not to think about that, I guess I am a hypocrite.

My heart breaks every time I see the truck delivering the load of pigs to the island. Sometimes they seem to be stacked on top of each other - they are certainly squashed in the truck, and I can't imagine how they must feel as they are shipped to their final destination. I rarely eat pork here, just can't let myself be partly responsible for the deaths of these poor pigs. The very first night I was back from Canada we passed the truck - it is an assault on my spirit and brought tears to the eyes.

The next morning after I returned from Canada we were having breakfast at the loncheria Alexia and Giovanni, in the local market square in town. I spotted a guy heading for the last loncheria - poorly dressed and grubby looking, and I think he was the same guy I'd seen the week before sitting on a rock outside the parking lot at the ferry, vomiting onto the sidewalk. I watched as he approached a guy sitting at the table, thinking he was asking for money. The guy shook his head but the beggar was persistent - finally the restaurant owners intervened and told him to leave.

Miguel had just been served his breakfast and the guy headed to our table. He stopped and asked Miguel for some food. Miguel handed him some hot tortillas, but the guy stood there and I told Miguel that he wanted some of his eggs. So Miguel placed a generous helping of eggs with ham on top of the stack of tortillas, and the guy left. Miguel will never allow anyone to be hungry - he knows what real hunger is all about, and even though I probably have never experienced that kind of hunger, I can only imagine. It was humbling and made me cry, and I wished the guy was around so I could have offered him some of my breakfast once it arrived at the table. But he was gone.

There are very few instances of begging here, and almost always it's for money. There are some people we give to - like the blind guy at the market, because as soon as he gets enough in his hand he goes to the loncheria and orders breakfast. Miguel gets approached a lot as we are out driving around - guys who hit him up for a few pesos so they can buy some beer - sometimes he complies, sometimes he doesn't - I don't know how he decides, but I will never give money to someone I think is just going to buy alcohol. We will give a few pesos to children of one of Miguel's workers - not every time, so they don't come to expect it, but as a treat so they can buy something at the store.

Other kinds of beggars here? CATS! The strays across the street, living in the jungle, have learned the sounds of feeding time here at the house. I put the food in the dog's dish, and when I look up, there are two or three sets of eyes watching me. There are already two other cats living on the front terrace that get regular handouts, but we can't feed the masses, and these strays need to be trapped so they stop producing. I dread the trap though - one of our own cats died in one, and I am forever traumatized and scared to have another accident with that trap. We're working up our nerve.