Thursday, August 01, 2013

Festive Supermarkets, Chicken Butts, and a Hacksaw

We started off our day with a trip to a market. A few of our group members talked at length about it being a really scary place. So scary in fact they convinced me to leave my camera on the bus because it would be instantly stolen by ruffians. I feel like having seen the place that that was an exaggeration. I was a little grumpy about it after all the cool stuff I saw. It was sort of like half market half jungle. There were all sorts of backpacks, clothes, and other wares hanging from the ceiling so low that I had to duck. The vendors were all yelling out at us, probably trying to drum up our sweet, sweet foreign business. A couple of them were even a little grabby trying to pull people into their stalls to shop. It was funny how random the goods offered were. One guy was selling buckets and birdcages. Our mission was to buy chicken butts(yeah, weird) and vegetables for a stew for the women at a cancer hospital. When we got to the area where the meat vendors were, things really got serious. There was the smell of a giant cauldron of soup being stirred nearby. Meat was hanging from hooks all over. There was a cow’s bloody skull on the ground that stray dogs were sniffing around. One stall owner had a long strip of rubber that could have been left over from an engine belt. He used it to whip any of the dogs that got too close to his delicious meats. This exchange always ended with a loud “YIPE!” and the dog scampering away. We got our ingredients pretty uneventfully and got the heck out of there. I heard a lady that was on the trip last week bought two machetes to take home. That sounded pretty awesome so I have been on the lookout.

We went to the cancer hospital, again laden with toiletries and other gifts. The majority of our time was spent sitting in a circle with the women and listening to their stories. Many of them had to take bus trips lasting days to reach the hospital. The timetable for their treatment was also painfully slow. Some had been waiting months just for test results. It was pretty sad. We sang songs with them and gave them little gifts. The whole thing felt kind of pathetic because what we gave them was so small compared to their troubles.

The chicken butt stew.

We returned to the same La Union supermarket but this time it was much more exciting. August 1-10 is the feast of Santo Domingo, so there was a live band inside and all of the staff was wearing flannel and cowboy hats. It was very festive.

The store's employees would insist on pushing our groceries to the bus for us.

The second half of the day was much less mentally taxing. We went back to the school to do some pretty medieval construction chores: things like shoveling dirt full of rocks and cutting rebar to length with a hacksaw.

We tied smaller wire around the rebar by hand to keep it in place.

Lydia and I agreed that the school could use a native English teacher.

Chocolate covered coco beans are like a multi-layered Inception of chocolate.

Looks like Fanta is trying to horn in on little Rojita's business of terrible tasting bright red soda. This version also tasted like weird medicine.

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