Back With My People in La Esperanza
Outside of being a night and day of short naps, this year's trip to La Esperanza came off really smoothly...With some novel twists like the overdubbed version of “Hairspray” that was playing on the TV in the bus terminal in San Pedro Sula, and seeing the motorized India-style 3 wheeled rickshaws at work in the outskirts of San Pedro. Coming up the mountains in the bus, I had a wonderful lunch, in sharp contrast to the bare-minimum “breakfast” provided by Continental. As the bus travels, vendors get on for a stretch or hold up their wares on poles to be bought through the windows. When I got to La Esperanza, Compa Neto was waiting for me at the bus station, so I was delivered to Utopia almost immediately, where there was a training session for healthcare providers going on. Doña Josefina scrounged up some dinner, while I encountered various old friends who had come in for the meetings. It was raining and blustery, but such a relief to be away from droning engines, hearing the sounds of the mountains and the gentle lilt of Lenca Spanish.
Next morning, unpacking my bags and turning on the equipment I'd brought, I was relieved to find very little shipping damage. The TSA screeners apparently didn't even open the equipment luggage, so things stayed firmly packed.
My goal in this trip is to install a new microwave link from the studio to the transmitter, which will bypass a serious problem in the current system. We now have huge power fluctuations in the AM signal caused by some sub-sonic noise and also interference from another nearby FM station, so right now, we can't run the AM at full power. The used microwave stuff I bought on eBay isn't the current model, but very well made, so it should be reliable and provide the most transparent relay of the program.
One pleasant surprise is the addition of "Democracy Now" in Spanish to the evening newscast on Radio Guarajambala/La Voz Lenca. In the afternoon, they have a environmental program with breaks for music of local conjunto music, recorded by the station. It's a very careful mix of entertainment, education and news programming.
Monday and Tuesday, there were meetings of the Coordinación General of COPINH here at Utopia, which is so cool, because I got to see my friends from all over Lenca territory who came together in this one place. And also it was very special to be introduced to the assembly with glowing words for my work over the years from Berta Cáseres and Salvador Zúñiga and have a long oración/prayer of welcome from Doña Pascualita. It's so beautiful here in the quiet mountains...sort of a jarring juxtaposition with the struggles of these people, against poverty and now increasing repression.
One of the delegates here, from a remote village, asked me if I had knew any organization which could provide assistance with housing construction in his community. I'm thinking Habitat or some similar organization. So if anyone out there wants to do some research, I've got his contact information.
I'll be posting more as trips into La Esperanza permit. Vaya pues! Bill