Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nicaragua (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

On Thursday morning (Feb 16), there were howler monkeys in the big Chilamate tree that overhangs Lake Nicaragua.  From 2007, I remembered that howlers came there for a few weeks in March; it was quite convenient that they arrived a little bit early this year so that I could see them without even having to leave the Hacienda and hike into the forest.  I spent a couple of hours out there watching them.  I didn't recognize any of the monkeys-- they were not from any of the groups that I studied while I lived there.  I counted 7 monkeys total (2 males, 4 females, 1 infant), which is small for an Alouatta palliata group.  I wanted to see where they went at the end of the day-- surely the crossed the road and went back up into the forest-- but I missed it when they left, so I don't know where they went.  I decided not to go up to my study site to look for my groups.  I had not brought binoculars with me, so it would be difficult to find them.  Plus, I was told that the gringos who bought land and built a hotel up there now charge tourists to walk through.  I'm not sure if that is true or not, but I didn't feel like talking to them.  And with a toddler to look after, I really didn't have the time to go all the way up there anyway.


By the late afternoon I was becoming a little frantic about finding Eduardo.  I had told myself not to stress out about it; I would wait to look for him until after Rob left to go back to Moyogalpa and I was on my own.  But I started panicking about what if I wasn't able to find him.  I couldn't even remember for sure which one was his house.  I went to ask one of the Hacienda staff about him, and she told me that he didn't live in Merida anymore.  "No, no," I assured her.  "He told me that he lives here with his mother.  I just can't remember which one is his house.  Is it the one right next to the school?"  This seemed to jog her memory.  She told me that Eduardo's family did not live there anymore, but they lived nearby.  She seemed to sense that this was going to be difficult for me to understand in Spanish, so she got a scrap of paper and began drawing me a little map to his house.  But then she looked up and stopped, saying, "Look, he is here".

And there he was, 16 and all grown up, walking towards me with the setting sun and the lake at his back.  I could barely see him from the glare.  I'd begun to wonder if I would recognize him after so much time had passed, but I would know Eduardo anywhere.  He stayed gold.

I hugged him and kissed his cheek.  He was taller than me now.  His hair was very, very curly.  I thought he looked a lot like his mom.



I couldn't stop myself from crying.  He seemed so mature.  He was reserved but not shy, calm but not apathetic, content but not exhuberant.  I gave him the Swiss Army knife we brought for him and he thanked me.  He gave me a small stone, and he told me to hold it up to the sunlight and it would turn gold.  It did.  He said he was back in school and taking English classes again at the Hacienda in the afternoons.  He said he had been there the day before, looking for me, but I was not there.  I thought, with great irony, no, I wasn't here yesterday because I was walking along the road wondering if I might find you, Eduardo.

We sat at the tables and talked for a while, all in Spanish.  I asked him if he was happy and he said yes, but then he said, Meli, I have a question for you--how can a Nicaraguan come to the US?  I told him that I didn't really know.  You probably needed a passport and visa, but I wasn't sure how you got those things.  He said he wanted to come to the US to study music.  I said I would try to help find out how he could do that.  I don't know what the best thing is for Eduardo.  It is selfish of me to wish that he could come here.  Maybe he would have more opportunities, a better life, but I don't know for sure.  And I worry that his mother would be sad if he left.  I would not like it if William ever went far away from me.

He said when he is on vacation from school, he goes to Ojo de Agua, where his grandfather lives, and he works.  Many tourists go there to swim.  Eduardo climbs up the palm trees to cut down coconuts.  Tourists buy them for 20 cordobas and drink the coconut water.  I hoped that Eduardo was careful with his machete, and I wondered if he would really be happier here.  St. Louis seems so gray and sad and full of angry drivers.  Is it really such a bad life, selling coconuts to tourists?  I don't know, maybe it is.

I talked to Al after Eduardo left for his English class, and I couldn't stop crying.  We discussed some ways that I might be able to help Eduardo, maybe even a way to get him here eventually if that is what he wants.  I told myself not to get my hopes up too much about this (I have so many times before), but as you might imagine, I already did.

Our old dog Scott Fargus showed up at the field station.  I couldn't believe he was still alive.



William enjoyed putting on my sunglasses.  Everyone thought it was cute that Will and I had on matching shirts.  I couldn't help but remember this was the shirt I was wearing the day that dogs attacked Scooby's mom and I ran down the volcano carrying Scooby in my arms after he fell from the tree.



Then we all watched the sunset from the dock.




Continue to Part 3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Loved reading about the 'first' part of your adventure! I AM STANDING BY waiting for 'PARTS 3 and 4 and MAYBE 5??? so don't keep me waiting long!!! the pictures are great, soooo happy 'you re-connected' with former friends in Nic........ ESP, EDUARDO!!! amazing!!!!! Just glad to know 'that EVERYONE survived, and made it back home safe and sound!!! Sounds like life on Ometepe has remained pretty much the same....... perhaps selling coconut water is NOT such a bad life, it's what he knows, and in HIS environment, with PEOPLE he knows and trusts!!! Life is full of MANY changes as we go along.... some we like and some we don't!!! The next ragfield adventure will be like all the ones before, full of FUN, GOOD TIMES< and maybe a little drama along the way!! Happy trails~~ Thanks for sharing your adventure with us..... luv and hugs, maw maw nan and paw paw