Waking up a bit later than I hoped, I was overjoyed to hear the knocking of Andy bringing in a fine breakfast in bed as the kitchen was ready to close before I was up and out of bed! Huevos, frijoles, jugo de mora, jamon y pan a las Nueve y media! The luxeries of our hotel (Hotel Morales) continued to surprise us (Farmer to Farmer makes this a yearly stop in Comayagua) as showers provided us a comfortable wake up with warm water and very comfortable beds to slowly soak in the realization of the new year (and exciting date of 1-1-01!).
After deciding to stay another night at this location and not relocate to a friend´s home on the outskirts of comayagua (our hotel feels centralized, safe, very welcoming and connected.) and not having to move to a less walkable, perhaps not being able to enjoy the great variety of foods avaible in the downtown markets, restaurants and great concentration of new years celebrations spilling out into the streets. From these windows flows music and dance, the smells of home made delicacies and community of a warm greetings and unbelievably generous invitations. We celebrate friendships, new and old, burning scare crow like symbols of the new and the old... perhaps a cleansing that comes from farther back than any of us are aware of.
As we walk the streets I can feel some of the similarities and differences that draw farmer to farmer to such places as Comayagua. I carry a bottle of purified water that helps during a good amount of walking through this vibrant city, my paces seem to take the upbeat rhythem of a unadapted and certainly a non-catracho. Even my shoes seem larger than life to people as they speak to my dedication to efficiency in walking from point A to point Z, shadowed by a pair of athletic shorts and tshirt... hardly the usual getup for a day of celebration! Most Catrachos (Hondurans) are very well dressed and are hardly as ready to commit their clothing selections to short notice excersize or simply the clothes that might alow you to make that impulsive jump! Though I stand out here, the people we great on the street and share our day with are tremendously forgiving and seem to accept my style of what someone might wear to the gym, as well as my attempts to speak Honduran Spanish!
Andy and I have found that we are constantly eating a large quantity and great diversity of food while in Honduras (It´s quite hard to say no to so many great invitations and food). As two travelers that live to enjoy the fine fruits and vegetables, baked goods and beverages, seasonal delights and the occasional street food (we´re quite careful to make sure that things are thuroughly cooked and try not to consume water from the tap) we look forward to stepping back from so many in between meals and large traditional meals to hike up and around the mountain (Comayagua National Park) with three other friends that will help us follow old trails and perhaps machette our way through numerous new routes we plan to make in order to visit several small communities that grow amazing coffee for farmer to farmer.
In getting ready for the trip we visit a few old friends to see maps, get updates on the politics and community dynamics that relate to the strength of the Cofeacoma Coffee Cooperative. At one of these visits (visiting Andy´s old friend, Cerritos) we are welcomed with the surprise of ESPN2 and american futbol broadcasting the bowl games of the day... including our own Wisconsin Badgers! During a grocery run we happen across two more old friends that our delegation was able to visit last year and plan to visit again after our delegation of six returns from a second trip to the mountain (visiting the pueblo of Rio Negro and numerous eco huts, cofee growers, womens artisan groups, scholarship recipients, and more). These friends hope to show our delegation their farm and model for exporting chinese vegetables to a global market of cucumbers, chives, and other vegetables), share a meal and discuss the partnerships developing in the community with farmer to farmer.
New years parties take away some weekend possiblities in the city as everyone tries to be at home with friends and family (their family businesses stay closed for a few extra days around this time of year), so our meals are detoured to be shared with a chinese family restaurant (we´re fed very well with fried rice, wontons, bread and iced tea) and then with our friend Hector´s family for a dinner of potato salad, pickled vegetables, chicken and bread. We are fortunate to have friends growing their own coffee or getting it from the very mountain that we will camp tomorrow (Sunday) through Thursday.
The last events for our day of rest (farmer to farmer doesn´t really rest on these trips!!!) is to pack our bags of food and camping gear for an early departure to the mountain, and these two blogs that summarize some of the more urban experience we´ve had so far! We can´t wait to tell you of the reality of our four day hike around the national park of comayagua, visiting the park´s nucleus, bird watching, searching for cappuccin monkeys and visiting the small communities that make the park a future destination for farmer to farmer delegations.
I believe that´s all for now! Happy new year and let us know if you get to try some farmer to farmer coffee from your local cooperative or neighborhood store, we look forward to sharing more of the struggles and joys of this beautiful place and better and better coffee and human connections, peace and understanding.