August 14, 2007

Nah hombre.

Well I am now 26 and Annie and I have been married for 2 years… big weekend. It was supposed to be big weekend at least. We had planned on going to Tegus and working a little at the office (we can print for free in the PC office) and then spending the night in a hotel and maybe going to a movie or something. But in an attempt to contract every water-borne sickness Honduras has to offer I was sidelined with amoebas in my digestive system on Friday. That makes the count 3 digestive illnesses in the 3 months we’ve been in site. The amoebas weren’t nearly as bad as the last bacterial infection accept for a 45 minute period on Friday morning when I thought Annie was going to come home to find me passed out on the bathroom floor from the stomach cramps. I called the PCMO (Peace Corps Medical Officer) and she told me to go to the pharmacy down the street and buy 6 expensive neon green pills which seemed to clean the problem up pretty quick, as well as make my pee glow in the dark. Quite impressive.

Anyhow so we stayed home for the weekend. It wasn’t so bad. On Saturday I felt quite a bit better so I went to the store and bought a shovel, some chicken wire, and 10 lbs. of fertilizer (12-24-12) for about 9 American dollars. I started the project of tilling up our yard in an attempt to plant a garden. It took quite a bit of work since when they built the house rather than clean up after constructing things, they just threw everything in the yard and then fenced it in with a cinder block wall. Mostly the job was digging up the old cinder blocks, bricks, electrical wire, ceiling tile, bathroom tile, rusty wires, boards, nails, pvc pipe, and a big slab of waste concrete, and sifting what soil remained through the chicken wire to get the rocks out. Saturday went well and I got about half of the section we are going to plant tilled up and Annie planted some herbs and a few flowers. Sunday afternoon we went back to work on the other half….and that’s when things started to go badly. Towards the end of the day it looked like it might rain so we started to hustle to at least get the whole section tilled up over the weekend so we could plant things later during the evenings as more of a leisure activity (there was definitely nothing “leisurely” about digging up the slab of waste concrete). Earlier in the day I had found the buried electrical line and been careful not to cut it while digging. I had not found the water line yet and assumed it must not run through this section of the yard. I had dug up numerous pieces of pvc and after being careful with them, none of them turned out to be anything but trash. I started to be in a hurry, it was getting dark and it looked like rain. So I sunk the shovel into the ground and hit another piece of pvc, I dug it up and realized that this one was connected for a ways under ground…it was our water line…maybe. There was no way of telling. Water only comes every 3 days, usually in the afternoon sometime for about 3 hours. I thought I will just run down to the ferretería (hardware store) and buy a section of ½ inch pipe….but then I realized it was Sunday and nothing in Danli is open on Sunday. And water was supposed to be coming anytime because it had come on Thursday so Sunday was three days later. We are almost completely out of water and it is supposed to come anytime now and I just potentially cut the water line in half. I just ignored the problem. I figured there was only about 10% chance that particular pvc pipe actually served any purpose.

So I went back to my rushed tilling of the yard before it rained. Not more than 3 shovels later I sink the shovel down hard trying to get a chunk of concrete out and BOOM! I had no idea what happened but the electric line connecting at our wall was on fire. Apparently in Honduras you don’t bury electric lines at a constant depth and 3 inches below the surface is totally OK. I should have certainly been more careful. The electric line I had found before and been so careful not to cut had been deeper and rather than running straight to the house at a nice depth for some reason it took a bend and wasn’t buried as deep, and I hit it with the shovel and cut the electricity.

Now I was concerned. I was trying to decide if what had just happened was really as dangerous as I think it might have been (the line was 110V and 60A, rubber soled shoes, dry shovel handle, Annie knows CPR….moderately dangerous). But now we don’t have electricity, and who knows how to find an electrician in Honduras, I sure don’t. It keeps getting worse…within 5 minutes of cutting the electricity, the water starts coming, spurting out of the ground about 6 feet high from where I cut what is now glaringly obvious was our water line. So now we don’t have electricity, and we aren’t going to have a pila full of water for the next 3 days. So now I’m thinking I’ve got to solve the water problem and then it starts raining, hard.

It was a disaster, and Annie wanted to kill me. In a matter of a few minutes I had managed to cut both our water and our electricity. The yard was filling with water and the pila wasn’t. Luckily I have seen in my travels what Hondurans calls a “union universal” which is a bike tire tube wrapped tightly connecting 2 pipes. So I took out my leatherman and took off my bike tire (PC gave me a bike, which is worth way more now that it is helping hold together our water line), took out the tube, cut it in half, and made a universal connection. So we at least got a pila full of turbid water.

We also now have electricity again. I still don’t know how to find an electrician in Honduras, but a neighbor who fixes refrigerators is just as good. He managed to fix it without ever turning the electricity off anywhere….amazing, and horridly dangerous.

So we now have a place to plant some flowers and veggies….Wahoo



Sarah said...

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary! Things can only get better from that tale! It is so interesting to see what life (really) is like in the Peace Corps. Keep up the good work! Cousin Sarah

saleh said...

Greetings from Florida, Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary.I think that it is going easy and quickly so keep up and good luck,,,,,,Saleh.

Mel said...

oh my gosh what a weekend! i am glad you are okay. and truely find it a feat that you body loves all the little critters Honduras has to offer.

Anonymous said...

Ok Luke, we laughed outloud...well except when we were cringing! What a memorable weekend working on home improvements! Hopefully the rest of your year will not be so eventful! Love you guys! Mom/Jean

Anonymous said...

HA! Luke, that's good stuff. Sorry to hear about the illnesses. Reminds me of the stories Dad told about getting hepatitis in Bolivia. Glad you're still alive and good work with the bike tire.


Dorianne said...

I can only imagine how fuming Annie must have been... but sounds like you were just trying to be helpful! That'll surely be a story you tell for years to come: the birthday/anniversary weekend sabotaged by Honduran amoebas and evil garden gods! Glad you've got electricity and water...:)

Dorianne said...

Living the dream

(says Jarod)

Erin said...

Ha! I hope just a few days after that experience you are able to laugh about it! Annie too! :) What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, no? Did Umberto survive? Well, now you have the next weekend to celebrate that you are still alive on top of celebrating birthdays and anniversaries!
Take care!


Kyle & Crystal said...

Hey Luke & Annie,

Just wanted to say hi again and see how things were going. I love reading your blogs and picturing the crazy stories that you guys tell. Your grandkids will never be bored! We are still looking for a truck, but when we find one, we would love to come out and visit you guys. We have really enjoyed hanging out with Javi & Sara here in Comayagua, but it would be fun to see Danlí and maybe take a trip into Nicaragua while we are over there. Anyway, felicidades on the birthday, anniversary, and not being fried by ENEE.

Anonymous said...

ok, let's say I want to say, "See you later Girly-man." How would I say that in Spanish?