September 16, 2008

La Niña de la Independencia

Oh the places you will go….. or more accurately end up!

So today was “El Día de la Independencia” here, or independence day. There wasn’t a lot going on except for a large parade in Danli. We could have spent the day inside our house avoiding the heat (a popular alternative with me on some days), but Annie was asked to come to a celebration in a small town nearby where she gives classes. And I was expected to come along which I didn’t mind because I have not spent a lot of time in this particular community and it was a chance to see where she disappears to weekly.

I have stopped asking a lot of questions about where I am going or what I am getting into lately. It´s not that I don’t want to know beforehand, but that the things I get into are equally ridiculous whether I have prepared myself for them or not. I naively assumed this was just any old independence celebration….kids playing loud drums, drunk people, small explosives, and maybe some guys on horses…these are things I don’t mind and sometimes enjoy, excepting drunk guys who have been recently deported from the states….so much cross-eyed anger!!

It was not to be. We had been invited to celebrate the independence of Honduras at a jardin de niños (a pre-kinder educational center) in order to help celebrate the crowning of the village of Linaca’s 3 year old princess of independence. Seriously?! Being a 6’4” gringo in Central America makes a guy stand out enough without attending the crowning of child princesses. If you think preschool chairs are small at home just imagine how small the chair I sat in today was. At one point Annie looked at me and said “don’t cross your legs like that, you look funny” to which I had no reply except to change my position behind my “desk” to an equally awkward and ridiculous pose, to which Annie replied “oh.”

It gets better...we weren’t just guests, we were the honored guests. We were to sit (sit is the wrong word, crouch is more accurate) at the “mesa principal” (the head table). Not only did I look and feel ridiculous but I had to do it from the most prominent spot in the small concrete school building. At this point I noticed that I was the only male in the room who wasn’t breastfeeding - this was not a celebration attended by males over the age of 2.

Now I was officially stuck for the duration. Sitting at the mesa principal the only thing I could hope for was a quick ceremony, not a likely thing I have found. Soon something occurred to me...we were going to have to give “palabras” (words). At every event in Honduras with a “mesa principal” from the crowning of child princesses to the signing of important legislation everyone at the “mesa principal” has to give their speech. And these are not short speeches; they are customarily to go on and on about whatever it is that the people at the mesa principal want to talk about – usually a lot of flowery vocabulary, thanking so-and-so and doing lots of name/organization dropping. What was I to do? There are only 3 topics with which I have sufficiently developed Spanish vocabulary to talk at any length whatsoever. These topics are in order of competence:

1.) Water resources engineering
2.) How cold it gets in the States during the winter
3.) Toyota pickups, 1984 – 1992 models

I had no idea what to do, but Annie being the sympathetic wife that she is (sympathetic and also sensitive to being embarrassed by her gigantic sweaty husband who changes every conversation to one of three topics) saved the day and let her “palabras” go long and used the “we” form a lot and pointed to me as if to say “he isn’t smart enough to say anything, but we’re together… ladies understand…isn’t he ridiculous looking in that chair.”

But, anyhow ask me about it when we get home, and if you’re ever in the village of Linaca in southeast Honduras walk around and look in the houses to see if you can see a picture of me on someone’s wall pinning a sash and crowning a 3-year-old princess.


Anonymous said...

Luke, your neice is 3 and she would enjoy the crown and sash. We won't make you say words, matter of fact we wish you wouldn't and as an added bonus our chairs are bigger! Love you! Mom,Dad,Levi,Kelly, Anica,Aila,Curley,Heather,Linus & Norma...all eating pizza and laughing at your blog!

Anonymous said...


I was googling you to try and find a way to get an email address for you so Dwight can get some info out for our 1998 bball reunion and I came across your blog. What a great surprise. I will be spending some time reading through your blog at "work" today catching up. Hope this finds you doing well. If you get a minute please send your email address to me at

Take care,

Anonymous said...

So funny! I think you should put these in a book... maybe of short stories. I am not sure if you have to know you to think the story is super funny, but I laughed out loud. Miss you!!!

Love, Sally