Friday, September 7, 2012

Vistas de la gente

Washing on the wire.

There is a place where the road tracks through an valley opening, with flat land, empty of houses, making a change from dense tree cover and river crossings. Fifty or so cows bellowed through one of the pastures, threading through shrubs and mudholes to a gap in the fence. A mustached man atop a gray horse reined it in and ceased his herding for a moment. He dropped the reins and stood in his stirrups to bend the thick branch of a guava tree and snatch a ripe yellow guava. In between bites, he bellowed the cows to the road, chasing the white calves behind their huge-eyed, solemn mothers.

The skinny boy who stays home unless his mother sends his long legs up the road to buy rice appeared at the neighbor's one day. Within minutes, he was smiling shyly at Abuela, conversing fluidly about ant-killing pesticide. Within more minutes, he had walked his bare feet up the nearest palm tree and was kicking down coconuts, but only the dry brown ones. Within a few more, he had dusted himself off and passed me walking up the road, not even quietly saying hello.
Family photo (Neguith and 5 sons: Neiver, Gleider, Gleiner, Leiver, Eider).

She's ten, but there's no way to know that from the palms of her hands. She is wiry, perhaps because sometimes there is only clean yucca for lunch, that is to say, yucca with nothing. She crouches in the dirt and scratches first a knife, then rubs handfuls of sand back and forth over the soot-encrusted pot. The pots are decades old, but there's no way to know that from the way they shine when she finishes.
Afternoon futbol practice (Juancho, Anyi, Indris, Yeiris, Merkin)

They holler a greeting, the same every Monday, as their animals wallow through the mud to the next village, where they collect payment for the fresh, bright clothes they sold the last Monday. The tall sister, crowned with comb-defying black hair, rides by on her tall, thin palomino mount. The short sister, with smoother hair and wider hips, perches on her squat, sturdy donkey. The donkey scrambles less for footing as they round the curve and disappear, hello shouts washing back on the breeze.

Watching futbol (Cesar, MaƱe, Moyses, 2 from the next town).

New rice (Luis)

Husking corn for seed (Jorge)