12: Fresh mangoes I've eaten. 10 lempira (50¢) a piece, and scrumptious.
0: Times I've shaven. My face is somewhere near the intersection of manly, ugly and lazy, but I've had a great time just not caring.
102: Spanish words we've taught to French-student Kyle. Almuerzo (lunch), licuado (smoothie), and the first hundred numbers.
4: Things I've done that I was completely unqualified for ten days ago. From impact analysis to farming, I've been learning at an exponential rate with no sign of slowing.
1: Attempt at running. Up a rocky, muddy mountain in 90° heat and 1000m elevation.
17: Times I've heard "Cada Día" by Jesús Adrian Romero. After 4 or 5 plays on repeat at Alicia's (our daily dinner spot, music choice courtesy of Alicia's ~7-year old daughter), I put on a monumental display of patience and persistence to download it myself. I can already tell you it's going to be the theme song of my trip.
2: Mornings working a milpa.
Now you might not know what a milpa is. Neither did Josh, so don't worry you're in good company. It means various things throughout Mexico and Central America, but here in La Unión it just refers to a cornfield. Milpas tend to be small with crops going to feed the family rather than for a profit. Gilberto Barrientos is a UMF employee, a La Unión native, and a great guy, so in an effort to help him out and get some personal experience with the life of a Honduran farmer, I and the other interns spent two mornings working on Gilberto's milpa. We hit the fields at 6:30 with piochas (pickaxes) and a big metal pole (see picture), and got to work tilling. The milpa was in a picturesque spot, surrounded by miles of mountains and emerald green foliage. But it was early. And it was hot. And it was hard. Ten minutes in I was sweating bullets and grunting like a caveman. Blisters were growing and getting ripped off faster than you can save money with Geico and my back was breaking. The point is, after just eight hours over two days we were exhausted. I don't know if it's fair to say I gained an understanding of the Honduran farmer's life, because I honestly can't imagine working like that all day every day. However, I certainly did come out with a new appreciation for the work that I'll be doing over the next three months and what it can mean to the people of La Unión.
By Alex Persky-Stern
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