Thursday, January 3, 2008

Windstorms in the Mountains

The wind last night and today is horrendous. We have been eating in darkness because no candle can keep alight in this draft. The tin sheets banged and banged all night on the roof like a herd of horses—Candida, Erica, and I all huddled together under bug-netting. We had one small flashlight to share when we battled the wind to go to the bathroom. This morning there were branches and trees down and broken tiles everywhere. It is like a perpetual windstorm up here in the mountains. Roaring and roaring until you cannot hear yourself speak. The next morning (today) we walked a very steep hour and 15 min to a tiny neighboring aldea. This was an incredibly barren hike through great panoramic stretches of mountains. Hills dry and deserted as far as the eye can see. It was so steep that for part of the way we all stumbled down, Roberto, Omar and Wilson (my little brothers :) leaping like goats. Our guide carried his machete to slash at branches in the way and the tall, spiky cactus-like plants. The wind, the sun, the endless ribbon of chalky path. We arrived at another tiny mountain church in the midst of tall pines and perched on the edge of a vast valley...People slowly trickled in, the boys leaving their machetes at the door...Then the tiniest, darkest most shriveled lady I'd ever seen walked in and our guide, who I'd seen blessing others, went up to her for a blessing. Such respect!

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