Adelante, Honduras--And Pure Water


            For Susan Nase, and her crew
            In Trujillo, Honduras

A concrete box and pcv tubing filled
With sand and gravel.
Pressure causes water level to come out.
Put one bucket in, get one bucket out.

That’s what the young engineer says
About the water filters. Robert Frost says
The fact is the sweetest dream the imagination knows.
Every 15 seconds a child dies from bad water.

Bob Moles, the man who brought us here,
Says each place has its own water problems.
Susan Nase left her home and job in Canada
To come and make these filters. She says,

The filter becomes its own eco system.
The filter gets 100 % of the big guys—
Worms, parasites, amoebas—and 99%
Of the little guys—bacteria and virus.

Pour one bucket in, get one bucket out.
Keep feeding the bio layer.
Dead parasites become part of the ecosystem.
A simple box with a lid. The lid keeps out dirt.

These filters last the lifetime of the materials
With no maintenance. We’re asking people
To change habits. Each family pays 200 Limpiras
For their filter, about a third of the cost.

Susan says her dad’s getting used to her
Being here. She’s going to take us to the village
Of Santa Rosa de Aguan to see how they work
In the homes. Right now she wants us

To pour a mold, concrete’s mixed and ready.
Twenty two Rotary Clubs have made Pure Water
Their project. Pure Water for the World.
You can sponsor a filter for 150 bucks.

Susan wants to explain the washing of the sand.
Three washes. Two with regular water,
One with chlorine. So many hand motions.
The exact amount of sand to take into villages.

Jim Bodeen
March 7, 2007


Drums of the Garifuna mix
With the swinging hips of the women
Stepping their way to the men,
Walking them through any story.
Fried fish, beans and rice, golden slices
Of fried plantain from the banana trees
Make a plate of food look larger
Than the largest appetite.
“Come on papa!”
“Ai, Mama, uh, uh, uh.
Aii, Mama, uh, uh, uh.
What a way for a woman to greet her man
Voices coming from the river
Inside her body, hips sloshing the water.
It’s what she’s promising you now, papa.
Her body’s getting ready for yours.
When the slave ship went down,
When Hurricane Mitch took another 38,
This dance came out of the cries
Coming from turbulent and salty water.

Jim Bodeen
March 1, 2007


            --for Cormac McCarthy

That’s all he had to do he told himself.
That’s what the novelist says.
Find the good guys. Nothing else mattered.
Fitting the children with shoes hadn’t disturbed him.
That was easy. It was slipping cotton socks
Over skin that had never felt anything this soft
That caused him to lose his balance.
On the last day in country they gave out shoes
To children in two country schools.
Later he heard the conversations in the van.
Shoes as toys. The kind of charity
That got in the way of pulling oneself up
By the bootstraps.
What bootstraps? He asked himself.
A father and his 13-year old son accompanied them.
The son had purchased four full-sized machetes,
With leather scabbards to take home as souvenirs.
The machete is what campesinos use
To keep the jungle at bay.
The boy had bought the machetes
For him and his friends. There were blackberry
Bushes in their back yard, he says.
The man looking for the good guys
Photographed the children in their new shoes.
He watched them run, awkwardly
In their first steps, so unlike athletes on television.
Each child in the country school
Received a pair of shoes, two pair of socks,
And a pair of shorts or panties.
Afterwards the conversation in the van
Circled around ideas of charity and giving.
Was it feel good money.
Would it make any difference in the long run.
There was one teacher for 40-some students.
Not one bookshelf for books.
He had the photographs in his camera.
He carried all of this home along with dolls
Made of corn husks dyed in primary colors.
His grandchildren ran to him in greeting.
They wore new shoes too. Both of them under two.
Both of them knew the meaning of new shoes.
They already knew they were entitled.

Jim Bodeen
6 March 2007


When I hand my notebook to Cuie mi na Los
At the Pecha Indian Village in Trujillo
For her to sign her name, she follows me
To the bus, and asks to have her photograph
taken with me. I had photographed her
earlier against the adobe of her house.
She was doing work I could only guess at.
What I began to carry I do not need to understand.

Jim Bodeen


            From Christine at Copán Water Project

We ended the month on a good note.
This month we had our first socialization
And installation. Service clubs worked
With the community. We were able to get

Everyone to want the filter.
(It was a small community.)
This is Copan. Our next two communities,
Sompopero and Agua Sucia

Are different stories. Sompopero
Has 5 water taps people don’t use
Because there’s not enough water
For all—so people get water

From a small dug well or puddle
So contaminated I cringe. We began the month
trying to improve sand production. 
We have a new workshop laborer,

Melvin, and he works to dry materials
and keep them dry.  We began visits
and have taken water samples from 3 communities.  
We met with doctors about collaborating

Delivery of parasite medicines.  Now that
we have a truck, we move faster. 
The guys are painting numbers on filters
and preparing them for installation. 

We met with World Vision, planned
a workshop for July to teach their team filters. 
As a good end to the month, we found office space
and will be moving in on the first of July.        

It is great to be able to drive into communities
but what bad timing as the bird epidemic
has people on high alert.  We have entered
communities where people have guns ready

to stop anyone entering because
the Ministry of Health is sending people
to kill chickens. We assured people we just wanted
water samples.  We are going to get badges.


Here is the latest project report for our Trujillo Water Project. 
Also included is the report for "Project Charlie,"
which our Project Coordinator in Honduras, Susan Nase, also oversees.
I will send a report on our Copan Water Project in a separate email. Bob

Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Esta es la forma de vida.

This month we continued with the sampling of water in Las Lomas, Barra de Aguan, Betesta and Santa Rosa de Aguan.  We had good results in Barra de Aguan and Santa Rosa de Aguan, but there are problems in the communities of Las Lomas, Betesta and Nueva Esperanza.  Many people are not using their filters and we found many filters with problems (dry, with insects inside or filters moved outside of the house.)  We are therefore going to hold an emergency meeting the first week in July.  If the people still want their filter, we will reinstall it for the additional cost of L. 100.  If not, we prefer to remove the filter and deliver it to another family that will care for it.  Also in July, we plan to begin the hygiene talks in the communities of Nueva Barra de Aguan, Barra de Aguan and Santa Rosa de Aguan.  The new health Peace Corp volunteer in Trujillo, Raphael Crawford-Marks helped us with the preparations.  Edwin and Raphael held a test run through for Lanza and Susan in the office.  It went very well! 

Jim Bodeen
July 14, 2007


Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Unidad. Diciplina. Trabajo. Valor.
Esta es la forma de vida.

After the chant, la lema, the role taking.
Estimado compañeras, Sandra Pérez says, calling role.
Attendance is important because lives
Are on the line. How to become sustainable.
How to get out of your own way.
The vocabulary to get up to speed.
Prestar. Deuda. Saldar una deuda.
Negocios.. Confiar en,encomendar.
Tenerle confianza. Solidarity.
Solidaridad. Say it until it becomes
A way of breathing. Ganar.
Mora is the word the women use for debt.
Cuota is the word the women use for payment.
Primera prueba. Propios principios. Enfrentar.
Reading Dorothy Day in Spanish at night.
Había compartido el fermento revolucionarios y artistas.
John Reed. Los diez dias que sucudieron al mundo.
Para hacer nacer una nueva sociedad.
The handwritten note during role call:
Ella no viene por motivo de salud.
Sus negocios. Lo que es su negocio.
Sí, se puede.. Avon. Cosmeticos. Pulperia.

Venda ropa segunda. Venda medicina natural.
Venda comida. Pulperia. Venda ropa.
Pigs, too. Raising pigs.
Me llamo Rosa, venda Ropa. Compra tela.
Aquí estamos siempre en la lucha.
Curtains, bedspreads.

My name is María Elena, soy jefa. Presidenta de la Asemblea.
I’m the president of the assembly and coordinator for anti-malaria.
Volunteering is a way of giving back.
20 women and two men. Women in cotton dresses.
Men in Dockers turned work clothes.
I get my first check today
And tomorrow I’ll start my first day of business.

Start with una dinamica. An ice breaker.
Pon en pie.
¿Sabes que es una abrazo?
Esta es un abrazo. Move around the room.
Touch someone and let yourself be touched.
The hard stuff’s coming.
Es el abuso fisico, sexual, e economico.
Learn the word trompados for blow. ¿Y te callas, eh?
Tell anybody and there will be more where that came from.

Y que sea la ultima vez se encuentra una camisa sin butones
por que la proxima vez, te voy a….
It’s not just the buttons.
It’s the unconscious man and his favorite shirt.
La maltrata.La maltrata.
The class in the patio. Green and yellow walls.
Fresh paint. The illustrated drawing
Shows the man in the act of self gratification,
The suffering woman.
What is the word for macho in your culture?
The television in the sala throws me off.
I forget there’s no electricity.
Ciclo de violencia. Primera etapa.
Ya termina la charla.

A woman steps forward and makes her 10th payment of 12 payments.
The company names: Nuevo Amanecer.
5th payment of second loan.
Trabajando Unido, 5th payment of 6th. First Loan.
This assembly has zero debt.
All payments are made.

 Jim Bodeen
La Ceiba/La Sastre/El camion—Honduras
Feb 27-March 1, 2007


Ai, Mama, uh, uh, uh,
Ai, Mama, uh, uh, uh,” the man says,
Getting into the boat, changing places
With the woman getting out,
Oh, papa, oh papa.

By river boat to Santa Rosa de Aguan.
And I don’t know the story before my eyes.
Crumbling concrete walls poke through sand.
Playing catch-up. Hurricane Mitch

Storming Central America.
40 drown on this strip of sand.
October, 1998. 10,000 dead.
A million homeless. I’m worried

About sunburn in an open boat.
On the Aguan River disoriented by beauty.
Children swimming on banks
Send hand signs waving for the camera.

NGO country. Nongovernmental organizations
Bring young people with flood-safe plans,
And home water filters. Students from MIT
Install stream gauges to detect when river

Levels get too high. 1200 people crowd
On a slip of sandbar. The radio system
Can be repaired locally at minimal cost.
Nobody told us the storm was coming.

Memory says, Water was up to our necks.
Descendants of black slaves and Carribbean Indians,
Santa Rosa is Garifuna country. Hearing
Music, one asks where it’s coming from.

Women cut chicken for lunch under a ramada,
surrounded by men. Paula Castillo’s
from Guatemala.The Jicaro tree shading them
produces gourds for vases and maracas.

Singers call for ganeo trucks carrying
Green bananas. Garifuna musicians play turtle backs.
Women in charge of story direct the men.
Punta and Regatón. Men give us two minutes

To listen. Music changes our ways
This fast. Casabe, Aurelio Martinez,
Daddy Yankee and Los Rolan. Todo es macanudo—
In front of and behind two storms.

Between times, pijudo. Te buscan, mama,
Looking for you. Subsistence on the bounty
Of nature. Coconut palms, cassava. An ocean of fish.
Lunch plates overflow with rice and plantains.

The fried fish spills from plates at both ends.
The Cayucos--dugout canoes--are swept to sea
Along with fishing nets. You wouldn’t know it
From plates before us. Women dance

Slamming bare heels into wood floors.
Garifuna is waist winding. Black Caribs,
1832 in Dangriga. Drums and deported insolences
On the island of Roatán. Vocalists sing

Adüga ba—Congratulations, You made it!
Young men dancing marvel how the body can tell it.
We will never recover from the music.
Oh, papa, what we don’t know.

Jim Bodeen
Sunday, 25 February—Friday, 16 March 2007
Santa Rosa de Aguan/Yakima


He sits and listens, waits his turn,
Then changes his mind and says nothing.
Later he gets out his notebook.
He wonders what will come out.
Earlier, a man said, I represent the law.
He carries that one around
For days. In his notebook
He writes, I represent the law of story.
One follows what one can.
Dissent is so automatic it becomes routine.
How I learned to cancel myself
To become myself. It didn’t happen
All at once. Mi propio ser.
It emerges in the listening.
What we talk about when we talk about love.
So much disappointment.
Limits of talk in quick time.
He does not abandon the mission
Remaining quiet. Silence has nothing
To do with playing it safe.
Each cup of coffee is a social occasion.
The man representing the law
Was made uncomfortable by good manners.
All of this stuff in the notebooks.
Yesterday, he picked one red cherry
From the coffee plant, breaking open
The cáscara with his teeth, sucking
The sweet fruit surrounding the two seeds
Like the birds. He held them in his mouth
As a secret and a promise, most of the afternoon.
Savory memory. Good brew.
The fact of transformation
Under fire. The mere thought
Of the dark roast ahead made him dizzy.
No conflict, no story.
And then, the explosions in the mouth.

Jim Bodeen
4 March 2007


Lino takes his cell phone
From his belt, and says,
“Estoy llamando mi hija,”
And I excuse myself,
“Con permiso,” stepping away
From the street and our bus
To give him some privacy
To make his call.
“No, no, no,” he says,
“Espere, tengo mi hija, aquí,”
And he hands me the phone.

“Esta es mi hija,” he says,
“Ustedes pueden hablar en Inglés.”
We talk about our lives in English then.
And Lino’s right. His daughter’s bilingual.
Verdadero bilingue.
Her language skills are perfect,
And what’s more, she speaks
With a pure heart.
She’s studying Industrial Engineering.
She’s 18. She’ll have to leave Copán.
Yes, she’s a Copaneca.
She’ll be in charge of a company someday.
I hand the phone back to Lino.
He’s so proud. Still, his eyes reveal a question.
Sí, sí, Lino. Ella es puro oro
Y su Inglés cuenta su historia,
Llena con lucha también.
Su familia tiene la ganas qué el mundo necesita.

Jim Bodeen
March 3, 2007


When the phone rings
The Spanish accent is coy,
How are you doing, Señor Jim?
Bien, bien. ¿e Usted?
No, no, what else? How else are you doing?
Macanudo por su puesto. ¿Como está?

We sat together on the plane from Houston,
Exchanged addresses and phone numbers.
Tony & Iris Reyes, and email.
Mi casa es su casa in quotation marks.
Tony writes in my notebook,
Gives me a word that spends better than gold.
¿Y una palabra unicamente Hondureña?
And one word, uniquely Honduran?

Macanudo. It’s perfect.

Doors would open with Macanudo.
Barriers would drop.
There’s a coffee named Macanudo.
Macanudo would lead to pijudo
But you can only use that with friends.
That’s the signal for a sexual connection
And I don’t know what that is.

Macanudo. Que cae bien con simpatico.

Tony wants to know what we had seen.
His wife had shown us where her mother lived
Beside the airport in San Pedro Sula as we landed.
Had we crossed? Did we see the real Honduras?
Oh, Tony, macanudo opened doors.
But what about pijudo?
Nahuatismo, Jim. Cuidete.
Be careful. Sujeto muy valiente, por su puesto.
Of course. A good thing.
De pene grande. It’s a big dick, you know.

The perfect world that easy.

Jim Bodeen
March 16, 2007


            For Saúl Molina

The man walks with a macaw feather in his staff
As part of his uniform. Colors change from blue to gold
On a single feather pointing to an older story.
Tropical rain forests call caciques to build even larger plantations.
Maybe it was the beauty of these mountains
That led to the calendar itself. And maybe the calendar
Became more important than the mountains and rivers.
God only knows, and God’s not talking.
How the people forgot their collective memory
Interests me more than any calendar.
The Copán River’s on the left and we follow it into Copán.
Santa Rica’s kind of like a sister town to Copán
With 4000 people who don’t have a plan.
Compra de café. Tomatoes and chiles for export
In Salvador or Guatemala.
These people used to raise tobacco.
This is the road to Guatemala. We’re 10 kilos
From the border.
                                    I know these things because
I’ve been listening to my guide from the North Coast
All the way into Copán where he lives.
I don’t belong to any club, nor do I wear a uniform.
I carry a notebook listening for words like ixoqui,
Mayan word for woman. A word given to me
Simply for paying attention.
Lo que es verdad. Lo que es paja.
And the ability to know the difference.
Whatever happened, collective amnesia dogs us all.
My country’s collective memory’s gone
The way of frozen computers.
The world descends on Copán in a vast pilgrimage.
The guide broken open by song. He belongs
To an earlier past, not the one he was born to.
A single feather sings his name.

Jim Bodeen
March 16, 2007
Yakima, Washington

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