Thursday, April 17, 2014

How's the weather in Lempira these days?

Hot. Hot in the sun, hot in the shade, hot in the house.

Dry. The grass is mostly dead. The rivers are almost empty. We're paying the firemen to fill our tank with water.

Dusty . . . along the roads, in the house, everywhere!

This is the season Hondurans call "verano," which means summer. In this heat, everyone wants to go swimming. The stores are full of bathing suits, kiddie pools, and beach toys.

But it isn't really like the summers I remember from my childhood. Summer in Maryland was hot, but the trees and grass were green, and almost always sufficient rain fell to keep things growing.

Here, "summer" comes in at the end of the dry season. In a usual year, the leaves of the trees (except for the evergreens) have turned brown and fallen to the ground. "Oh," you say, "so it's really like fall."

Well, yes, it's like fall in that there are dried leaves all over the ground, and the tree limbs are bare. Except for the flowering trees. The trees which flower annually are in flower during this season of the year. "Oh," you say, "flowering trees, like we have in the spring."

Well, yes, except that there are no leaves on these trees. They're like dormant fall trees, with flowers.

So, it's hot, like summer; flowery, like spring; and with dead leaves, like autumn.

It's a confusing time of year, if you try to fit it into the non-tropical mindset!

I've wrapped my mind around the seasons of the tropics now, but it took me years. We have a couple of months of cold weather (down into the 40s even, once in a great while), which my family mostly enjoys, although with the unheated and uninsulated homes here even those temps get mighty chilly! That's from about mid-December to mid-February or so.

Following that cold spell, we have the steep increase in temps until we hit our hottest weather of the entire year in April. That doesn't leave much time for the body to adjust, but fortunately the heat doesn't last very long.

In early May, when the rains start (after pretty much no rain at all from December until April), the heat wave ends and we have mostly delightfully warm-to-hot weather (but not scorchingly hot) all through the rest of the year until the cold comes back in December!

So that's the weather report from the mountains of western Honduras. In general, we enjoy cooler temperatures here than do the resident of the coasts, the islands, and the big cities. We like it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The final days of the bridge project, part 1

The big inauguration ceremony for the new bridge in Las Flores was held this past Friday. With an important deadline, last week was a busy time. Here are some highlights . . .

 The wall panels, used to create the form (or mold) for the last concrete pour, had to be stripped off. This wall is a retaining wall alongside the ramp up to the bridge, on one side of the river. The panels are attached to one another by wedges, which must be pounded out with a hammer . . . all while the worker is hanging on to the panel he's removing!

Released panels were carried to the truck which brought all of our tools, supplies, and extra materials back to our house.

While the wall panels were being stripped, another group of guys worked on smoothing the finish on the short walls on either side of the deck . . . the part that people will see close up, as they cross the bridge. High spots were ground off, and a thin coating of concrete was smeared over everything. The municipal government wanted to paint these walls, so this finish work had to be completed early enough in the week to have the walls ready for the painter.

Back at the retaining wall, with the panels removed, the straps which held the wedges in place were being broken off the wall. 

To be continued . . .