Tuesday, February 06, 2007


It’s Beltane today and a full moon: quite a special day. I’m sitting in the kindergarten enjoying a supper of bread, butter, banana and coconut. The crickets outside seem extra noisy tonight, Hoss is out scanning the perimeter for those bizarre armadillos that simply ignore him thus encouraging him to bark loudly in a futile attempt to engage them in play. Life is good. I just got back from the river, we took the horses down there: Donkey, Peter, Berta, Honeybun and Vishnu. There’s a sweatlodge down there for the full moon. It looks wonderful, the trees are full of large decorated hoops, feathers and dreamcatchers, there are two big teepees and a large lodge right by the river. Drums and a fire lie outside; dogs swim in the water; children lie in hammocks and the horses graze painted with circles and markings. It’s really beautiful, peaceful, even magical. We had a good ride down there, I rode Donkey who’s my favourite, a square little horse who’s the boss, I led Honeybun and Hoss ran beside. Hoss was needing a good run and he really enjoyed it, plunging into the river afterwards then rolling in dried leaves. It feels so good to ride and even better with a dog running beside.

They put molasses on the roads yesterday. Seems a strange idea, but it works. A big lorry comes and spreads this thick, brown, burnt smelling sugar across the road. It holds the dust down and forms a sort of hard surface that should last until the first rain. It happens all over the country at this time of year, it’s so dusty. People sweat and then get coated with fine red dust, we look rather odd, maybe now we’ll get coated with molasses too. It seems strange to me that the sugar doesn’t attract more insects. The horses were trying to lick up the pools which had formed in the holes, why not a million wasps?

I work with a lovely tica woman, Irene. She turned 27 last week and is 6 months pregnant with her first child. She doesn’t speak English. This is good practise for my Spanish though it means that there is a fair amount of miscommunication: children ending up upside down and inside out – that kind of thing. This is my third week of teaching, though my first week of being without a mother in the room. Monday was a disaster: the kids were all stuck to their mothers and crying hysterically. Tuesday we had a half day and they were told to come as princes and princesses, Wednesday was a half day with a trip to the garden, Thursday was the first full day with just Irene and I though we had yoga with Umina, today I made a circus and we went all the way through. I’m pleased this week is over! The transition from parents speaking Hebrew to a teacher speaking English seems to be hard for the kids and it is taking time, but today was the most normal of all, Klil asked repeatedly where her mum was but she didn’t cry and Orion only cried once and that was when the puppet theatre fell on his head. I’m hoping by the end of next week we will have established some sort of rhythm which will carry us.

We found a snakeskin in here this morning, about 2½ feet, must have been shed last night. Snakeskin is transparent so I have no idea what kind it was, but I’m surprised because I thought it took a while to shed, at least a couple of days. But there it was. Quite a beautiful thing, soft, not hard or brittle at all. The kids touched it very nicely, the babies don’t quite understand gentle so it’s now in several pieces and has been returned to the forest. We had a tarantula in here on Monday, it was on the side of a mattress, Irene got rid of it before I could see it. Shame really, I would have liked to have seen one in semi-captivity at least. Tarantulas here are not dangerous and move very slowly, but they can give you one hell of a scare.