Directions work differently here. The streets don’t have names and the houses don’t have numbers. How then, you ask, will I be able to send all those wonderful letters and care packages to you while you’re serving there? Well, during training, our mail gets routed to the Peace Corps post office box in the capital. That’s the most secure method. People don’t really get mail delivered to their houses anyway (they’re aren’t mailboxes… or mailmen), they pick it up at the post office. That’s understandable and here’s why:
My address is, more or less : from the Mayor’s office, one block west, three blocks south, just past the stone wall.
And so, I’m happy that we have the Apartado Postal address to give folks back home.
There is no “1314 Bird Lane” here (sorry if that’s your actual address). Makes it hard to google map to a new home or business. But then, most people here don’t have internet, or computers, so the point is moot. Actually, most people have lived in their communities for many years, if not their whole lives, so if they don’t know where “three blocks south of the mayor’s office is”… well, they can just ask someone else in town, who’s probably lived here there whole life.
When you think about, really the only people who suffer are the tourists.
On a different note, there were two funerals today. The cemetery is about two blocks south from the main road (and now you know it’s address too!) . A whole parade of people followed several men carrying the black casket with silver crosses on their shoulders. There was even a small band, consisting people playing guitars and other instruments. It was actually quite festive, or as festive as you can get while escorting a coffin to the local cemetery. I find the cultural difference fascinating and I think funerals should be done this way (except the truly tragic ones, like children). Think about it, the family carrying the loved one personally on their shoulders, followed by others (preferably more family?) playing lively music and generally celebrating a life well lived.
Or maybe I just really like the sound of Spanish guitars.
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