Oh, to be on the back of a truck….

There are not really words to describe that feeling, of being on the back of a truck, on really bumpy, really rocky roads, winding through the communities in the mountains outside of Teustepe. The wind rushes past your ears, and your hair flies in the air. You can stand up in the back of Alfredo’s truck, and the sides of the truck are high, so you can lean up against them. Its bright red and yellow, and cheery.

There are deep curves you come around, and rivers to cross. At the rivers, often there are hundreds of butterflies, flying in a swirl of green and yellow, that disburse into the air when you drive by. There are wild horses, running ahead of you and dissapearing into the foliage before you can ever see them. There are these yellow flowers covering the campo, kind of like mustard flowers, but not, and they turn the bright green mountains a beautiful yellow.

When you come upon a community, everyone waves and shouts out to the truck driver. In a lot of communities, people know my name, so they shout out some version of it, like Chechi, or Chexy, or Cheesti, or something. And sometimes there is a bunch of little kids who run after the truck, waving. Every once in a while, too, there are vols walking down the road with youth counterparts, or carrying water with their host moms, or hanging out on the steps with their youth counterparts.

It’s stunning, all this that passes by in a whir. It’s particularly good when you’re coming down the mountain, home after a day in communities. Today it was me and Rita in the back of Alfredo’s truck, after working with a regional group of media makers in Las Palomas. We were tired, but satisfied. We decided to ride in the back.

This is also an excellent time for life stories, deep thoughts, and gossip of all kinds. We talked about sups, about youth, about projects in communities, about CBI issues. Rita, our staff counterpart, is pretty awesome because she can give me the inside scoop- the things the youth and community members won’t tell me, they will tell Rita. And Rita will tell me! It’s like have a spy, someone to explain to me what’s actually going on. So we talked, and talked, and talked.

Again, I just can’t explain the rush of this back of the truck gossip. Its like you’re surrounded by utter lush green beauty, you watch the national bird flitting about, and you also see flocks of brilliantly green parrots, and sometimes jack rabbits crossing the road. There’s something regal about all this, about standing in a truck, in the wind, watching all this rush by. It makes it all feel…. real. That’s when I feel like a “real” Project Director, a “real” Researcher, a “real” something or another. It’s gritty, and sometimes bugs fly in your mouth, but its so awesome. Stunningly, amazingly, awesomely, awesome.

This video in no way does that incredibly awesome, real, gritty, down to earth feeling justice, but here’s a shot at what I see, when I’m coming down the mountain from community visits….it’s truly magic.

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