Saturday, November 22, 2008

Urides: Ur -e- des


Journal entry: 10.9.08

Many of my heroes come from Los Fríos, they are humble, poor, often illiterate, fatalistic and exceptionally moral and wise. Urides fits the definition to a "t". Probably about 19, son of several, can't sign his own name and to me a beacon of light.

Next time you have the chance to use a pick to break up hard soil let Urides set the bar. With the broad side of the pick strike the ground about once a second, loosen the soil, and proceed. Leave about 130+ lbs. of soil in your wake, don't complain or stop until the crew behind you with two wheel borrows and 2 shovels asks you to stop.

Picking is all about efficiency and finesse, two of my favorite words. I would coach Gray, and Max about the finer techniques involved in picking in an attempt to save their lower backs. As I watched them, I thought about some of the skills I learned in Los Fríos. As I watched Urides I thought about how far I have to grow.

My Los Fríoños friends often use truck analogys while working. For example if a walking trail is slippery we would say, "Ponga el doble!" [engage the 4x4]. While washing our black rubber boots in a stream, we would say, "Llavando la guagua" [washing the truck]. Of course our stomaches represented fuel tanks. A paid work day usually follows this agreement: 7am-4pm + breakfast and lunch = 300 pesos. La guagua vacia no camina [the truck with an empty tank doesn't run]

Using a pick burns lots and lots of fuel. Every time I worked with Urides the math went as follows: Urides would work twice as hard as me, sweat half as much, and give half of his food away. His cousins would show up about lunch time, not necessarily to beg but they had nothing else to do. Less than half way through his rice and beans meal Urides would pass the entire plate to one of his cousins. I always tried to be discrete when I reminded him that there was more food. A man who gives half of one of two meals he would get that day. . . that is a true man.

Not everyone is Los Fríos is a saint. They just constantly set my bar higher.