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while i was in mocoron a baby girl died, up at the clinic in puerto lempira. i asked arnulfo about it, he said it wasn't that big a deal - she was young, and the mom has six or seven others.

that night, i was sitting in the house, in the usual candle lit darkness, when i heard an otherworldly sound.
already a group of kids had come by asking for money, collecting for the family; i followed the sound to the house in mourning.

a group of women unseen inside let out repeated wailing crescendos.
i ran back to my house, got my tape recorder, and unsuccessfully tried to tape record them from my pants pocket.

i stood outside with the men, around a fire.
the mood was certainly less somber there, but it wasn't long before we got into politics. i found myself an apologist for mopawi, as la gente assailed me with their sufferings, and their waitings.

my spanish wasn't quite good enough, and they were speaking miskito-spanish, rapidly, excited,
they thought i didn't understand because i wasn't listening

because i thought i was better than them or something
it was so much tension

and the wailing

i gave 32 lempiras.

later on, I met some recent business school grads from the kellogg school at northwestern university. they were working with mopawi on a three week advisory mission to "the developing world." Dan and Michael were assigned to Mocoron (and not a bit jealous of Stacey Jeff and Brian?, assigned to belen/raista), they asked me what it was like. I described it as "muckoron" - i remembered lots of mud, and lots of gray. gray skies, gray energy from lots of people who wanted handouts.

i studied mopawi's proyecto communal forestal there, and that's what i discovered. that and the forest dwelling families of mocoron.

richard while i was working on my mopawi article, some dudes found out i was a writer, and said i had to go meet this guy richard. ricardo pasta rodriguez. okay, i went with a nice young guy to a house a short walk out of town. there, on the porch with two families, sitting against the wall, his leg on a pillow: richard, with a medieval looking apparatus affixed to his ankle. he undid his bandage, since the shooting in january, his bullet hole in his ankle had healed up some. it was a sight to see, like nothin' i had before. people seemed to want me to, i took some pictures. heck, i wanted to.

i think they wanted me to give some money too; i gave 20 lempiras.

he tried to explain the story to me, this guy had been shot in an altercation over norma. norma is a gringa who lives in mocoron, married to a miskito. way they told it, she took pictures of the poor kids in the town, took that information to the states, raised a bunch of donations, brought them back to town, distributed food, clothing, medicine to all comers, went back to the states, get a new bunch of stuff, came back to mocoron, and decided she only wanted to give it to people that were helping her out.

so the people got pissed, she hired a guard, some stuff was stolen, she brought down justice of the peace and some officers from lempira, tensions were high, perhaps richard hit an officer in a protest, perhaps he intervened on behalf of a young woman who might have been harmed, perhaps he was in the road when the officers were trying to leave town,

he got shot in the foot. bad, like he can't walk much, or work. sucks to be him.

now his story is kinda on the web. i told them i would write it up, apologized in advance for getting it wrong, or incomplete. they asked me for justice.

i mean jesus, it was a real moment. what the heck was i supposed to do?

couldn't communicate, couldn't understand, couldn't judge.

otherwise, i ate at eleazar's
the only comedor in town

he's a jolly fellow, often fun to be around - exhuberant.
he named his son "george bush" and his daughter, and his restaurant, kenia.

local schoolteachers (read: bachelors) ate there a lot,
they knew some smattering of english,
or had some schoolteacher patience - good for communication.

also, mocoron boasted one of my two favourite mosquitia showers
(the other in raista)
the rio near town was fast and clear (looking) and temperate
brisk and invigorating.
just don't get caught there towards sundown - it's a crazy mosquitofest.

also, arnulfo warned me not to bathe nude (shucks),
bathing shorts ensure that the morals of the townfolk will not be offended.

Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 15:03:06 -0600
From: Carl Franklin
Subject: get it right

I really don't understand why you list Norma as a "gringa" and portray her in such a negative tone. I've spent a bit more time in Mocoron than you have and like yourself, I found lots of "gray energy" and not to mention plenty of negative folks. By the way, those people in Mocoron wouldn't even have it as well as it was when you were there if it wasn't for Norma. I have been there before and after your arrival. Norma works hard to help the people of Gracias a Dios. Maybe you're not aware of the 5,000 people that she helped get food to during hurricane Mitch. Or that the babies that are born and the teeth still possessed by many Miskito are the results of doctors and dentist coming there because Norma paved the way.

Narrow-minded and short-sighted individuals such as yourself should grow up a little before you publish such a naive article with nothing but a negative vibe about Mocoron's one definate glimmer of humanitarian hope.

Norma's not the problem. The bankrupt morality of that community is the problem. Poor work ethic, substance abuse, and a lack of education is what Norma is up against. You really should consider changing the content on your site regardless of how bad your wrist hurt.

Or print this letter on your site. At least your internet domain couldhave something truthful

Carl Franklin

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