06.09.2013 - 11.09.2013 23 °C
I sit up from my dream. I had frustratingly been trying to do a 100 point turn in my Nan’s huge Peugeot 306 to get it out of the en-suite we have here in Pajaros. Strange. It’s 6am and I look out of the window. The sun is still hiding and the palm trees are sleeping in the hazy blue sky. In my sleepy confusion I ask Lewy “who is being so noisy in the room next door?”. He’s upright in his hammock with a torch, trying to catch the mosquito flying around his head. He laughs sleepily, “it’s thunder”. I rub my eyes and open my ears. Ah yes, thunder is rolling around the sky again like a loose bowling ball.
The electricity goes off at 12am every morning and with it goes the fan: so in the early hours of every morning Lewy and I are often sweaty, confused by delirious dreams and pretty pissed off by the mosquitoes that can now land on us. I murmur that one morning we should watch the sunrise but I am back to my sticky sleep before I finish the sentence.
I’m awake again at 8am and setting up my exercise video in our large en-suite (about 10 by 7 feet), I can’t do it outside because the mosquitoes seem to have a taste for my blood. I shut the door as Lewy is snoring in the hammock. I’m getting quite into my Davina McCall work-out videos and feel fierce trying to clench my fists, kick my legs and look mean during ‘Box Cardio’.
I look out the window as I can hear a truck coming. We live with the deserted beach outside our front window and a wild jungle track out the back, with not many neighbours I have to be nosey. The rattling, white pick-up truck drives past. My eyes set view on an image that for many represents the dark dangers of Mexico in the news (especially in the States): young lads crammed into the back of a truck, looking worn, carrying large machetes and with bandana scarves around their face and neck. But I know that rather than fighting a revolution or working for the Cartel, these boys are my students. They have come from all over the country to work here on this pretty intense little paradise that is not theirs to enjoy and they are off for a hard day’s work clearing the mosquito infested jungle road.
For Lewy and I, this ideal job, working on this paradise island and teaching English for 3 hours a day AND getting paid for it is tip top: but it has its constraints. With no electricity until night time, no snacks or sweet food or drinks, rice and meat/fish for every meal, at least 15 new mosquito bites a day, no access to the outside world and working for 42 days straight we have naturally come to form a daily routine to stop us getting bored and hungry. So far it’s working well and time is flying by! We appreciate every morning on the beach and spend every afternoon napping and planning. The evenings are spent teaching - all the while covered in clothes and mosquito repellent. We are enjoying our time but will definitely be ready to leave at the end of the 6 weeks having had our fair share of the Caribbean.
For the boys on the other hand, my students, life is very different. They share rooms together sleeping in hammocks and do not have a fan or private bathroom. They wake up at 5.30am and start work at 6.30am everyday (when the mosquitoes are slightly less vicious). Covered in old clothing and most without repellent they work a long 9 hour day in the scorching sun keeping this virtually un-visited island hospitable. They all have rough hands from using their machetes all day and a smile from ear to ear- for they love their jobs. They to work for 42 days straight without a day off, they then receive a week off to return home to visit family before the 6 weeks of work start again. I have never once heard them moan.
After finishing work at 4pm they join me for 3 hours of class in the beachside restaurant: the only time they are able to enjoy the beach view as they are restricted from walking on the beach. These boys never moan about having class and try to tactfully hide their yawns. They make the most of every valuable moment of class because for them, free English classes is a golden opportunity. Lewy and I shall try to never moan again about a hard day’s work.