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Archive for February, 2010

I think that yesterday was the most interesting day that I have had in La Limonada so far… more on my week to come.

When Moni, Lucia, and I arrived at the school we noticed one of the teachers mopping the floor in the class for the 4-5 year olds. I didn’t think much of it. The chairs were on top of the tables, which were pushed out of the center of the room. Mass commotion ensued (in Spanish). We made our way to the second floor, which requires us entering from a different door outside of the school. A river of water came toward us at the bottom of the stairs. It reminded me of those cartoons where the bathtub would overflow, and a boat would go down the stairs… taking on the shape of the actual steps. My imagination went crazy. What could have caused this?

We climbed the stairs to see all of the teachers with broom in their hands, some of them barefoot on this cold morning, sweeping the water toward the stairs. As the floors in the schools are made of cement, this is the easiest solution to getting the water out of our way. I immediately dropped my backpack and grabbed the closest broom. It took an hour and a half of sweeping and mopping up water to get the floors back. The culprit? The water in one of the bathrooms was not turned off the evening before, and the pressure burst the pipe causing the flooding of the entire second floor. The flooding seeped through the walls and leaked into the classroom downstairs.

This was seemingly a minor setback in a day in the live of La Limon. Everyone worked together, finding humor and enjoyment in the situation. My thoughts were that if this happened in America, everyone would be super angry and looking to throw blame. It was great to be surrounded by people who are just able to deal with a crisis with grace and humor. I’m still convinced that the river was super fast that day because of our brushing the water through the hole of Lucia’s classroom floor, which is directly over the river.

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For Diane…

This blog is dedicated to my friend, Diane… who I love and miss very much.

I try to end each day by thinking of my favorite part of my day. During my first day working in La Limonada, I had the chance to assist one of the teachers in her class at La Limon. The class filled up with about 15 kids between the ages of 7 and 8. The last child to come into class was Helen. Helen is being sponsored by my friend, Diane Moore. It took me a few minutes to realize who this child was… she wore a Hannah Montana shirt that was bright pink. I remember Diane telling me that she knew that the child that touched her  heart last year was a girl who loved pink and liked Hannah Montana. After seeing only one picture of Helen, last summer… I knew that this was Diane’s sponsored child.

After a few minutes, I told Helen that Diane is a friend of mine and that we go to the same church. Helen’s face lit up and she wrapped her arms around me. This was definitely the best part of my day. Helen asked me when Diane was going to visit her again. I promised her that I would work on that.

So Diane…. this is for you.

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San Mateo

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a school in the village of San Mateo. Getting to San Mateo took about 25 minutes on a very packed chickenbus going completely up hill… further up the mountain than I had ever been. While getting back to Antigua took a mere 10 minutes and a very empty chickenbus going warp speed down the mountain. Needless to say, we held on to our seats for dear life.

Visiting the school was an amazing opportunity to see how other schools in the villages operate. This particular school in San Mateo is run by one family. Judith, at teacher at La Union, and her husband run the small school located off of an alley-way in San Mateo. While Judith teaches at La Union Language School, in Antigua during the mornings, her husband (Juan) teaches the children at the school. Judith returns to San Mateo each afternoon to teach the children, while Juan goes to work in the afternoons and evenings. Judith’s mother assists with the children all day. Judith and Juan’s twins also attend the school. The school is sustained entirely by donations and by this one family. Without Judith and Juan, these kids would have no education in San Mateo.

I was greeted with hugs and laughter from the kids, as well as a greeting (in unison) from the entire class. We had an amazing afternoon full of play and education for the kids. Nick, one of the assistance and a resident of Canada, has assisted at the school for sometime. Yesterday was his last day working at the school. The kids threw him a party. Thanks to Judith, Juan, and Kate for inviting me to the school for the day. I would love to visit again sometime in the future.

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Last night after I left school I went to have dinner with my friend Raul, one of the teachers at La Union. We arrived at Cafe Sky, a very popular restaurant that is close to the school. After Raul and I had dinner, Raul’s student, Jacob came to join us for a beer. Jacob had decided to have dinner at home last night because he didn’t want to spend any extra money. This is completely understandable, as we receive free meals as part of our stay with the families in Antigua. I chose to splurge and have spinach and cheese quesidillas.

During our beer drinking (only one each), Jacob began to feel sick. All foreigners learn quickly that you are bound to be sick to your stomach at random times. It’s just common knowledge. So, Jacob disappeared to the bathroom for several minutes. After returning to the table he explained to us that he was suddenly not feeling well and after a few more minutes went back to the bathroom to do his thing. The owner of the restaurant went into the bathroom after Jacob came out. Jacob apologized to the owner, Carlito, and told him that he had felt very sick. Carlito nodded and said “no problema” and Jacob returned to the table to finish his beer. We asked for the check. Jacob’s check read as such:

Pollo (the only beer readily available in Guatemala) : 22Q … or approximately $2.75

Limpiar Sanitario (cleaning of the bathroom) :40Q … or approximately $5.00

For a total bill of 62 Quetzales. SIXTY-TWO QUETZALES!! To poop!!!

I immediately called Carlito over to our table and asked if he was serious. Carlito replied with a simple “si”. Once again I looked him in the eye and said “seriouso?”, waiting for Carlito to crack a smile or something… because this just had to be a joke of some kind. Nope. Carlito was serious. So, while Jacob and I sat with our mouth hanging open, he dug money out of his wallet shaking his head and just laid it on the table.

This would be one way to ruin something that you love… Cafe Sky has the best view of Antigua with it’s roof-top seating. Tourists love this place, as do students and most everyone else. It’s very sad that I won’t be returning there.

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