Monday, April 21, 2008

Encyclopedia Guatemalteca

Author´s Note: I killed atleast 20 of those beetles in my room before I went to sleep on Saturday night. Thank goodness they aren´t rats...

Today I rode home from school 6 deep in a 2-door Volvo with a group of encyclopedia salesman. Life is so strange.

On Friday I went to Xela and met with Ashleigh for lunch. Before I left I went to the post office and I had TWO packages…one from my parents and one from the Strash family. I was SO happy. So I went to Xela and we went to a Mennonite bakery that is only open Tuesdays and Fridays and I bought some wheat bread. I also went and bought a guitar which will make me very very happy. I might not have to resort to watching the Desperate Housewives DVD that Sara gave me.

On Saturday I got to go with Brian to an aldea close to here named Coralles where he has a stove project. I got to help him build the bases for 4 stoves. A lot of people here are still cooking on fires on the floor of their house or on stoves without chimneys so respiratory problems are a HUGE deal here. So, his project is to build 73 “estufas mejoradas” in houses there. It was really great to be able to go into people’s houses and see their lives from that perspective. Everyone was SO nice and welcoming. They all fed us several times. I also got to do a little manual labor which felt good. We used cement block and cement and basically built a box on the ground (the hardest part is making sure it is level) and when it is dry they will fill it with sand or earth and then build another box of brick on top of it where they can put the metal cook top. They have chimneys so they can still use wood to cook and it will heat the house but there won’t be smoke. It’s great because respiratory problems are some of the most serious illnesses here. It is nice because he teaches people to do it so they can build their own and he doesn’t do it all for them. Also, a lot of the women end up working on it which is great because it isn’t the kind of job they normally let women so around here. It is great to see everyone work together and get something accomplished that is so good for them.

Sunday was market day and I had to buy another blanket for my bed because it has been really cold here at night. I spent all day cleaning and washing my clothes because it takes SO long to wash them by hand. I also make quicoi (kind of like zucchini) bread which turned out really well in the oven I made on my stove top. Next step: chocolate chip cookies with the chips Ryan sent me! It felt really great to bake something, I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.

This weekend I get to go watch the schools play sports against each other on Friday and on Saturday I am meeting some of the people from the training group at Lake Atitlan to hang out. It will be nice to have a vacation.

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