Thursday, September 23, 2010

Calling All Adventuresome Volunteers

Sharon says all our blog readers need to share in a little local drama, so I have to tell you about my day, the day before yesterday. Thankfully, my partner, volunteer Appy, took everything in stride. We went with Juan, the construction manager, to Tierra Linda.

We first stopped by the preschool at Tierra Linda. The kids were working on the letter "O". The assignment that the kids were working on was to fill in a bubble letter "O" that was drawn on a piece of construction paper, using little cut up bits of yarn. They filled the "O" in with one color and outlined it with another.

Most of the kids were done and having some free play time. One little boy however, had covered his entire paper in glue and only glued down a few pieces of yarn. When we looked for this particular little boy, we found him lying down on one of the other tables. I guess daydreaming was more appealing than the letter "O"!

They were so cute and excited that we had stopped by. Two of the boys had these tops that they would wrap up with a string and then release down onto the ground where they would spin and then the kids would all take turns jumping over them.

Then, we went to see the 4th, 5th and 6th graders. I interviewed the teacher and many of the computer class students on their and the community’s reactions to the stolen computers. This robbery has left these students without a computer class, and the whole community further alienated from technology.

The teacher told the story quite dramatically, but the kids and parents had a difficult time expressing themselves, Spanish being their second language. Although their vocabulary was limited to saying how sad, how very sad, how very very sad everyone was-- they made it very clear, having a computer class was synonymous to them to having access to education at all. Without the computers, the students will be unable to pass their grades and in order to move on in school will be forced to make the trip to Solala or Panajachel-- a trip which many of them cannot afford.

Finally, we got the story on videos, including confessions from the boys that the teacher and the girls were actually in tears when they discovered the empty classroom.

Then, it started to rain, and we realized that we had missed most of the traffick of pickup trucks taking goods to the market, which we depended on to get us home. Eventually a neighbor offered to make a special trip just for us. We made it to Solola, where it was still pouring, and changed to a big bus to go to Panajachel.

Mind you -our valiant volunteer, Appy, Juan and I were thinking only of food, since it was almost 3 pm and we hadn’t eaten. The only thing that could and did distract us from food, were the rocks falling down the side of the mountain as we passed over a particularly scary part of road, where half the road has crumbled away and the remainder is literally being held up by wooden beams.

Almost immediately after we passed under the falling rocks, the road was closed for traffic.

But wait, there’s more. We soon heard a horrible sound on the back side of the bus. Everyone was on their feet thinking we were getting hit by a mudslide and asking the driver to keep going before more rocks fell. Turns out,a car had misjudged the curve and ran into the back wheel of our bus, totaling their car. Our bus only slightly skidded out, leaving us about a foot from the cliff's edge.

When we realized it wasn’t a mudslide, we stayed in the bus, out of the pouring rain, until another bus came, and we ran out the backside of one bus and jumped on another - - literally hanging out the door as it pulled away.

We made it home to Panajachel, in time, to wade through streets to the market. In the market, everyone was huddled around the back side of the market to see the back side of a mountain crumbling and sliding down in the rain. The neighborhood behind the market, had already been evacuated.

Appy did this all in flip flops by the way. So, this is a call for all volunteers who want a little adventure in Guatemala. If you're interested, now is the time. . .

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. What an adventure! I am happy to know you arrived safely.