A Travellerspoint blog

October 2009


Finally some pictures after some technical difficulties

So I made a very nice photo gallery for all to see... but cannot figure out how you can access it from the blog. So I´ve attached all the photos below. I hope you enjoy!

Here is some authentic straight from Trader Joes into your cup Shade Grown Organic Coffee! This coffee coop is about a quarter mile from our house. And this is Lucas, a coffee farmer and my tour guide.

Another picture of Antigua

Me and Rex... The rather aggressive to outsiders but nice after he (actually a she) gets to know you.

This is Ura... she belongs to the Spanish man Raul that lives in the room next to us.

Ben and Yasmina. A member of the family we live with.

Ben and Chello---one of the kids at the centro--working on a pinata for Dia De Los Ninos (a day where they have a big party for kids at each school)

This is the view from the road as you approach our town. The town is situated just underneath that mountain which is called La Nariz de Indio... or Indians Nose.

Ben in a Kayak.

I can Kayak too.. ha!

The central plaza in Xela. The second biggest city in Guatemala (about 200,000) and about 2 hours from where we live. A nice place!

A Super Chivos (Super Goats) game in Xela. They are a professional soccer team in the Guatemalan league, which is kind of like our minor league baseball here. Except the fans are WAY more dedicated and fanatical. We were also interviewed on the radio in Spanish before the game started... quite a stressful test for me!

Posted by KimJay 15:03 Comments (5)


...and other things that go bump in the night....

San Juan is a sleepy little town, except for some reason between the hours of 4 AM and 7 AM. If there is one thing that exemplifies a modern Guatemalan celebration (and of course I am an expert after being here all of a month), it is Bombas. Otherwise known as GIANT firecrackers... the kind that us law-abiding Oregon citizens have never seen. These fireworks shoot far up in the air and explode in a house-shaking boom. Every special occassion requires at least 3-4 bombas, usually set off around dawn--and for some reason adjacent to the house we are staying in. Special occassions include...deaths, births, Sunday (they especially like to set them off right outside the church during masses to make sure the parishoners are alert), saints´ days (which seem to come quite often), ANY holiday no matter how small, for no reason in particular, and in celebration of the town winning any sort of regional competition (especially related to marching bands).

Speaking of marching bands, bombas are not the only thing that start at dawn. In preparation for a regional marching band competition, the school band began practicing a two blocks away from us at 5 AM a few weeks back. According to the locals, policemen don´t enforce the noise ordinances if children are involved--and besides the policemen (and the whole town) have great pride in their marching band (which plays routines lifted directly from Drumline the movie). The practice did pay off... the band took second in a regional competition (mind you it was a regional competition of three bands) which was celebrated by firecracker ropes in the street and of course bombas the following morning.

You have probably been thinking for the last few entries, enough of the yakity yak, show me some more pictures. We have taken many but laziness usually trumps the desire to load them up to the web. I´ll be working to get some up soon!

Posted by KimJay 14:03 Comments (3)

Muy buen día

Breakthrough with a student

semi-overcast 85 °F
View Turtle and Barracuda go to Guate on BenjaminE's travel map.

This morning at the Centro I experienced a breakthrough with one of the students, Israel. He is one of the fairly lower functioning boys that hardly ever says even one word to anybody. But today, he asked me two questions in full sentences! He asked me how my father was and then where my father was, albeit both questions were in Tz´utujil (I figured out what he asked me with the help of other students). The fact that he wanted to interact with me is a huge step and just that he recognized that even I, an extranjero, have a father is great progress for him, according to one of the teachers. Now it´s up to me to build on this progress by learning some words and phrases in Tz´utujil so I can interact with him better.

Posted by BenjaminE 16:39 Archived in Guatemala Tagged volunteer Comments (4)

Centro Maya

El trabajo es difícil pero vale la pena

sunny 85 °F
View Turtle and Barracuda go to Guate on BenjaminE's travel map.

We just finished our sixth day working at Centro Maya. The first week has been a bit up and down. Until we get to know the kids better, it´s going to continue to be difficult. We also discovered quickly that we need to be proactive with the teachers to make sure they tell us what the overall goals are when working with each kid. (I guess I shouldn´t keep saying kids as some of them are as old or older than us). After we started being more proactive, the activities started going better. Knowing what we´re trying to achieve with each student makes a big difference. Still, many are in only their first or second year at the Centro and are thus having to get used to learning after spending up to 20 years or more mostly at home. While the work can be frustrating at times, it is extremely rewarding when the students get it and make progress. Plus, we got to have some fun this week, going to the beach and having a party on the national Día de los Niños (Kid´s Day).

So far, the best thing that has come out of working there has been our new living situation. On top of the 8 members of the family living there, there are two other extranjeros, one from France and one from Spain, both of whom started out as volunteers. Both have stayed so long that now they are like part of the family. The youngest girl has taken quite a liking to Kim and has started to hang out with us almost every night, even helping Kim with her Spanish homework. It has been and I think it will continue to be a great opportunity to practice our Spanish. While I can only really speak for myself, I think we´re both feeling much more comfortable here and we´re both improving our Spanish every day, especially Kim.

Posted by BenjaminE 15:53 Archived in Guatemala Tagged volunteer Comments (3)

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