Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10: Week One Complete

Week one completed of our work here in San Miguel Duenas. We have learned many interesting things while working with our assistants (the guys who know what they are doing and actually we assist them…) Nariz and Eddie. They teach us and put up with our learning, and definitely let us know if we are doing something wrong! The family is also getting used to having us around. The two grandchildren are finally warming up to all of the strangers in their home and are loving having us around to play with (during short work breaks of course). It’s so nice to actually get to know the people whose lives you are touching and having this hands on experience with them is great.

In Guatemala May 10th is Mothers Day - Dia de las madres. It is taken very seriously and we saw many flowers everywhere we went as well as a few cars that had been covered with an entire pad of sticky notes each one with a message of love! It is also an important day to remember any mothers who have passed away. Not too far from our work site is the mausoleum of San Miguel . We walked through it with Teresa and saw everyone paying tribute to their loved ones. Definitely can’t forget to call home for Canadian mothers day in two days!

Friday afternoon we decided on having a bike tour around smaller places outside of Antigua including a macadamia nut farm and a famous textile and weaving village. Riding through the streets of Antigua was very interesting… and very bumpy! The cobblestone roads made for a lot more work and the many speed bumps kept us alert. We rode out almost as far as our 20 minute drive to Duenas and stopped in at the macadamia nut farm… but not before we had already had one broken chain, one gear malfunction and one very impressive and painful looking flip over the handlebars. Everyone was alright though so after our new knowledge of macadamias (and a few macadamia oil facials!) we continued our bike ride to the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. (But not before a run in with poison ivy and an arm…also turned out alright after the initial painful reaction, luckily we're all taking turns with our mishaps so not one person is having all the bad luck.)This city is known for its weavers, local Mayan women weave traditional patterns using a backstrap loom. Essentially it was a two story market with demonstrations of weaving. It was filled with amazing crafts though. These women spend so much time on each item they make and they are truly beautiful – the women and their creations!

Our bike ride had a few ups and downs and we ended up being out in San Antonio Aguas Calientes at a later hour than planned. That combined with the fact that there was a large uphill portion of the bike ride back to Antigua had us questioning our guide for alternatives. So we decided on adding another typical Guatemalan event to our day and we got on the Chicken Bus! These are school buses here used as public transportation between towns but they are more than just school buses… they are each individually named and with extra chrome and paint and anything you can imagine they are each pieces of art in their own rite. We had the driver add our bikes to the load onto of the bus and all climbed aboard to end our bike ride… with a bus ride uphill!

Next to see what adventures await us on our trip to Lago Atitlan this weekend!

Danielle Anderson
Student Team Leader
Guatemala, 2013

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