Brandnew Volunteers

Published: May 12th 2007
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Last week we arrived in Guatemala and we relaxed a couple of days in Rio Dulce. There is a very magic place called El Paraiso. It is a hot waterfall that plunges into a cold riverpool and there is a lot more to it than it looks. If you swim underneath the waterfall - the falls are boiling hot and you need to dive - there is a natural steam room and it is really amazing.

From there we took a chicken bus to Flores El Peten and Lake Peten is really beautiful. We are going to stay in San Andres on the Northern shore for one month to volunteer with Volunteer Peten. San Andres is a small and relatively poor Maya village perched on a steep mountain. There are still a lot of houses made out of sticks and our accomodation is very basic. There are only outdoor toilets and no shower or bath, but luckily we can bath in the lake with the locals. The toilet is a real challenge and we are also going a bit hungry as our host is not a very good cook! However, the family and especially our hostfather are just lovely.

Our first couple of days we spent plastering and painting the new libary in the heat and it was abit though! In the last week Em has worked in the ecological park and this is good fun. Frankie is working in the wood workshop. Our fellow volunteers are around 10 years younger than we are and they are really sweet. In the afternoon there is nothing to do and we swim in the lake or read. We adjusted to our new routine fairly quickly and we get up everyay at 6:00 am. Our ´commute´to work is a 45 minute walk on a dusty road and it is already very hot at 7:00 am. We then work until midday and in the aftrenoon we have free time. In the evening we work with children and most of the time we play cards or jenga etc. Friday is movie night and Spiderman 3 was maybe not suitable for the kids, but we enjoyed it.

Here in San Andres it is very dry and there are many fires and it keeps burning for days sometimes. On the weekend one of the sawmills burned down and over 100 jobs are lost. Tomorrow Volunteer Peten is sending us to another national park to teach the caretakers English for 5 days. I guess they chose us because we are a bit more mature and this makes up for Frankie´s teaching skills!

Additional photos below
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16th May 2007

would have loved to see a picture of you two working, but then watching tv with some kids doesn´t seem too exhausting ;) hope you enjoy your teaching experience, have fun, nicki
17th May 2007

ohren steif halten
liebe michi, liebe gruesse aus salzburg. euer internship klingt recht abenteuerlich aber auch interessant. ausserdem you'll enjoy the last month of travelling a lot more after working so hard. haltet die ohren steif, bussi isi

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