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Published: August 5th 2011
I had a wonderful first day at the office. The staff was very friendly and patient with my Spanish. Shortly after arriving we had an office meeting in the conference room where everyone introduced themselves. They then brought out a lovely cake to welcome me to the office. Next Enrique, the Coban Office Director, and Jorge, the Teams Coordinator then gave me an orientation to MTI’s work in Guatemala. Later in the day Jorge and I went into town to order the supplies that we would need for the upcoming group who will be building latrines.
I spent the evening reading, chatting with other travelers in the Hostel, and watching the fireworks erupt over the city square.
This morning we continued to make preparations for the upcoming group. Solidifying hotel arrangements and other fine details. Then Enrique, Jorge, and I left the office around 12:30 to go look at an apartment that was available. We visited one then ended up going to another. I feel like I am on my own personal House Hunters International and these guys are good. I walk into one and think, “this is good” they keep a completely straight face and say, “we’ll think
about it”. They tell me “we’ll keep looking, it has to be perfect”. And they are right each one that I see is better than the one before. So for now the search continues but I am confident that I will have a great place in no time. I wish that I would have taken a camera with me to share what I am looking at but alas you’ll just have to see it once I choose one.
After lunch and looking at a few places we headed out of town to deliver two stoves to a community in the San Juan Chamelco municipality. We passed through the city of San Juan Chamelco and continued on up a steep, winding, rocky road to the community. Once there we began to unload our supplies at the new school that the community built just over two years ago. One of the previous teams had worked in this community and noticed that the women who were cooking for all of the children in the school were working in very poor conditions with little ventilation. Today we built two large stoves that have ventilation shafts through the roofs and out of the kitchen
area. Many people from the community came to help and to watch and we were able to finish both stoves with only one nail left over. Enrique presented the community with a certificate of donation and said a few words thanking the community for their assistance and their desire to improve the health of the community. Many people from the community said a few words expressing their gratitude.
As we were about to leave the women invited us into one of the classrooms where they had laid out a fully prepared Guatemalan meal to show their full appreciation. The meal was fantastic and it was wonderful to be able to share it with many members of the community. All of us sitting on tiny second grader chairs pulled up to tables no higher than my knee. The women had come together to make an amazing meal that everyone was able to share in. It was a really impressive experience for only my third day. It reminds me why I decided to do this and makes me feel like there are only more incredible experiences to come within the next year.
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