Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 109


Ah Monday, day of rest for the dynamic duo. And a rest well deserved. The weekend was spent trekking up the highest volcano in Central America, Volcan Tajumulco, whose summit is 4220 metres above sea level. We took the trip with a tour group called Quetzaltrekkers, a little outfit run by volunteers right out of the Casa Argentina where we've shacked up. Most of the money they make goes to funding an organization that helps street kids in Guatemala. And wouldn't you know it, one of our guides was Quebecois! Food and camping equipment was split up amongst the 28 people who intended to take on this mountain and warnings were given about altitude sickness and chilly temperatures we would encounter on Friday evening. We were sent off and told to meet back at the tour's ... read more

Last night, in the middle of the night, I woke up in the tent , headache gone, and needing to pee. Disengaging from my sleeping bag, I emerged into fresh cool moonlight and walked through sparse trees to the edge of the plateau where we had camped. Standing there, the lights of the village spread out in the valley below me, stars shining clear and bright above me, the misery of the previous day drained out of me. Despite the relatively extreme cold (3-4 degrees celsius, perhaps) it was only reluctantly that I returned to our tent. Some hours later, at around 4:00 a.m., the sounds of our camp starting to stir woke us. We emerged from the tent into a more complete darkness, the moon having set. After a brief pause to collect ourselves, the ... read more

Volcan Tajamulco. Central America's highest point. 4219 metres. When we went to sign up for the trek, they asked if we had been in Xela for at least two days. The answer, at the time, was no, and our guides exchanged a look. I knew they were asking about altitude sickness, so I reassured them I didn´t think it would be a problem. After all, we had been in Xela at 2000m or so for a day and a half, and the trek wouldn't leave for another day and a half, so I figured we were good. How tough could it be, if they were willing to take anybody who asked up the mountain? Over the next 36 hours, I thought about it some more. It occurred to me that in 1990, when I trekked in ... read more

Arrived in Quetzaltenango, mysteriously but universally referred to as Xela, the day before yesterday. Took a long walk around town between about 11:00 and 16:00 yesterday, taking in the zoo (sleazy looking monkeys, bedraggled eagles, and a frightening children´s playground full of sharp bits, hand crushing chains, and of course poor wiring exposed to the elements and curious fingers). Having spent the week on the beach, I figured I had a pretty good tan, and besides it was cool so I left off with the sun protection. Forgetting that we were at 2000 meters. So by the end of the day I had a very charming farmer´s sun burn, and a promising looking rash developing on the back of my calves. Also made a very good attempt at losing the cheap clip-on replacement sunglasses that I ... read more

In my mind, our trip only truly began after leaving Puerto Escondido. As we pulled away from the idyllic beach town and settled into what promised to be a tiresome 20 hours on the bus, I was shocked to find myself grinning from ear to ear. "It´s good to be on the road again," Chris said next to me as we gazed out the front window at the single-lane highway ahead and watched the countryside drift by. I couldn´t agree with him more. Not to say that the week in Puerto was anything less than absolutely wonderful. Taking a week to unwind in true beach vacation fasion was the perfect way to start this 11 week trek, but I was getting restless. Eager to change scenery and set off on the adventure I had been so ... read more

Hoi allemaal! Ik ben vorige week begonnen met werken! Er is me vanochtend iets overkomen waar ik helemaal vol van zit, wat ik echt even van me af moet schrijven. Ik kom hier later op terug, ik zal beginnen bij het begin! Vorige week ben ik begonnen met mijn project bij Ceipa. Ik heb eerst een middag in de klas geobserveerd, om te kijken hoe er wordt les gegeven en hoe de kinderen zijn! Wat mij opviel was dat de meeste kinderen ongewassen op school kwamen, smerige tanden, vieze handen en ongedierte in hun haar is niet onmogelijk. Aangezien ik inmiddels meerdere projecten heb bezocht, heb ik ook gezien dat veel werken met een hygiene project! Ik heb dit vervolgens met een van de leerkrachten besproken. Het idee is om de kinderen te leren waarom het ... read more
de zijn grote broer, blij kunnen maken met jouw stuiterbal heeft Willy!

Today was my first day of classes. It was strange getting ready this morning. I was a little nervous, like everyone is on the first day of school I suppose. I slept much better last night, thankfully b/c I had to get up around 6:40. Breakfast with the family was at 7:15 and then I walked to school. I got there early, no one was around and the doors were closed. I'm thinking, I am gonna be the only student here. I walked around a bit and came back to find 5-6 students, each with their own teacher. First, I took a test to guage my spanish skills. My teacher came up about halfway thru, and was just kind of watching me... His name is Christian (Kris-chi-aan, en espanol) and he seems very cool. He's 23, ... read more

Finally, I made it... I´m here, safe and sound in Xela!! (prounounced "Shayla," if you´re not sure) All has gone really well so far, and I´m loving it. I made it into Guatemala City and on the way, I met an Australian girl named Amy going to the same place. Myself, Amy and her friend Gina were picked up at the airport by Gustavo, who was holding a sign with our names, as promised. He packed us and our giant backpacks into his tiny car and drove us through Guatemala City to his house. There were already three guys there, two on their way to Xela, one on his way back. So there we are, 2 Australians, 2 Americans, 1 Irishman and 1 Scottsman, all at home in Guatemala... Small world. We ate dinner and talked ... read more

Hola chicas y chicos, Ik dacht bij mezelf dat het weer eens nodig tijd was om mijn update te schrijven! Ik zal even beginnen bij waar ik was gebleven. Mijn gedoe in mijn gastgezin! De rust is weder gekeerd, het heeft even een paar dagen geduurd, maar ik denk dat ze ook wel door had dat wij haar absoluut niet wilden beledigen! Wel een opluchting hoor, ik mag haar namelijk erg graag! Even over mijn vrijwilligers werk! Vorige week ben ik opnieuw op het schooltje met de kinderen geweest, samen met mijn contact persoon Josan. Ik weet niet of ik dat de vorige keer al had verteld, wat de lokatie is van dit schooltje. Het schooltje ligt op de rand van Xela en is gevestigd op de markt. De kinderen die hier naar school gaan werken ... read more

Daar was ik weer, eerder dan verwacht! Heb gisteren wat aparts meegemaakt, wat ik even met jullie wil delen. Gisteren na schooltijd ben ik met een zestal studenten naar het plaatsje Zunil geweest, dat is ongeveer 30 minuten hier vandaan. Uiteraard met de chickenbus hier naartoe. De bus volgepropt met allemaal lokale mensen en een aantal blanken. Het bizarre was dat een jongen van zo geschat 12/13 jaar achter het stuur zat. Waarschijnlijk werd hij door zijn vader opgeleid tot chauffeur, aangezien zijn vader het geld inde van alle klanten. De rit koste maar liefst 25 eurocent. Het is inderdaad erg goedkoop, maar het idee dat een jongen van 12 jaar een bus, volgepropt met mensen, bestuurd is niet echt prettig, kan ik je vertellen! Aangekomen in Zunil zag ik al vrij snel dat het een ... read more
wasplek aan de rivier van Zunil
meisje wat ons vriendelijk begroette vanaf haar balkon
spelende kinderen

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