Our Wednesday morning kids – and garbage…

Wednesday mornings before 8:00 is garbage day on our street.  People put their garbage bags out on the street and a dump truck comes along later and men throw the bags into the back.

But poverty here is endemic. When we bring out our garbage every Wednesday morning, these young kids are regulars and they’re waiting to sort through the garbage from our little apartment complex. Some mornings it’s cold and they bundle up best as they can and huddle together in the early morning sun.

But today I thought I’d have a little fun with them.  I brought out my cell phone and showed them how to take pictures. Kids love it!  But before I took their picture, I made lots of feo (ugly) faces to get them laughing and they quickly got in the game.

The thing that amazed me was how fast they learned how to shoot, preview their shots, laugh and do it again. A lot of these indigenous kids don’t really speak Spanish, but rather the ancient Maya Quiche language.

But no matter the language or culture, kids are kids!

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“Air-conditioned” transportation and waiting in line

A very common sight in Guatemala is a pick-up packed with people standing in the back.

As you can see, this pick-up is designed for that very purpose with its grillwork.

Surrounding Xela are the mountainous areas where many of the indigenous Maya families live and work.  They bring their produce down to market in these pick-up trucks.

Another common experience is waiting in lines – sometimes VERY long lines.  These people are waiting to get into Western Union for their remittances from family back in the States.

This shot was taken in Antigua, a city near the capital, from a hangar mate of mine from California when he recently visited Guatemala.

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Rainy season’s coming!

We recently had a torrential downpour one evening and in the morning we saw the result.

The rainy season starts about in May and goes through the summer. Because our streets flood, every doorway has little metal drop-down doors that help block out the water, but it still makes a mess in homes and little tiendas (stores).

We’re on the second floor so we’re not directly affected, but it sure makes for a mess for a lot of people, and because we walk everywhere, it’s messy – and dusty after it dries out!

Little gates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of mud and when flowing fast is dangerous.

Surveying the aftermath of the flooding.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh joy – cleaning up.

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“Border run” and the Peace Corps medical/dental process

Peace Corps paperwork – a daunting task!

In Guatemala, there’s a requirement that ex-pats (foreigners) must leave the country every 3 months – for at least 3 days. This is commonly referred as a “border run” among us.  In the past we’ve flown to Mexico City, the US or just crossed the border into Mexico to a town called Tapachula.

Last month we were due for another border run, plus we needed to get our PC medical/dental work done so we flew back to California.  We were blessed to be able to be squeezed into the very busy schedules of our doctors and dentist on such short notice!

In our PC applications, we had to fill out detailed medical history information and this formed the basis for the extensive medical/dental paperwork we needed to have filled out by our dentist, doctors and medical staff.  In all this, we needed to hunt down medical records from various doctors going back over 10 years – what a chore!

Finally, after all the paperwork was filled out, signed and collected, Leslie and I had to scan everything and upload it to our PC portal.  Whew!!

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Invited to the Peace Corps to serve in Guatemala!

After almost 3 years of preparing and pursuing service in the Peace Corps, we were formally invited to service in Guatemala.

Leslie will serve in a position called “Healthy Schools” and I’ll serve in “Youth in Development”.

Service in the Peace Corps is a process.  We’re not “locked in” the PC yet!  However, being invited is a major hurdle that we’ve just accomplished.  Then starts the medical/dental exams, background checks, etc.  If all those things pass muster, we’ll begin “Pre-Service Training” in Guatemala for 3 months starting in September.

Only after successfully meeting all the required tasks and passing an intermediate level of Spanish fluency, do we take the oath of service at the end of Pre-Service Training and are officially “sworn in”.

 

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