I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been back in Pana since the beginning of the month, but I’ve been keeping busy at work with Mayan Families and generally enjoying being back in Guatemala, so I haven’t quite found the motivation to sit down at the computer and write, until now. Right now, writing seems like a pretty decent alternative to taking a cold shower (we’ve got no hot water), doing laundry and cleaning the house, which is what I told myself I was going to do today.
First, a bit of catch-up: The better 2/3 of MicroMundo is still in the States. Ronnie and Jess are both in the Baltimore/DC area, traipsing through the job search jungle. Good luck to them. I, on the other hand, plan on waiting several years before I start pretending to be an adult, and I’ve got a few more months to play with before law school in the fall. So here I am. I am not, however, completely alone–this time I have Alex Eaton, an old friend from Westminster, as a traveling companion. Alex is also volunteering with Mayan Families; he has been working in the woodshop as well as doing some photography. You’ll hopefully be hearing from him on here a bit, too.
We’ve got a great place to live–Mayan Families managers (and strong contenders for my Coolest People Ever award) Julio and Gloria have rented us the house they used to live in, complete with everything we need–dishes, pots and pans, furniture, etc.–right down to the disney princess sheets on my bed. Now that Jess and Ronnie are safely at home (and therefore the risk of giving their parents an actual, life-threatening heart attack is minimal) I think I can safely share the reason that Gloria and Julio no longer live in this house: it’s RIGHT on the river. Last year it almost fell into the river. This will probably become an issue during rainy season, but for now it just means that we have an amazing view of the volcanoes when we walk out the door. It’s in a little compound (Guatemalan-style) with 5 other houses, all of which are occupied by other MF employees and their families, so we won’t have any trouble borrowing a cup of sugar.
The weekend before last, we went with some of our MF coworkers to climb Volcán Tajumulco, which is the highest point in Central America. It was pretty awesome. We went with an organization called Quetzal Trekkers, which guides climbs as a way to raise money for a school for street kids and a boarding house for children in need. (They did a great job–I definitely recommend them if anybody’s interested.) The first day, we climbed up to an altitude of 4,000 meters, 200 vertical meters below the summit, and camped there for the night. It was high enough that it was tough to breathe–Alex even got a touch of altitude sickness–and it was COLD. Then we got up at 4:30 and climbed the rest of the way to the summit in the dark, so we could watch the sunrise from the top. It was freezing–there was frost forming on our sleeping bags, which we brought to keep warm–but totally worth it.
Alright, it’s time for me to get back to my weekend cleaning. One note before I do: I’m going to try to keep MicroMundo from turning into the Family Aid Blog (which is where we put the stories of everyone we’re trying to find help for), but I encourage you to check it out on your own. Donations of $10 or $20 can literally change lives, and life-saving medical care is often under $100. If you need a little perspective on what you have, or if you’re feeling pretty lucky and you want to give something back, or (for my family) if you’re just wondering what I do every day, that’s the place to go. The people you’ll read about are, for the most part, ordinary parents–the kind of people you would like if you met them–struggling against very long odds. A little hand up during a difficult time can make all the difference, especially for their children.