FBT Day 2 - Samac

Monday 2.15.10

Today was a long day. Most of it was spend sitting down which made me sleepy. In the morning we had to pack all our belongings before breakfast to change locations later that day, however, we did not go anywhere until the late afternoon. We listened to charlas both in English and Spanish for hours. I fell asleep. I could not understand what was going on in Spanish and lunch made me drowsy. Guatemaleans are not joking when they say how many times they must repeat something, anything, to get a point across. I feel like I could have gotten all the information of the three or four hours in a quarter of the time.

We finally left and drove for close to three hours to Samac in Alta Verapaz. My stomach did not appreciate the drive, however it was very beautiful. The clouds creep over the tops of the mountains at any time during the day, as will the rains come at any time. A grand party met us at the main agricultural building when we arrived. Children, townspeople, and other pulled our their own plastic chairs that are kept stacked on the side of the building and sat behind us. The volunteer here, Pedro, speaks Spanish as well as the indigenous Mayan dialect Q’eqchi’ as most of the women speak little or no Spanish and the mean speak better Q’eqchi’ than Spanish.

The barracks we are staying in were just recently completed, and we are their first guests. There are two cabins with 10 sets of bunk beds between them and a few cots. We split into guys and girls: 9 of each. We have outdoor showers, a pila (basically a really large multi-use sink) and composting toilets in which the solid and liquid waste must be deposited in separate slots in the toilet, and lime powder sprinkled over the solid waste to prevent odors.

I saw my first firefly in real life today. The gringo girls I was walking with didn’t believe me, so I had to explain how we don’t have these interesting bugs in my parts of California. I also saw a humungous spider, a toad (or maybe a frog), and I got bitten by two ants. No mosquitoes however. It did rain on us unexpectedly after a beautiful and sunny morning, though. Apparently that’s what it’s always like in this area though, they call it “chipi-chipi” which means a constant state of fog-rain.

The beds are not comfortable. They are better than nothing but my back is going to be really stiff tomorrow. I can feel each individual spring.

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