We headed first to the highlands of Guatemala where we spent a few nights in Antigua before moving on to Lake Atitlán to enjoy the scenery, renew friendships at the Cooperativa Spanish School, and celebrate with our Beca Project students and their families. Then we flew to the island of Roatán, Honduras for beaches, snorkeling, diving, and flyfishing. HAPPY TRAILS!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here's how Mike's day started

Here's how Mike's day started, enjoying a cup of local coffee in a hammock overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It ended with him reading till long after dark in the same hammock, too late for my camera to grab the moment. Not much rest in between, though - busy day!
Our 1st family visit today was Rosemary Magdalena Chavajay Raxic, the girl our daughter Mariah and her husband Greg sponsor. What a delight! Rosemary is very bright and her family warm and welcoming. They told us they are embarrassed they don't speak any Spanish (because they weren't able to attend school) and are grateful Rosemary is learning so much in school including how to speak Spanish and English. She hopes to be a social worker.
Next stop was the home of our very 1st Beca student, Andrea Guadelupe Navichoc Pacay. Their home was constructed of corn stocks and plastic sheeting and we're hoping to raise enough money along with the Cooperativa School's efforts to begin construction on a new home for them in the winter (dry season). In the 2nd photo she's sharing her art work with us.
The 1st 2 visits were upbeat but the 3rd was more somber. Pedro Abimael Pop Yojcom and his grandmother live in a small, dark home and cook over an open fire on the ground. His grandmother understands the importance of education for Pedro but I'm not sure he does; hopefully he'll figure it out before he falls behind in school.
Our visit to the home of José Antonio González Pichillá's family was especially important to me. José Antonio was very ill this winter but is feeling much better and is making up for lost time at school; I'm happy he's doing so well and that we had money in our emergency fund to help with the cost of his treatment. Last year he wasn't sure what direction he wanted his education to take but this year he is very clear - hospital doctor. He's very bright and has strong family support and I'm hopeful he'll attain that goal.
If you look closely you'll see the cats in the photo above, too.
After lunch we took a chicken bus up the hill to the village of Santa Clara for market day. I didn't realize how far it was and inadvertently broke my vow to avoid chicken buses on mountain runs. It was easy to remember why I made the vow after hairpin turns so drastic the bus honked everytime to warn incoming traffic and occasionally had to jockey to get around the turn.
At one point we held our collective breaths while we jockeyed back and forth to cross paths with this truck; sounded to me like the clutch was shot and after rolling backwards we noticed men getting blocks for our tires - yikes! Somehow we made it by and continued up into the clouds.
So much for the Santa Clara market; note to self: head there 1st thing in the morning next time. By the time we arrived they were breaking it down and heading home through the mist.
We also passed through the villages of San Juan and San Pablo (below).
I'll close today's post with a few scenes from around San Pedro - 2 men and 4 little girls soliciting votes for Reina de la Escuela (Queen of the School). Happy trails!

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