Well, I guess it´s been some 2 months now since my last real entry. Sorry to keep you all in suspense, though I´m not about to say I´m sure you´ve been dieing to hear about me. Things are pretty cool in Guatemala. The rainy season started up again after the Canìcula (dry period during the rainy season). So I guess this part of the season is the más fuerte, so we´ll see what`s up to happen. The bridge is almost finished…just in time to possibly be wiped out again. (Last year during Stan, there was a landslide that settled on the bridge causing it to collapse). Let´s hope for the best, because I´m a little tired of taking the desvio (detour) in a cramped, unpadded micro-bus.
The Education Situation…
So, at one of the schools, the entire staff was replaced, meaning there´s one new teacher there. She´s the wife of the administrator and already has a number of years of experience, so she´s a little more organized in the school. Can´t really do too much with her this year since the school year is almost over.
The school in El Faro is going real smooth. The kids are good and the teacher is interested. The only tough part is that when we have a class lecture, it´s a little tough to have all 43 or so of them paying attention….what can you really expect though? So I´ve taken to using a friend´s (Jonathan) suggestion where I´ll draw a circle on the board and tel the kids if they´re not listening, they´ll have to come up to the board and put their nose in the circle until I say they can sit down. So far…so good.
I´ve begun working with a third school now out in Las Marias, the town where the entrance to the fincas is. Bigger. Much bigger. 14 teachers, 418 or so students. We´re just preparing for the next school year where the work will be more structured with workshops and more formal meetings. Not like with the small, private schools where I´m doing a large part of the class work. So, I´ll now have a good mix of working with teachers and with students.
My most successful lessons have been the water cycle and the food chain / food pyramid. The water cycle included a short lecture that included condensation of clouds, precipitation, transpiration and evaporation. The activity was all 40-some of the kids making 2 teams, one team being transpiration, and the other evaporation. So they had to evaporate (or transpire?) water from one bucket to another (the clouds) using cups that they passed down the line. Wet and fun.
We did the food pyramid (not bread, fats, proteins and sugars) in the smaller school, but was still just as fun. First a short lecture about carnivores, producers, omnivores, decomposers and all that. Then we made a pyramid with about 10 kids in the first class and only 6 in the second. The first class in the morning was all into it, but they´re pretty hyper in the first place, which was great. I was a little concerned about the afternoon class because they are basically the extreme opposite. But to my pleasurable surprise they were into it too. Of course there is one girl in the afternoon class that still doesn´t want to do anything…but some day we`ll fix that….
The coffee place…
El Faro is getting ready for the harvest, or cosecha. I can´t wait; as if there aren´t enough black flies eating me up. But yeah, I`m really looking forward to seeing how this is all done, though I do hear they don´t play soccer for some 2 months because there´s so much work to do. I don´t think I can say coffee is a big part of my life, but a lot of you know how much coffee I drink. So it´ll be cool to watch this. I was actually thinking it´s a neat experience that I can kinda give back to people who have made my mornings back in the US so enjoyable with a nice, hot cup of joe.
Like always, Santiaguito is just hanging out, doin its own thing. Explosions reach up to 1500m above the crater, but luckily I saw a larger one that I think got up to 1700m, so that was pretty cool. I´ve been hiking up close to the crater, but not that close, and have seen a couple explosions almost looking straight up. So that was pretty cool, too. The observers have told me that the activity is going to bore me eventually; so I just have to keep changing my point of view I believe. But I´m still liking the occasional pyroclastic flow, however small and the avalanches which may or may not represent new lava flows. Yes, Santiaguito has lava flows too... not just the all-famous Pacaya.
I got a new machete a few weeks ago. When you get a new one, you have to really get into sharpening it, with a good file and both hands, grinding it pretty good. I´m still not done yet, so I´m told. I cut myself a couple times sharpening it so far. I have a feeling I´m really gonna hurt myself. I hope PC has enough band-aids and gauze pads for me.
So, life is good, although a little too slow at some points. I´m trying to get some projects going and trying to get some funding too for the observatory. Still lacking a little with the Spanish, but that´s a daily process. Playing soccer and the banjo. Doing some good reading Speaking of which…I have 2 more books that I recommend to you all. Both were recommended to me. Rain of Gold is a story about 2 Mexican families in the first half of the 1900´s that come to the US to leave the Mexican revolution and how the youngest kids in each family meet each other and fall in love…yada-yada-yada. But it was really good. Funny, and depressing, and full of unique experiences. For to like a book about love is saying something, eh?
The other book is called Naked, by David Sedaris. This is just a funny story about this guy and his experiences. There is no order; he jumps from childhood to after university to high school and all over again. He´s got a unique style and all. I like his perspective. Definitely not politically correct, and I thank him for it.
So, take care. Thanks for stopping by. Hope your lives are treating you well, wherever you may be…state, country, continent.
I´m done now.