I'm Still Alive
PCV Visit (w/ John Lyons)
Must've been about a little over 2 weeks ago when I went to visit John Lyons at his site near Volcán de Fuego. I left early on a Thursday morning and arrived at the bus stop around 6:10 am. As I was waiting another man showed up, a little older and familiar with the Peace Corps in our town. We talked for a little and while waiting for the bus, a pickup came and he got in and asked if I was going to Antigua (which I was to meet John). So, what else to do besides hop in for the ride. There were probably 4 of us in the bed and we only made one more stop on the way, to pick up some 4 more guys. Now, a camioneta from Milpas Altas to Antigua is about 15-20min. I think we did it in 10-12. In all I saved 50 centabos (about 8 cents).
It was cool to meet up with John. Hadn't seen him since he left Houghton in April, 2005. We hopped on a bus, then another, and arrived in another Santa Lucía. This one had a pretty big market where we bought our fruit and veggies for the weekend. John's town is so small that there is only one bus that leaves his town at 5:00am and leaves from Santa Lucía at 11:00. So when we got there we just left our stuff on the bus for the older guys to keep a watch on and we went about our business for some 2 hours.
We got to another town below his and after lunch taught English for 3 hours. He had to leave mid-class) to talk to Bill (our advisor) so I was in charge. Thanks, John. It was about a 30 min walk at about 30 degrees up hill to his town, made longer due to talking to some of his friends on the way.
His view of Fuego is awesome. When the eruption is large enough, you can hear and feel the shock waves. One morning we were woken up around 5 to see the top 1/4 of the volcano covered in inrradesence. Then there was another eruption 2 minutes later where we saw red fly about 1km in the air. Awesome.
We met up with Bill and one day we went to this place to see where a lahar had been born. There was a pyroclastic flow a few years ago, and Stan had rained so hard it eroded this massive canyon. So, being big fans of rocks, we started throwing some at these big boulders just waiting to fall down. My arm hurt so bad the next morning.
First Field Based Training
This past week we went to Lago de Atitlán. We had lectures about waste management and starting an organization legally. You can imagine how much fun that was, but it was informative. There were so many little landslides from Stan there. A lot of roads were being rebuilt, especially coming down the mountains into town; these roads and hills were so steep is was hard to imagine they were there in the first place. But we saw houses and raods destroyed by these deslaves. Tip for the future: Don't build houses (or at all) in valleys or on steep hills. But I'm sure you all knew that.
We also met a couple super-volunteers and visited their schools. One of them extened for a 3rd year and as a side project is working in a special education class, teaching kids how to cook and all. Really sweet.
We had to take a ferry across the lake, which was actually pretty cool, though we had to leave to hotel at 5:45 the first time. The second time we left at 1:00, so we could enjoy the sun on the roof of the boat and the warmth. It gets pretty chilly down here in the mountains.
When we returned on Wed. to where we spent the first night, we all ahd to prepare our first presentation for the next day, about deslaves (landslides), actually, to one of the schools in town. I had 2nd grade. It was a lot of work preparing what to do, but when we did it, it went so smoothly. I started my class by us being a storm, making the sounds of wind, rain, thunder, etc., which was pretty fun. Then I read them this story about a town who sold their trees and when a storm came it was basically destroyed and had them draw pictures about what to do before, during and after a storm/deslave. We finished with a song a taught them. Yes, I sang to them. Our trainer here taught us the song, so I passed it along. They really digged it which was great. I think the whole thing took a little over an hour. We were actually "graded" on these and I was told I did pretty well. Infact, every body had a good presentation.
Our last night we went to this place called Corazón del Bosque, where we had a culture night because there were volunteers from Australia (!!!) and Costa Rica too. So a bunch a kids danced for us, some awesome musicians from all over, the Aussies did a song for Veggemite(?) and us Americans tried a bit out too. Later we finally had dinner and a camp fire. Some of us slept in a tent, a little cold, but bearable(?). All in all, an awesome week.
Now it's back to training and normal stuff. Hope everything is going sweel with all you all. Keep in touch-