How did this happen? How did I gethere?
Studies RigobertaMench weaving coop- link
Xela Simon hernia 2nd.-startdto train didn´tsop
committedsuicide went hom
disaster area-no boyriend- what to do-neededto make something positive happen
work- funds from
Peter Kirton Peizza chaing in Eureka SpringsArkansas
Jpohn Bound gypseyrose www.gypsyrose.com
can you say
went home atChristmas- fundraising-.assembly in school, thank you
Hello from beautiful Santiago de Atitlán. It is so exciting to be back. After such a wonderful time in the UK over Christmas, I left home feeling sad that I wasn´t going to see everyone, family, friends old and new alike, for a long time and wondering how I was going to settle in again in Santiago. However I can already tell five hours on that I shall settle in again just fine.
The journey certainly helped to make that mental shift. I flew to Cancun from Manchester on a cheapie with First Choice. As it was such a bargain I had expected the flight from hell. The reality was very different- the service was excellent and there was more leg room than on any other flight I have been on in the last year- and I have taken a few. After the 11 hour flight, I headed to the bus station and after a stroll headed onto San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas- a mere 17 hours by bus. Luckily I managed to sleep most of the way and arrive in San Cristbal reasonably fresh. After a night in my $7 per night room I took a shuttle to Panajachel. Unfortunately I missed my boat by an hour so had to overnight there (only $6 this time). Luckily my friend Lucy who works for Oxfam was in town so I was able to catch up on what had being going on both work wise and socially over the festive season. She also introduced me to Bernadette an Italian Community Development worker and Ivan 82 year old British consultant who has just emigrated to the lake. Yes 82 that is not a typo! Both were fascinating people. Bernadette is supporting the affected people to express their concerns regards the location of the proposed new build which is only 30 metres out of the high risk zone and has been affected by previous landslides in living memory. Ivan has a long history of supporting development projects at the WHO kind of level. He told us about how he met Gandhi when living in India in the 40s. There are so many fascinating people around. Anyway Ivan has invited us to his house warming party next weekend so surely more stories to be told. Ivan also has the cutest dog called Rah.
I finally arrived in Santiago mid morning today. So as you can imagine that in between naps I have had a fair bit of time to get my thoughts together, remember the happy times I shared with everyone at home over Christmas and New Year, and focus on what I need to do while I am here. I think there is something to be said for not taking the quickest route anywhere, as the thinking time you get on route to readjust culturally and plan is a real luxury. Not to mention that I got out here for half the price of a ticket to Guatemala City including all the accomodation, and the bonus of not having to go to the city at all.
When I arrived I took a tuk-tuk to the house where I ran straight into Antonia who one of our principal bead designers. She was walking with David, a 17 year old disabled boy who was affected by the disaster in his newly replaced wheelchair, Pedro another helper, Anton another disabled boy on a visti from Antigua for a camp, and Amanda the Peace Corps volunteer who is running the camp. Hugs all round and tickles from David. This is his favourite greeting and causes him much amusement everytime. Francisco, my host father and head of the NGO I work out of (ADISA), came home for lunch and explained how much has been going on for ADISA. The grant which had been offered by Castilla La Mancha to build houses for the affected disabled people came through, but not only that they have already bought the land and have started to clear it! I popped down to the Posada, our local hotel, to say hi to David and Susie the hoteliers. David was preparing a report to his funders about the 8 houses they have rebuilt since the disaster, and Susie was busy working on her weaving project which has developed at pace too. It´s great to see people, and also see how much progress has been made. I´m off home now to see Argentina my host mother when she gets home from work.
Anyway as well as catching up with people I have done two of the jobs I wanted to do today. In the morning before taking the boat to Santiago I purchased a phone for the project so that potential buyers, suppliers and other contacts can contact me more easily. Thank you to Anne Oldham and family for the phone and the minutes I have bought to have in stock. They have offers in Guatemala called double days, and luckily today is one of them. On these days a general buzz goes round as people remind each other that if they buy their minutes they get double the amount for their money. Even as a non phone user before Christmas you couldn´t help pick up on everyone´s excitement. The phone will be left with the project when I leave.
Secondly I wanted to set up this blog to let you know what I am working on and prove that I am busy so that you can see that your money is being used to good effect.
Anyway tomorrow down to serious work. TTFN!