Monday, July 11, 2011

Campaign in Aguacatan!

On Friday, we went to visit some Mayan ruins near Huehue. There were a couple sacrificial pyramids, some tombs, and a basketball court where they supposedly played ball with human heads. Also if you lost the game, they killed you... Talk about pressure. We climbed the pyramids, took some pictures, and just relaxed in the sun for a little while. Jess almost pushed Emily off the pyramid in her excitement to take an "aesthetic phot".

On Saturday, we had a campaign in Aguacatán, which is a small city near Huehue. It was by far the best campaign we had had so far. There was a huge market right outside the room we were doing the campaign in, so a ton of people came by. We sold three water filters, a candela, 9 solar lamps, a ton of glasses, and an AgroDrip, which is the irrigation system that we have been researching. It was so busy that we never had any down time, 4 hours on our feet was pretty exhausting. We were constantly doing eye exams or talking to people about the other products. Overall, we sold about Q7000 worth of products! The other group sold 4 water filters and a ton of other products. Basically, our team is amazing!

Sorry for the Delay!

This past week has been super busy, so I'll try to re-cap it as quickly as possible. Our group is now in Huehuetenango (Huehue for short), the second most populated city in all of Guatemala. This week we have been working with a youth group in Santo Thomas. The organization is run by an awesome man names Nelson and aims to help kids be active in their communities and succede in school. For our project, we prepared and ran a leadership seminar for the kids of the youth group. Leadership is a very under-taught skill in Guatemala (most of the kids thought being a good leader meant giving orders and having people follow them) so it was incredibly important for us to be there teaching. Activities included a blindfolded obstacle course, an activity in identifying and sharing personal strengths, a self-reflection letter that helped the kids set personal goals for the month, and a brainstorming session on how to organize a community soccer tournament. I was amazed at the willingness to learn and the incredible self awareness exhibited by these kids. 

Some highlights of this week included dinner at a chinese restaurant (yes...these was one in Huehue... so random). Not only was there a restaurant, but Tim, one of the kids on the trip, managed to find marbles and olive oil and stage a chopsticks contest. The contest consisted of two bowls, the oily marbles, and a timer; the winner was the person who could  pick up the greased marbles and pass them bowl to bowl the fastest (I won!!). 

Another highlight was watching the USA vs Brazil world cup match in the lobby of our hotel. Let's just say we had some very concerned looking staffers peak their heads in after Wambach scored with 1 minute left, and even more when we won! 

Also, its been "ferria"  (holiday time) in Huehue, so the streets have been packed with people and vendors all week, making for some very fun nights out, including a concert on Saturday and many run-ins with very silly bolos (Spanish for drunks). 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Campaign in Chel

We do a campaign each week which involves one day of doing publicity (going around and telling as many people as we can find about the campaign) and one day of actually doing the campaign. Our campaign this week was in Chel, which is a very rural village about 3 hours from Nebaj. On Tuesday we went to do publicity, and we found out that about 2 hours of the 3 hour drive is on dirt, rocky roads that are incredibly steep and have potholes legitimately EVERYWHERE. Not only were we scared for our lives that the bus was going to fall off the cliff or not be able to make it up and down the mountains, but the bus was just bumping up and down like crazy for 2 hours. Not a fun ride. Abby and I now have permanent butt bruises. The ride was worth it because the village was incredibly beautiful. A huge wide river ran through the center and it was full of women washing their clothes, kids playing, and every baby animal that ever existes (chicks, ducks, pigglets, puppies, kitties...yeah Guatemala is baby-central) The women’s indigenous clothing here is gorgeous. They wear a red skirt and a vibrantly colored shirt (aka huipil) and these intricate hairpiece things that involve huge colorful pom poms. Most of the people there only speak Ixil and not Spanish, so it was really hard to communicate with them. We relied mostly on the asesores (women and men we worth with) to speak and translate back into spanish. We went back on Friday to do the campaign. It was pretty successful—we sold a couple solar lamps, some lightbulbs and a ton of glasses. The other group sold three water filters which is a HUGE accomplishment. Devin even sold one while he was not wearing pants. He got bed bugs so his host mom had to wash all his clothes and she didn’t leave him with any pants… so he fashioned a skirt-ish thing by tying two sweatshirts around his waist, one in the front and one in the back. Classic Devin. The campaigns were really, really successful, though, and a lot of fun.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fun Fact

Guatemalans don’t have arm hair, so they are absolutely fascinated by ours. Sometimes on the chicken bus kids will just sit there and stroke our arms. It’s a little creepy. Also they don’t really have leg hair, so when we were at the school the other day, a little girl was just stroking Dan’s calf for about 10 minutes.