Friday, February 26, 2010

What a week!

The past few days have been very exciting ones...
Monday brought the arrival of Lori and Chris, and we´ve kicked our lives up into fifth gear ever since..

On Tuesday we jumped at the opportunity to visit the small town of Toj Mech, about 30 minutes outside Xela center.  Chris will report more about that soon in his very own guest blog...

Some happy kids in Toj Mech´s library, pretending to read like I told them to

Wednesday the four of us traveled to Totonicapan (a great name for a Nicaraguan bakery, as Chris pointed out) which is a department, and the largest city within that department.  There we met with another one of our new Peace Corps friends, Casey.  She showed us the ropes and introduced us to their beautiful Casa de Cultura.  The Casa de Cultura has been running for 37 years, and gives creative art and music classes among other things.

We returned to Xela to go to a Buena Vista Social Club performance, only to find a huge celebration going on in parque central.  Apparently it was the 100th anniversary of Xela´s soccer team, the Super Chivos!  Go Xela!

Not a very good picture, but will definitely give you an idea of the madness.

With Thursday came another early morning and a trip to Momostenango.  In the morning we had a meeting with am extremely helpful man named Cesar-- so organized he offered to show us his power point presentation!  We opted for the white board instead to share our respective organizational pillars.  Cesar was able to give us some cold hard facts that, though a bit dated, helped push us in the right direction.  For instance, did you know that 56% of people in Momos make less than US$1 per day, and are thus in the extreme poverty category, and 95% are below the poverty line?

On a more uplifting note, our next informative meeting was with our old Peace Corps friend, Rebecca, and a visit to a nearby women´s organization.  On our way home we stopped through a smaller Municipio called San Fransisco del Alto to meet, yes, another Peace Corps volunteer named Ana.  Here we were actually able to visit a smaller community (Aldea) to get a feel for the quality of life here.

Just so you have an idea, Toto is in pink, Momos is in yellow, and San Fransisco del Alto is blue.
Finally Friday.. phew.  Oh, but wait, another early morning to go build stoves again in Llano de Pinal!  This time we got to complete a stage 2 stove!  Yes, I have completed each stage once, and am now open for business in case you would like one in your very own backyard and/or kitchen.

Our completed stage 1 stove from last week, and thus our starting point this week.

Our completed stage 2!

And that was some vital information for your everyday life..

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