Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 07/15/2011

Another Day in a Life…or Trashy Talk!

14 julio 2011- jueves 

Yesterday began at 7:15am…with difficulty I left the warmth of my covers to freshen up in my bathroom which fronts on my sheltered patio. Turn on the faucet, but not surprised…no water yet. It comes on a few hours 2 x day in the morning and evening….when is the mystery.  No problem. I fill my plastic bowl from water stored in the bucket under the sink… face washed. Breakfast is leftover onion, tomato, and green bean omelette (the works!) warmed up on my 1-burner electric stove. Dressed, I sprinkle baking soda into my socks…an attempt to naturally repel the fleas that continually attack me. Sometimes it works. I can always hope and resort to Caladryl later when it doesn’t.

Enlisting 6th graders to care for the environment

First off, another charla ( talk) on the medioambiente (environment) at the elementary school here in the center of town. Unfortunately, Miguel,  from the Ministerio de Educación, cancels on assisting me…something came up, so I am on my own, however, my confidence level has grown from giving the same talk on Monday.   We have fun with the dinamicas or interactive activities. This ecoladrillo idea is contagious!!

These kids also want to construct a school garden utilizing them… Funding is the issue, not lack of interest, so I suggest they wait a bit. Finished with presentations to the two 6th grade classes, it is time to head to Chotzague.

Hilly terrain is how I would characterize my municipio or town…good walking shoes are crucial, so down the hill I head…soon leaving behind the concrete pavers that make up the roads in the center of town. I carry my umbrella in my hand just in case of any menacing chuchos or stray dogs, but instead I just meet up with a friendly woman puffing up the hill like me. These are always opportunities to explain who I am and my work. Her reaction is surprise to not have met me already, given my 8 months in site…perhaps our town of 3,000 is not so tiny after all.

Future garden builders in Chotzague

Half an hour later I arrive to the schoolyard of Chotzague where I am immediately surrounded by a gaggle of kids…. “una foto, una foto!” they cry out. Everyone wants their picture taken, so I oblige, but mostly I am there to measure the space for the proposed school garden. A future carpenter kindly helps with the measuring tape.

Despite the menacing skies, the rain has held off, so I decide to head to the town dump which is up the hill off a different street. I want visual evidence for these charlas…having just told youth earlier that day that 50% of the trash thrown on the side of the hill (that is our town’s waste disposal system) contains recyclables. There are businesses in towns a few hours away that buy recyclables, but the question is whether they would come to our remote town, with gas costs and a difficult road as factors. Embarking upon a recycling program is an idea I wish to pursue here…for decades I have practiced recycling, and I would love to impart that passion and practice here in Guatemala as well.

Waste Dump for our town

After so much of my day focused on waste management, it was a pleasure to relax and bake with work friends at 4pm, after the incredibly loud sounding of the bell which signals the end of our work day….Hawaiian pizza is on the menu!!  We take the easy path and use packets of tomato sauce instead of making it from scratch…the dough, however, is handmade, and I scrape its sticky mass off of Blanca’s hands. At the sight of dirty dishes, Guatemalan women spring into action…so I don’t mind enjoying their offer for dish-washing! We play a few games of UNO while the pizza bakes, and dreamily wonder how many times we could bake in a day. When our tasty creation emerges from the oven, they pack up their portions and pay 10 quetzales each ($1.15) for ingredient and gas costs. Quickly I munch down my warm pieces. The sweet tooth in me begs for a dessert and within 20 minutes  fudgy brownies are baking in my toaster oven.  It’s a testament to our desire for comfort food that at least 6 fellow volunteers beg me for the recipe on Facebook….and I gladly send it their way.

Welcome help with the outside pila!

Yep, some new flea bites, but oh well…dirty clothes go into a plastic bag to avoid further  infestation until the next wash day…a special plus is a brief call to my beloved daughter to plan her Christmas trip to Guatemala. Then I’m onto planning for my workshop with a women’s group. Topic: entrepreneurial skills. Each will be receiving pigs to raise, so having knowledge about costs and benefits will help ensure their success.  Midnight arrives quickly and it’s time to sink back into my covers….a fulfilling day, from trashy talk to the sweetness of family and brownies!!



  1. Alright, knock off that trash talk, Janet! ;-))

    Another nice write-up. Keep them cards and letters coming!


  2. I’m proud of you, mama. And the kids running up to get their picture taken are freakin’ adorable. Growing up with a mom who captured every minute of my childhood in photos ;), I never realized how precious this is to kids who don’t have any until I went to Senegal. I’ve had street kids jump into my picture of a building just so they can be immortalized in film, even if it’s on some stranger toubab’s camera. te amo

  3. Hi Sweets…yep, your every smile was recorded. The kids here get a big kick out of seeing their photo immediately in the replay…it’s all I can do to hold onto my camera as they all clamor to see their faces on the little screen!

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