July 2012- Guatemala Day 3

The previous night we arrived in the village of Chuiqatama and were warmly welcomed by the villagers. Lupe had brought us to the one room house that we would be staying in for the following three nights. It had four sets of bunk beds and two single beds on the ground. Somehow both Nancy and her daughter got the single beds. I slept in a bunk above Kayla. I proved to have gotten the best night sleep that first night. Neither the barking dogs nor the bawking chickens kept me awake. I did however wake up towards morning miserable because of how cold my head was. It felt as if I had been stuck in a freezer. I eventually buried my head down far into my sleeping bag. This did not seem to help defrost my head so I got out of bed and got dressed. The morning was peaceful. The women cooking for us were in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Lupe had introduced us to them the previous night. They seemed so happy to see us. Caty, a girl Kayla’s age, was acting as a translator from K’iche’ (their local language) to Spanish. Before breakfast Kayla and I went on a walk to find a friend that Kayla had met last time she was in the village. Her name was Isabelle, and when we found her she was wearing a headscarf covering an obviously bald head. This made for a sad and awkward reunion. Isabelle had (possibly ovarian) cancer and had been going to Xela to receive chemotherapy. I was surprised that they even had access to travel and receive the treatment. After just a mere three minutes with the 15 year old Isabelle we returned to the kitchen. We walked from the village we stay in to the village we worked in. This village, Chikix, was about 20 minutes away from Chuiqatama. The walk was peaceful, but I knew that by the end of the day the walk would seem eternal.

Lupe demonstrated how to build the stoves. I was anxious to get building which was irritating Kayla. We picked the third family which consisted of two daughters, one 17 and one 21. Luckily they had already cleared out an area for us to build the stove outside. The family was planning on building a house for their oldest daughter. I won’t test your boredom and go through the whole building process but I will say it wasn’t easy. I was especially irritated with Kayla because she seemed to know less than me and this was her third time in Guatemala. Despite our challenges, we finished our first stove with time to spare (much attributed to the mason’s help, Manuel.)

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