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Marjolein in Guatemala
Mothersday and Many More
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Día de la madre y mucho más.....

Yeah I know, I haven´t written in a long time, but believe it or not, I have been pretty busy! But I had many adventures as well lately, so it was about time for a LONG update! So get your drinks and bags of chips out, because here we go!
A little bit back in time, back to Mothersday. In most of the coutries it is celebrated on a Sunday, but here in Guatemala everything is different, and thus here it was on a Saturday. I´ve told you about our friend Marco, who works at a restaurant here in Flores (you can find a picture of him in my story ´Baptism party and more´). Well, he kindof invited his whole family over at our house for mothersday, because he wanted to give his wife a very special day. These people are extremely nice, so we didn´t mind. Unfortnately Marco had to work most of the day, but okay... We had cleaned the house, bought cotton candy, colored pensils, drawings, and lemonade for the kids, and we were all ready for it!

Rodrigo, Guadalupe and Oscar

That Saturday afternoon around 1 o´clock, the whole family knocked on the door. Karla, the mother of only 24 years old, Guadalupe of 5, Rodriguez of 3 and little Oscar of only  1 year and 4 months. Marco had to go to work. The first few minutes the kids were pretty shy. Unfortunately that didn´t last too long! Soon our house was one chaos!!
They hadn´t been here for 15 minutes or the first incident appeard when little Oscar had pooped his pants. Not too bad you would think, but here in Guatemala they don´t really use daipers, so IT was ALL over!! We sent the mom and the kid to the toilet to fix the little problem
But they had´t been gone for 5 minutes, or the next incident appeared. Guadalupe had taken one of our peppermints, and of course it got stuck in her throat!!! Poor thing was already turning red! Sara and I in panic, trying to get the thing out and trying to get the attention of her mom. Luckily it came out pretty quick, together with the rest she had aten this morning! Hmmmm.... And the first thing she said was ´Hey, my hands are dirty!´ Hahaha! These kids don´t realize when to panic!!!
So we had to wash her little hands, and there she discovered something! A fauset with running water and liquid soap!! That´s something she doesn´t have at her house, so for every little thing she wanted to wash her hands! Pretty funny!
In the meanwhile a third incident ALMOST took place, when Rodriguez almost got stuck with his fingers into the ventilator, when trying to put everything loose in our house into the van. So we had to decide to turn the thing off and ´babysit´ in the heat of Petén. And the mother thought everything was just wonderfuk, she had to laugh about it all!
Almost we had a fourth incident as well, when Guadalupe wanted to do her thing in our patio! She was kneeling down, putting up her skirt and putting down her underwear! Luckily Sara understood her ´gestures´ and we made the toilet in time!
When she was done with that, she wanted to know what was behind the other door next to the toilet, and when she saw the most spactacular shower in her life, she wanted to try it out right away! You have to realize that in her house they do not have a shower with running water, but they simply poor water over themselves with a bottle. It was wonderful to see a little girl being SO happy with running water!!! I have never seen this in my entire life! She was jumping, dancing, splashing, waving, screaming, laughing for about 30 minutes!! It was incredible!!!

Guadalupe in the shower!

In the meanwhile all our important or dangerous things had moved to the upper shelve of our closet, and all the rest of the things were spread throughout the entire house!!! IT was amazing the amount of chaos little kids can make!! And little Oscar decided to walk or better drag around with our chairs of plastic, first in the house, second out on the street!! Grrrrrr....... This is our furniture!!!
For the night we had given the family a night in a hotel, so to get out of the house for a while, we decided to go and take their stuff up to the hotel room. Yeah, what were we thinking, giving them a hotel room with a bath tub!! Of course the kids had to try that as well, and I think everyone can imagine how that must have looked like! WET!! TOTALLY WET!!! It was amazing to see how much fun they had!!
Unfortunately that didn´t last for long, when Rodriguez decided he wanted ice-cream, RIGHT away!!! Which of course wasn´t possible!!! Unbelievable how much noise a little kid of 3 years old can produce!!! Incredible!!! It was horrible!!
That night Karla the mom taught us how to make empenada´s, a typical Guatemalan dish, delicious!!! And luckily the kids were pretty tired pretty soon, and the day was over! We closed the door behind them around 9 o´clock, and we were exhausted!!! Well, I did come to some conclusions after that day:
1. We do not have a child friendly house here!
2. I am NOT ready for kids yet!
3. IF I get kids, they are going to be raised VERY strictly!!!
That day after I was very sick from the empenada´s!!! I hadn´t felt that sick in a long time! SO that was kindof a bummer, but it was a mothersday never to forget!!
Besides mothersday, we also went to the caves of Santa Elena the other day, together with a collegue of Alianza Verde, Erick. I had already been there once, with some other students from the Spanish school way in the beginning, but I had never crossed the whole cave, so that was the goal from this saturday morning. Of course we took a guide with us (don´t forget the guide!!!), and flashlights.
The first part was okay. You could actually walk up straight, there was light and there were beautiful natural ´pictures´ made out of stalagtites and stalagmites or whatever they are called. But soon the real work began!!! We had to crawl through a very small hole up a little hill of mudd!! It was climbing, crawling or whatever we did there to get up! It was SOO funny, I have never laughed so much in my life! Of course the guide was up in no time, but it took us forever!!! Up there it was pitch dark, and luckily we had our flashlights, and our guide!!! It was amazing there, a real adventure! We had to crawl through holes not even to be called a hole that small! Just lay down and try to get your body through it!!! It was incredible!!! Sometimes pretty scary, but amazing!!!
We saw a lot of bats as well. After about 1 hour climing, crawling, walking, what so ever, we saw daylight again!! And we saw how we looked, horrible, covered with mudd!!!! But it was an amazing adventure!!!
However, we also had to work of course, although this time it was fun!!! We were invited to come to Antigua together with some people from the organization Propetén. Propetén works together with Ecomaya, and our friend Lucky also works there. I think I already wrote about her once.
Anyways, there was a eco-tourism event down in Antigua. Twenty eco-tourism projects would participate, by presenting their project in a stand, and the ten best projects would win a reward in money. Propetén participated and presented the Eco-escuela in San Andrés, the Spanish school where I studied as well for one week. Lucky wanted to use the ideas of two Dutch girls, so she asked us with! Well, a nice trip to Antigua is something you just can´t let go!

Dalia, Henry, Manuel, me and Lucky

We left Wednesday morning at 10 with the bus, and the rest of the Propetén people would leave that afternoon at 1 with the car of the company. In total we would be with six people: Lucky and Henry from Propetén, Manual the driver, and Doña Dalia, a hostmother from San Andrés, and us two of course. We arrived around 20:30 at our hostel in Antigua, and we were pretty tired, so we decided to hop into bed for a little while However when we wokeup, it was around 23:30 and the rest still hadn´t arrived! We were pretty worried, what if they had gotten into a car accident??? Around 1 o´clock we were too tired, so we decided to get back in bed again. And yeah, of course, we just laid down, and somebody knocked on the door: the Propetén people!!
And the strangest thing was, that the answer on our question what in the world had happened was simply ´nothing´!!! But soons the truth was discovered, and apparently they had left at 4 instead of 1 o´clock!!! Always the same thing with these Guatemalan people, ALWAYS late!!! And they don´t even feel like apologizing!! Well, we had to laugh about it!!!

Sara working in the stand

That Thursday we had to help them setting up the stand, work to do! Doña Dalia was trying to memorize her lines, Lucky was typing out texts for the panels in the stand, Manuel and Henry were dragging on materials, and Sara and I were the handricraft team, putting together all the panels.  We had to make different panels with different colors, texts, headers and pictures. Sounds pretty easy, but I will give you one tip: NEVER work with Guatemalan people!!! They are SOOO unstructured, unbelievable!!! At one point Sara and I were coordinating the whole thing!! And Lucky kept changing this, that and this again. Then she had five panels, then she wanted one more, then she wanted to get rid of two.....aaahhhhh!!! That girl!! And it just wasn´t possible, since we had arranged everything on color!!! At one point we only had like 30 minutes, and we were the only project with an empty stand!! BUT everything turned out fine, and the stand was created and looked beautiful!!!

Lucky left, Dalia right in our stand
Yeah still working very hard!

And I don´t want to brag or something, but without us, they simply wouldn´t have made it!!! There were a few errors, yeah, you can´t control everything, but that was okay. After this, Lucky and Doña Dalia were practising their lines for the jury the next day. They only had 10 minutes to speak, but if you would know Lucky, you would know she would turn those ten minutes into half an hour!!! Oh well, some more practicing that night and it would be perfect!! And finally we could get some food!!!!
Kindof a funny story, but we went out for dinner at a restaurant called Asjemenou!! Yeah, it was owned by Dutch people!! Of course we had to explain what Asjemenou means, so we told everyone the story about the cartoon in between the comercials Loeki de Leeuw (Loeki the Lion) who always has one line to say which is Asjemenou! The whole thing was extremely funny, because Loeki in Dutch and Lucky here in Guatemala are both pronounced the same as Louky!! So yeah, Lucky was kindof proud of that!!! haha!
Another funny thing was that it was Doña Dalias first time in a restaurant, and she didn´t know how to use the menu card! She would just run off to the bathroom when it was time to order! She lives in San Andrés, a little village, everything pretty basic. It was also funny to see how she ate her pizza like it was one huge tortilla!!


Anyways, that night we were exhausted, and we went to bed pretty early. Lucky and Doña Dalia had a five star hotel that night, arranged by the organization of the event. SO that was totally exciting for Dalia! She borrowed my camera to take pictures of it!
That Friday the actual event took place. Jury would walk past the stands, look at the projects etc. Sara and I didn´t have that much to do that day, we checked on everything a few times, and other then that we went shopping in Antigua. That night they would announce the results, who were the ten winning projects!!!! As I said before, 20 projects participated, and 10 would win this reward of 110.000 Quetzales (which is 13.750 Dollar!). We had to meet up in a large salon. The ten winning projects were written on papers and put into a hat, following that ten people had to take one of the papers and call the winning project up front.
Seven projects were called out, and we still weren´t one of them......we were losing hope!
Nine projects were called out, and we still weren´t one of them......we lost our hope.......
But no way, finally, the last one out of randsom check:
That was us!!! Unbelievable!!!! WE were SOO excited!! Doña Dalia ran like a little kid up front, being afraid somebody might took her trofee and cheque! She was all in tears! So yeah, that was extremely exciting!!! We won the money for our project!!! YEAH!!!! So that had to be celebrated with a huge piece of chocolate cake!!! Hmmmm....

The winners with the trofee

That night we had to go to the hospital in Guatemala City. Nope, nothing was wrong with us, but the bis boss of Propetén, Carlos Soza, was pretty sick, and was in this hospital. He had some weird disease that knowbody knew anything about, but it was pretty serious. Apparently he needed blood this night. We left after dinner at 21:00, which I thought was pretty late, but okay, and we arrived at the hospital at 22:30. When we arrived there, Mr. Soza was sleeping and he didnt need the blood anymore! Pretty weird all, but okay! We had gone all that way for nothing!

That Saturday morning Sara and I went shopping in Guate City. And believe it or not, they had a MALL!!! Sounds pretty strange, but it was just very funny to go shopping after 5 months! It was pretty cool!! That afternoon the rest of Propetén went back to Flores again, but Sara and I decided to stay one more night, in order to get some Salsa classes! That was amazing!! We had decided not to leave Guatemala before learning the Salsa! Well, we danced about two and a half hourse with a private teachers! It was exhausting, but we learned many moves!! It was SOOO much fun!! That Sunday we had to take the 8 hour ride back to Flores again, but it was definitely worth the whole trip to Antigua!!!
Also the less exciting news should be mentioned. The boss Carlos Soza, as I mentioned before, was pretty sick. That monday after Antigua it was getting a lot better with him, but when we arrived at the office that wednesday, he was extremely ill, and they were going to disconnect the machines that day. In other words, he was going to die!! That was a big shock!! Everyone was pretty upset and we had NO idea it was that serious! That afternoon at 3 o´clock he died. Later we heard that they had discovered that he had cancer, but only two days before he died...... let him rest in peace!
Anyways, because of the death of Carlos Soza, and the fact that there was a meeting in Guate CIty that Monday again, nobody had the time to go, so Sara and I offered to go. Again the 8 hour ride down to Guate, and we hadn´t been back for a week!! We left that Saturday, so we had the whole Sunday to relax. We stayed in the Guesthouse of Lorena, and it was very fun to meet up with her and Luna again!!!

Luna, me, Lorena, Sara and Angela

And that Sunday we went to the movie theater for the first time in five months!! That was pretty fun! We saw some girlie movie with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock! It was amazing! Yeah, in Petén there are no cinemas, that´s why!!
That monday we had the meeting, and it was very interesting! A lot of information, because a standard meeting here in Guate lasts at least one entire day! Can you imagine!!! But I have to say that I learned a lot more Spanish since the last meeting I had! I understood everything!!!! Pretty amazing!!! And that Tuesday we had to get back to Flores again!
By the way, the raining season here has started. Unfortunately it is still extremely hot, which is annoying me right now, but it also rains once in a while. And when it rains, it rains A LOT!! Our gutter was clogged up with leaves we found out, and the result was that we had 2 cm of water in our kitchen!! Our own private swimmingpool!!!
Anyways, that was about it for now. I hope to hear from you soon, and only a few more weeks and I am home again! Time flies!! And for the ones who have been asking, July 20th is THE day that I arrive in Holland again!
LOTS of LOVE from Guatemala!!!