Monthly Archives: February 2014

NEW IMAGE PAGE ADDED

Good morning friends. I have added a new page to our blog with images of more interest. Click on the tab on upper right. You might like to check this page from time to time as I will add more images.

Would you like to buy anything from our ladies in the co-ops. Most of you know how beautiful the weaving is. Scarves, table runners, purses. I will post some pictures later so you can browse. Send message to art@carlyleart.ca if you would like more information.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Camas (bed) Project

One of the main projects we came to Guatemala to do is making beds for people who were sleeping on the dirt floors. A huge thank you goes to Graham Calder from Nanaimo who proceeded us and created the design and templates for us to accomplish our goal.  Graham found a ex Canadian who lives in San Antonio Palopo with a complete wood working shop. Thomas was most gracious in letting us use his shop and helping us cut the wood required for the beds. This was a difficult job because the wood used was a tree the day before. Graham and Thomas with help from David pre-cut 30 beds for us to assemble.  Butch from our group and Thomas continued where Graham left off and are continuing to cut wood for our planned 50 beds, some single , some double. While Butch cut wood Art and Len assembled the kits already made.  A truck was rented to bring the beds to the Casita Women’s  Centre . After a hard day’s work the thought of carrying the truckload of wood up the stairs was daunting.  As we started unloading six small boys appeared out of thin air and started to haul the beds up the stone steps in bare feet. Where we were carrying one board at a time the small boys carried two or three. Finally we just let them do it!  With smiles on their faces the boys were excited to get the one quetzale coins we gave them. ( About $0.15 )

The word went out through the unknown network and the next day las  mujers ( the  women) were lined up to get their beds. The rules were they had to arrange to get the beds to their house by themselves or by hiring help. Most carried the bed slats on their heads and got help with the frames. Art and Len were surprised and pleased to get a big hug from the tiny ladies. You cannot begin to imagine how much the beds mean to these families.  Art and Daphne were able to follow some beds home to capture the reaction of these people. The pictures speak for themselves.

without the help of Thomas our bed project would have been very difficult,

Without the help of Thomas our bed project would have been very difficult,

avid , Thomas and Butch get assembly line going.

David , Thomas and Butch get assembly line going.

Butch kept the chop saw hot.

Butch kept the chop saw hot.

Five young fellow who carried wood up the stairs.

Five young fellows who carried wood up the stairs.

_MG_2774Len mans the drill.Len mans the drill.

Art chops of leg, then 3 more legs were too long so he chops of three legs leaving first one short and so on, and so on....

Art chops off leg, then 3 more legs were too long so he chops of three legs leaving first one short and so on, and so on….

Jacqueline gets the women organized.
Jacqueline gets the women organized.

Len get unexpected hug from grateful  customer.

Len get unexpected hug from grateful customer.

Tiny but resilient happy lady and surprised Art.

Tiny but resilient happy lady and surprised Art.

Gracias.

Gracias.

Have baby. No problem.

Have baby. No problem.

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This family will now have two beds for the six of them. Two were at school at deliver.

This family will now have two beds for the six of them. Two were at school at delivery.

Art provided family with a 4x6 glossy print from portable printer shown here.

Art provided family with a 4×6 glossy print from portable printer shown here.

Kids could not wait to try out bed.

Kids could not wait to try out bed.

No more sleeping on dirt floor for mother and daughter.

No more sleeping on dirt floor for mother and daughter.

Categories: San Antonio-our home for next two weeks | 1 Comment

The Lamina Project

Part of our Rotary funds are gong to buy lamina. You might know this as corrugated steel but here it is very thin. There is a great need for this material to redo leaky roofs. Because we can only provide so much material the girls of the Casita Women’s Center had prepared a list of the most needy.  A family might get one , two or three sheets even though they really need more. The lamina was brought to a storage yard and the next morning the call went out through I am not sure what communications network and the women showed up to get their allotment. Shelley, Colleen, Ellen and Daphne joined the chaos to make sure everyone got their share.  The sheets are not too heavy but when you have three of them they are.  It was quite a site to see the women with sheets of lamia on their heads heading up the mountain.  Our Rotary team will go to some of the homes to help with the installation.

Sheets of lamina start their journey up the mountain.

Sheets of lamina start their journey up the mountain.IMG_9522 IMG_9486 IMG_9474 IMG_9466 IMG_9460 IMG_9454 IMG_9451 IMG_9450 IMG_9433 IMG_9428 IMG_9425 IMG_9422 _MG_2713

Some very happy women thanks to your donations to our project.

Some very happy women thanks to your donations to our project.

Categories: San Antonio-our home for next two weeks, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Assessment Day – A Whole New Meaning to House and Home

On Monday we were divided into three groups to visit the homes of the people we would be helping. Each group had one of the young women Mayan guides and someone who could speak Spanish.  The Mayan guides could interpret Kaqchikel into Spanish but they do not speak English. Kaqchikel is one of over 30 Mayan dialects.  Joan and Butch and our guide Jacqueline were able to interpret the Spanish.  Speaking Spanish is relatively new to the Mayans and the older people do all speak it.

Our Mayan guides took each of our groups on a demanding tour through a maze of streets and alley ways working our way up the steep mountain slope on stone ramps, stone steps or just rocky slopes. In all our Rotary group will be helping 80 families.

Tom and Shelley were in the group going to the very top of town and witnessed the most needy. Their first task was to determine the materials necessary to fix a decrepit home where a family of  seven live under a tin roof  that is too low to stand up in.  Two of the five  children are special needs, a 20-year-old boy who does not talk and a hyperactive 4-year-old.  As you will see in later blogs Tom and Shelley with the help of two local contractors were able to raise the roof three feet and put on new lamina ( a thin corrugated steel ) on the roof.  When Tom and Shelley first visited the home the 4 year who is in a constant state of  “fidgit” was playing with a dead baby chicken pulling its feathers out. When we were finished Daphne captured the look on the little girl’s face when she received a special tactile toy that Colleen brought for just such a child.

Another small tin “house” was home to a widow and her three children, a mentally challenged  14-year-old boy and two younger sisters. The boy who goes for days without sleeping  and bangs on the tin walls all night  is looked after by his younger sister while their widowed mother works. The boy is starting to harm his sister and our group will be building new quarters for the boy to try to keep his sister safe.

At the end of the day all of us had stories of extreme poverty.  In general we witnessed widowed women with several children living in makeshift homes of tin, rock or clay, who sleep on the hard packed dirt floors.  There might be one or two rooms,a wood burning stove and not much else.  Fifty of these places have been assessed as especially needy and will receive one of the beds made by our Rotary Team. ( PS At the time of writing this blog we have already delivered many beds and were on hand to see some very happy children try them out. )

Tomorrow you will see how your generous donations to our team project have helped change lives – theirs and ours

We will show you this house later with new beds.

We will show you this house later with new beds.

Joan has done a marvelous job of translating for our team.

Joan has done a marvelous job of translating for our team.

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Old and new efficient stove. Well will have to connect chimney.

Old and new efficient stove. We will have to connect chimney.

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Shelley and Tom lift roofing to modified home. When we get back ask Shelley about her close call with a flying machete.

Shelley and Tom lift roofing to modified home. When we get back ask Shelley about her close call with a flying machete.

Daphne and Colleen take notes.

Daphne and Colleen take notes.

Does binder twine pass code?

Does binder twine pass code?

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Joan gets a hug and request to have picture. Tomorrow this lady will have a bed.

Joan gets a hug and request to have picture. Tomorrow this lady will have a bed.

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Typical small garden.

Typical small garden.

The higher you go the steeper it gets. Hang on Daphne!

The higher you go the steeper it gets. Hang on Daphne!

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Butch on the inspection run,

Butch on the inspection run,

Two storey fixer upper. Ocean view.

Two storey fixer upper. Ocean view.

The higher up we went the more timid people became.

The higher up we went the more timid people became.

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A little humiliating to be passed by a little man carrying 50 kg sack of corn.

A little humiliating to be passed by a little man carrying 50 kg sack of corn.

Not a house but a HOME

Not a house but a HOME

Colleen is a "softie" for the small children

Colleen is a “softie” for the small children

Art falls behind and loses way again after stopping to take picture.

Art falls behind and loses way again after stopping to take picture.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

San Antonio Palopo City of Contrasts

Stepping out of the van Sunday night we were all struck by the amazing beauty of this place. We wallowed in the warm air, looked up the mountain at the unusual structures and watched the colorful people. The busy day was topped of with cool drinks and fine food then a stunning sunset over the lake. Monday morning we took in more of the beauty from our hotel deck then walked down town to meet our local Guatemalan project guides, all colorfully dressed remarkable young women. In the afternoon we divided into groups to visit the people we came to help.  This is when the contrasts started to set in.  We met colorful happy people and extremely sad people, busy entrepreneurs and people who have absolutely nothing. As the day progressed we all began to discover what wonderful , caring  and hard working people live here. We each also had stories at the end of the day that made us want to get to work to see what we could do.

In this blog I will show you some images that show the charm and beauty of this small city.  The next blog will not be as happy, as I will show you some of the very sad situations people are living in.

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Categories: San Antonio-our home for next two weeks | 5 Comments

The Road to San Antonio Palopo

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Arriving just before sunset at Lake Atitlan we were treated to a reception by Jacqueline and David. The next post will show you some of the beauty of this amazing place.

Feb 23,2014  Here are some images that will give you a glimpse of what you might see along the road from Guatemala City to San Antonio Palopo. Not great photography because they were all shot from the side window of the moving van but you get the idea.  Because it was Sunday there were lots of families on the road waiting for the small run about scooters, the colorful school type buses or the small pick up trucks called Tuks.  There  were many special events and markets. In Guatemala we were told it could be a dangerous place and some areas did look like you would not want to visit any time of day or night.  Notice the image of policemen with automatic rifles.  As we got further from  City it was more about families enjoying the beautiful 74 degree Fahrenheit day.0223_00280223_0032 0223_0081 0223_0097 0223_0112 0223_0147 0223_0154 0223_0180 0223_0202 0223_0244 0223_0252 0223_0279 0223_0287 0223_0293 0223_0301 0223_0320 0223_0341

Categories: On the way to San Anotonio Palopo | 3 Comments

Travel Trials and Tribulations

We are finally in Guatemala after an overnight in Houston. I won’t dwell on the details because we have lots of interesting stories and pictures to share. Got to Houston just after midnight and picked up our accommodation and taxi vouchers from United Airlines.  It was difficult to get to our hotel because none of the taxis wanted to accept the vouchers. Shelley put the pressure on and a young cabby took us to the hotel ( Super 8..sort of a hotel ) arriving about 1 a.m.  Tipped the cabby and went in to find they only had two rooms.  Nine Rotarians shared two rooms then back to the airport at 6:30 a.m.  just in time to watch  Canada win the hockey Gold in the restaurant.  Lots of Canada fans in Houston  as you could hear the cheers ripple through the airport.

PS Colleen never did find her boarding pass but was able to go across the airport and get another and be back to the loading gate with well over six minutes to spare.  Luckily when she lost it again the next day a frantic search in security turned it up.

Landed in Guatemala at noon and were picked up by David with driver and van.  Twelve people nine sets of luggage and three extra large suitcases  with supplies ( one of which broke open at the Victoria airport) and we were off for the three hour drive to San Antonio at Lake Atitlan.

Overcrowded vehicles, no set belts, NO problem, as you will see.

Overcrowded vehicles, no seat belts, NO problem, as you will see.

McDonalds parking lot with guards on duty. Nice touch.
Heading for McDonalds parking lot with guards on duty. Nice touch.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

We Are On Our Way

It has been a very busy last few weeks and it feels great to be on our way. Joan’s dream has become a reality and a big thanks goes to every one who is following and helped with the project. Enjoy the ride!

Plans have changed already as our flight to Houston was delayed and we will have to spend a night in Houston and fly out tomorrow for Guatemala. Picture shows the chaos at Victoria Airport as flights are changed.

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We are now in the San Francisco Airport watching Colleen try to find her boarding pass.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Rotary Team Picture.

Last night was the last chance we will all be together before our February 22 departure. The occasion was marked with a group photo by Art with our team shirts.  During the meeting we were able to talk on the phone with  the Rotarians already in Guatemala.  The materials are in place for us to made and install 30 or more beds. You may like to check out Graham’s blog ,  http://grahamandvickiguate.wordpress.com,  to learn about  some of the difficulties working in the villages.

Rotary-Group group-photo

Categories: Before The Trip | 5 Comments

Donate Your Old Eye Glasses

Our rotary Guatemala group has been meeting every week and now there are only two weeks left to have all our ducks in a row. Lots of details like how and what money to take, how big and how many bags etc.  We have decided to take as many pairs of  old reading  glasses  as we can gather ( or any eye glasses).

If you have any Old Eye Glasses to donate send us a message and we will arrange to pick them up.

Graham Calder who is now in Guatemala  has send the following pictures showing us the lumber we will have access to and one on the “houses” in great need of repair.  Apparently this is home to a women and her two daughters and five grandchildren.  It will be our job to fix  leaky roofs and make beds in many homes like this.

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The lumber is green and rough but should be fine to make the much needed beds.

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It is difficult to imagine people living in such conditions. We hope we can make a difference.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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