What started as a blog site to keep our fellow Rotarians up to date has grown to 50 followers and many more viewers. To date we have had 9137 views and 77 comments. Thank you for your interest. We are pleased to bring you the stories of how the contributions from Chemainiacs were used. Some very touching stories.
I have been asked how you can get to the older blog posts. You do this by clicking on the tab way down at the bottom of the page “Older Posts”. This will take you to more posts and then you may have to do it again to go to even older posts.
At the top of any page you will find tabs for other pages and picture pages . We will be adding to some of these picture pages over the next few weeks.
Thanks again for your interest and support.
The unused school building
One of the better buildings in San Antonio is a school built into the hillside by the municipality. Unfortunately the building sits empty while students go to school in tiny hot rooms in the church basement. The reason; the school building has been declared unsafe because in the wet season it could be suddenly washed away in a rock slide.
One of the classrooms in the church basement about the size of a single car garage.
So what has all this got to do with Jorge? I’ll get to that in a minute, but first take a look at the rocks that tumbled through this house during a past wet season. The danger to many of the poor who must live high on the mountain is real.
Who knows what happened to inhabitants of this house.
One of many destroyed homes.
Well, you see, when Jorge was small his parents died and his siblings died in one of the slides. At 17 his only relative is his disabled grandmother and he is on his own learning to do construction with our contractors. That is where we met him. A hard working eager young man proud to wear one of our Rotary shirts.
Jorge ready for the work day.
When you are junior on the construction crew you start at the bottom. In this case the latrine we built for a happy family.
But this is not the end of the story. March 5 was a very special day for Jorge. This was the day he was to be baptised in the Catholic church and Joan, Shelley and Ellen went along to watch the ceremony. As events unfolded Jorge asked Ellen if she would be his Godmother and Ellen accepted.
A very proud and happy Jorge and a very surprised and pleased Ellen.
Jorge now has a “mom”. A nice touch.
Having seen the conditions in San Antonio , Guatemala, I was made to ponder not so much their under-regulation as our over-regulation. Recent stories of overzealous bureaucrats in our area cracking the whip for trivial violations of code seem laughable when you visit the “Real World”. The expression “Tail wagging the dog” comes to mind. I am sure there are terrible accidents in Guatemala but just because one child gets injured with a toy does not mean they would ban that toy. Just like everything else in the world moderation is best. Following are examples of under regulation that do make one wince a bit.
Don’t want your 11-year-old to carry a pocket knife. How about a machete.
This fellow has a hard hat. That should protect him.
Hand railings optional.
Vehicle emission standards yet to be made.
Fire permits? I don’t think so.
I am sure these buildings have engineered footings.
Helmets? Anything else.
Could probably get a few more passengers on board.
Put you doggy doo in a little blue bag.
No bag? How about the bottom of your shoe.
One life jacket per person. Ya, right.
Be sure to cross at the cross walk.
The binder twine assembly method.
Multi function lamp cord.
Always use cribbing when digging an outhouse hole. Right Butch?
CSA approved? Used to change very cold water to not as cold water.
No access to construction site without steel toed safety boots.
It is know Guatemala has a major problem with illegal drug trade with the majority of this activity along the Mexican border. While we spent our time in central and southern regions we did notice a significant police presence. The PNC or National Civil Police were evident everywhere and usually armed with rifles. They seemed to be stopping commercial vehicles along the roads for what reason I am not sure. Our van was stopped just outside Guatemala City but I did not think it appropriate to take pictures ( I was scared sh……less) Near Guatemala city most fast food outlets, gas stations and other businesses had armed guards. Most banks throughout the country had armed guards. In Antigua, which is a popular tourist local, they have special tourist police which is nice but we did not see many of them. I am not sure of the function for other military attired individuals with assault rifles we saw frequently during our travels.
I am told the military is still viewed with a little scepticism since the the country’s brutal 1960-1996 civil war, in which violence against the rural, largely indigenous population reached the level of genocide. The military at this time was supported by the American government under Ronald Reagan. If you want to learn more about this search out the one hour documentary “ The Man We Called Juan Carlos” by Victoria film company Asterisk Productions. Co- producers and writers, David Springbett and Heather McAndrews have a personal connection to this story. Visit www.asterisk.bc.ca
The armed guard who greeted us at the entrance to a the Copan Ruins was a nice touch.
Guard at the Copan Ruins
Gas station guard.
Road side activity
Private business guard
Must be a boring job.
Typical bank guard
This guy took security into his own hands. Hope he remembers to unlock before driving away. Not so sure that spare in worth stealing.
Policing the streets of Antigua.
We had about six hours to kill in the San Francisco airport so I created a new page called “Tales and Images of Antigua”.
Check it out by clicking on the tab at top of any page. There are a lot of images so the first time you view you may have to wait for them to load.
This blog is coming to you from a rather nice family owned hotel in a gated community in Guatemala. Out side the gates it is advised not to walk at night. Throughout Guatemala we noticed a considerable police presence. Police in pick up trucks with rifles, soldiers in full battle dress with machine guns, armed security guards in fast food restaurants or business parking lots, armed guards outside most banks. We have a few images to show you but I thought I would wait until we are out of the country. You know, something for you to look forward to. We are off to the airport tomorrow at 4 a.m. on the way home after a most incredible adventure. Adios amigos!
The generosity of Bruce Ovans of Duncan Minor Soccer left several boys or families with their eyes popping out. A dozen used balls donated by Duncan were handed out by Butch in San Antonio. One was given to the school and the others to individuals.
One day when we were giving out beds several of the poorest street “urchins” gathered to carry beds for a few coins. One old lady had no money at all and Butch asked the boys if any of them would help carry her bed at no cost. Only one offered his free help. When we located this boy later with his friends Butch explained how it is good to help old people and presented him with the last ball. The pictures tell the story.
Butch asks, ” Who would like a soccer ball?”
Explaining how this boy helped without asking for coins.
Surprised buy gets his ball.
I saw this fellow several times later. He carried the ball on his back under his shirt.
Shelley, Art, Daphne, Tom, Jacqueline and David were the eager beavers who got up at 5 a.m. for the Howler Monkey Kayak tour. The first half hour was a hard paddle across the river into the rising sun. As it became light we could start to hear the monkeys with their dog like growl. As we ventured up a narrowing stream the sound became louder and more varied but we could still not see the monkeys. As the stream narrowed deeper into the jungle we spotted them high in the trees. Finally we were able to see a mother and her two babies. Mom not moving much but babies playing. With no telephoto it was difficult to get a picture but if you look close you will see baby playing above mother.All in all an excellent adventure. A howling success. A magic time we will all remember forever.
The rising sun over the Rio Dulce.
Listening to the Howler monkeys. For once there was something louder than Shelley.
Jungle noises. Magic time.
Mother and babies.
For some reason this bird let us get very close.
Return across the lake to morning sky.
Back seat driver!