San Antonio-our home for next two weeks

Busin It

Kathleen is helping local residents who require help with securing and following directions with their medications.

Ken has built numerous beds and continues with the production line with the help from some of the local women and children.
Tom is helping construct a new home for a widow Francisca and her son Freddy.  To purchase material, he travelled with Julian to the store via local public transit. One mode involved a “chicken bus” which is a converted school bus built by Blue Bird, a Canadian company.
They roar up and down the local roads belching black smoke with a conductor taking fares from passengers jumping on and off while the bus is in motion. It all seems to work in a chaotic way.
Another satisfying but tiring day culminated with a beautiful sunset viewed from the terrace of our hotel.
Hosta manana
Basic transportation.

Basic transportation.

Made in Canada, you say.

Made in Canada, you say.

Define a house?

Define a house?

Days end

Days end

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LATE BREAKING NEWS– Fifty Beds Completed and Delivered

On Friday afternoon we completed our 50 bed objective. We celebrated with the driving of the last spike at  the women’s center. The last bed was delivered to Herman, a touching story you will read about later. I am behind because we lost the internet yesterday so stay tuned.  Today everybody  but Butch jumped into two Tuk-Tuks and headed for Panajachel. “What a blast”.  We bartered our little hearts out and always ended up spending more than we should have.Many laughs, mucho cerveza.

Special thanks to Joan’s granddaughter  Pyka who is following our blog and told her grandmother to give the ten dollars she got for Valentines Day to the poor children and she will repay her when she gets back.  Thank you Pyka.

This man would have been hired to haul the last be up the mountain maybe getting equivalent of  about$0.50. The beds were very havey because the wood wsa still wet. The mans hands were huriting  so I gave him my work gloves. A fitting end to a great project.

This man would have been hired to haul the last bed up the mountain, maybe getting equivalent of about$0.50. The beds were very heavy because the wood was  still wet. The mans hands were hurting so I gave him my work gloves. A fitting  end to a great project.

I tried to get ahead to take another picture of this fellow but I could not keep up.

I tried to get ahead to take another picture of this fellow but I could not keep up.

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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.

_MG_2841_MG_2847_MG_3070_MG_2934_MG_2946_MG_2875_MG_2881_MG_2878_MG_2888

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

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.

IMG_9191IMG_9233 IMG_9199 IMG_9158 IMG_9106 IMG_9102 IMG_9100 IMG_9097 IMG_9095 IMG_9062 IMG_9061 IMG_9060 IMG_9041 IMG_9024 _MG_2700_1 _MG_2683 _MG_2664_1 _MG_2600_1 _MG_2536 _MG_2526 _MG_2507 _MG_2492 _MG_2478 _MG_2476 _MG_2472 _MG_2468 _MG_2330_1 _MG_2323 _MG_2261 _MG_2238 _MG_2227 _MG_2226_MG_1990

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

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