Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 3 drawing to a close

I am transferring some of the posts from my old blog to this blog. If you get e-mail blog updates, realize that you might be getting a lot of e-mails in the next few days about REALLY old things. They should be pretty obvious.

I hope none of you were starting to get too worried about me! We have just had a little trouble with computer, the internet, and power the last couple days...none at once, but enough of each that has made internet time impossible. Since I have gone so long without an update, I am just going to lump a lot in here. We will start dividing things up once I have internet on the laptop that I get to use.

So, my flight on Tuesday was pretty uneventful. My plane out of Detroit Metro was delayed by a little bit because our plane was not yet there. It was coming in from somewhere in California. And while my personal item fit under the seat once we got our plane, it was a pain trying to wrestle it to the floor between my seat and the back of the seat ahead of me. I learned quickly, though, because Spirit charges for carry-ons and therefore, they let people with carry-ons board first. This meant that once those of us with carry-ons had stowed them up above, the remaining space above was available to anyone who wanted it, and I was just as entitled to it as they were. So, I stowed both my carry-on and personal least on the second flight. I was given a window seat which I usually do not like just because I usually have something under the seat in front of me and can not stretch my legs. However, on the second flight, it was not bad at all since they were both above. I took lots of pictures of clouds from above and, I think, I have a couple pictures of Mexico as well. I had hoped to snap a few of Cuba, but I was on the wrong side of the plane...if we even flew anywhere near it.

I had the easiest time ever going through border patrol. They did not even LOOK at my customs form. I could have declared and carried in weapons of mass destruction for as much of a glance as they gave that form. I am not complaining, but I was expecting trouble. (And, no, the biggest weapon I brought into their country was my common cold.) Once I got outside, I was left waiting to be picked up. Unfortunately, I did not really expect it to happen the way it did. I had a guy come up and ask me for my number. (Un?)Fortunately, I did not understand at first that he wanted MY number. I thought he was being nice and offering to help me call the people who I was waiting for. Since I had left that at home (Go me!), I told him 'No sè' (I don´t know). But when I thought about it later, yes, he was trying to get my telephone number. I do not know that either, but I could have pulled out Christina´s phone and showed him the number, I suppose. Anyway, Estuardo and four of the middle-age boys (ages 8 to 12, I think) showed up before too long and rescued me. This would be more of a blow to the guy in the US than in Guatemala, but a guy coming up to the girl who you just asked for her number, kissing her on the cheek and then having four young boys each eagerly give her a hug would put a damper on one´s day, I suppose. (Here in Guatemala, it is common to greet women you know--or for a woman to greet a man she knows--with a kiss on the cheek. It is also completely acceptable for two women who are strangers meeting each other for the first time to exchange kisses on the cheek as well.) Anyway, we went back to the Hogar, and I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up for dinner, took a shower, and then went back to sleep for a 9-hour night.

I actually did not take any pictures on Wednesday, and I do not entirely recall what happened that day. (This is a big reason why I journal.) I do know that we took four of the boys out to run errands. We had to pick up our lunch from some woman who works with the American embassy here. She and her children all look Guatemalan, but she--and the boys who I did not realize spoke English until we were leaving--all speak the most wonderful, unaccented English I have ever heard down here. I will be seeing her at least once a month, and I am secretly looking forward to it. Afterward, we had to get something paid for or something which I did not quite understand, but Estuardo´s daughter and I were left to watch the four boys. Then he bought us all ice cream at a little McDonalds stand. After all of that, we hurried home since it was nearing 2 pm, and no one else had eaten anything yet. (At least we had our ice cream!) In the afternoon, we worked on cleaning the store on the compound, but no one was really following anyone else´s clear direction of the best way to do anything. As a result, I finally decided to leave bashing my head on the wall for someone who at least could fluently speak Spanish. I applied some more Vapo-rub and laid down for a bit as I was still feeling pretty sick. When I went back out later, things were much better and, surprisingly, the boys were following the system I had set up. It made me feel a little better about the odds of this all working out.

As for today, it was a busy day with a lot of work. They are working hard to clean out my living space. My room is completely cleaned out. In fact, Christian Josue (a.k.a. Colocho) and I started painting today. My shower is completely cleaned out. My toilet area is completely cleaned out. So, now we are just working on a path to my room. We also have some other stuff in other areas to clean up and out, but that will all come in time. A large part of my morning dealt with putting toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss in a large plastic tub to store until the boys need a re-stock of it. Granted, I had to sort it all within this tub by type. It was a 10-gallon tub and it is full. If you feel called to come on a trip sometime and bring donations, bring toothpaste, not toothbrushes. (I can not say that I have ever seen any of them floss, but they brush 3 to 4 times per day and most of them do not yet have their adult it is not the end of the world, I guess.)
I actually would have updated sooner, but the power was out here today for about 8 hours.
After that, I helped sort a new batch of donations which came in sometime this week. I guess I was somewhat useful since I can read the English labels much faster than anyone else and just tell people what the item is rather than have them find someone who can figure it out word for word and then try to figure out what exactly it is supposed to be and not just what it says. (This goes back to my mother and I. If she wants to say something, she will make sure she has every word and all of the grammar perfectly translated. If I want to say something, I just make sure I get the point accross. Today, one of the items was something to deal with the pain of diaper rash. I told them it was cream for pain of the diapers...they figured it out from there.)

By the way, that is the word I learned yesterday: diaper. I had one of the youngest boys sitting on my lap and I noticed that one of the legs of his pants was wet. My nose was still too clogged to really be of help, but it looked suspicious. So, I took him to the teacher and told her 'I think he needed to use the bathroom.' She told me that he was still using diapers. (The youngest is 22 months. I am not sure if that was this one or not.) She emphasized the word like it was important. So, I repeated it slowly. She nodded at me and repeated it. So, I came back to my room and looked it up in the dictionary. I can not use this keyboard for the life of me (it is an American keyboard set to type as an international one). So, you will all have to wait until I get the laptop I was issued up and running with the internet before I go teaching you new words in Spanish...especially ones with funny letters in them.

Anyway, our dinner tonight was almost by candlelight. We had the medianos and the grandes (the two older groups of boys) eat at the same time as the peques (the youngest group) just so that no one would be eating in complete darkness due to the power outage. Due to the mountains, the sun does not really just sort of vanishes, taking all the light with it. When I got back to my room, I turned on Christina´s cell phone--which I have not yet put minutes on--and put on the radio. That gave me a sense to work with. I set my flashlight down next to it (off) and proceeded to change for bed. At any rate, I made the music my sense of location. If I wanted to put anything where I would find it again, I put it by the cell phone. And just as I was about to go to sleep and was making one last sweep with the flashlight to make sure I had everything set for a very early bedtime, the power came back on. So, I replied to e-mails, posted a bit on Facebook, and updated here. However, now it is most certainly time for bed.

Hopefully there will be a less lengthy update next time. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, I am feeling much better. I do have a pretty ragged cough yet and blow my nose a couple times per day, but otherwise I am about back together.

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