Where the car died...
Well, it’s been a busy week. I arrived safely in Guatemala on Monday 2/16 and by Wednesday was on my way with Arlaine (Ninos del Lago founder) to our camp site outside of Panajachel. I was going to meet the owner of a house I wanted to rent here in Antigua and also to work on a project to clear brush from the land where the camp is being built. And by the way, I wasn’t fully adjusted to the altitude and was just plain tired!
We had a little trouble getting there. Arlaine had recently purchased what turned out to be a pretty unreliable car and it died in Los Encuentros about a half hour outside of Panajachel. But as is often the case with difficult situations, there were bright moments and bright people.
You should have seen this car. When I first got in and attempted to put the seat back a little, it fell off the track and went tumbling back with me in it. I ended up riding in the backseat while Arlaine chauffeured me in the front seat with the passenger seat leaning up against the dashboard. It was a funny sight and we looked pretty ridiculous.
When we arrived at a backup in Los Encuentros, Arlaine turned off the engine because the waits are often 30 minutes. Big Mistake! The car wouldn’t start back up when the traffic began to move. I got out of the car and approached someone for help with my very rusty Spanish and he looked at me and just shook his head no. Everyone in the area looked at us like we were crazy and stared at my very white legs (I'm always on the pale side but my legs are always pale no matter how brown the rest of me gets).
Luckily we met a very special person in the Texaco station just up the hill. The employees were trying to turn Arlaine away but when the manager came out, everything changed. He and one of his employees looked at the car, determined the battery needed to come out for a full charging at a friend's shop and left with the battery while Arlaine and I waited by the car. After some additional trouble with the contact, they were able to get it started.
We were so happy to be on our way again. Here's the bright spot: the manager wouldn’t accept money for the help that he provided. He suggested Arlaine could give some money to his worker but insisted that it hadn’t cost him anything (we did see him hand some money to the man who charged the battery so we don’t really believe this). His words to Arlaine: what’s good for you is good for me’.
There’s more to come about our land clearing project and I’ll share that as soon as I have the pictures. Until then, take care and remember ‘what’s good for others is good for you’. Hasta Pronto!
I’ve stepped away from writing in order to take care of the logistics of my move and while it’s been a very hectic two months, it has all progressed to the point of my departure. It’s here.
What a journey! I’ve rented my condo, moved my furniture, set up this blog, said good bye to close friends and just drove from Chicago to Pennsylvania to drop off my car for my little sister to use while I’m away. I spent the night at a Comfort Inn in Barkeysville, PA (never been there before so don’t ask) and thought about how my room is a palace as far as accommodations go for many Guatemalans.
While I’m so glad to have the hard tasks of rearranging my life behind me and am excited to be a part of something that I know is going to have a positive impact on some children who need an introduction into a different world, I feel really sad. Sad to walk away from people I love and sad to know that I will miss sharing experiences with them.
So this is the time to say thank you to all of you who have supported me these past couple of months and helped me to make this transition: my mother, the very first donor to KrisforKids (of course, I know, but still much appreciated); VISANOW, my former employer and first Corporate Sponsor who supported me and made it easy for me to transition out of the company and into an exciting new direction; my friends who are storing many of my belongings while I’m away; my family for just being my family and lastly, Carl for selflessly supporting me during this transition.
I’m back in my hometown now doing some final visiting with my parents and brothers and sisters and some non-Chicago friends. I fly to Guatemala on the 16th of this month. I’ll see you then. In the meantime, take care and stay tuned for Round Two and when the real work begins!!