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!