Making Local Contacts

Arlaine and I were recently referred to Leonela Martinez (center), the former director of a student organization, AIESEC, and current employee of Guatemala's Habitat for Humanity office. Leonela has whole heartedly embraced our cause and has recently introduced us to AIESEC.

AIESEC is a great organization that provides internship opportunities for students from all over the world -- staffing projects in both the private and public sectors with the intention of developing leadership. They exist to be agents of change. The interns are responsible for thier own transportation to the country where the project exists and they receive a minimum stipend to cover the cost of their living expenses while there.

We met to discuss internship opportunities to design our solar program and begin developing our University Counselor Program. These are programs (among others) which will take center stage alongside of construction. Stay tuned.....

Impressed by an eight year old

A couple of weeks ago, Antigua had a town fair with ferris wheel and amusement park rides. Paige, my housemate, and I were on our way to the fair when we ran into Rebecca, a seven year old girl with whom I often sit in the park.

We asked her if she wanted to go to the fair with us - what child doesn't want to go to a fair? How fun to see the absolute glee on her face as she said yes in one breath and, in the other, asked if she could bring her friend Sandra! Sandra had a brother and Rebecca had a brother and what we thought was going to be one child, turned into four all jumping up and down, clapping, holding hands and hugging our legs (they're short).

We told them they could each choose two rides. We started out on a young person's roller coaster which everyone handled very well. I'm not sure we did the best job of helping them select the second ride. They wanted to go on the above pictured ride and we suggested that it might be too 'rapida' for them, especially for the two little boys aged 5 and 6. The boys agreed that they would instead go on a smaller little ferris wheel but Rebecca and Sandra insisted that this was the ride they wanted.

And so it was. Paige stayed with the two boys and I went on this ride with the girls. Now, I grew up on rides, have always been a fan of amusement parks and have even ridden this ride before BUT the operator had that ride so straight up with absolutely no tilt that even I was uncomfortable.

I looked over at the girls and they were scared to death - eyes wide and staring straight ahead. What I noticed about Sandra though, was that she was relaxing herself by breathing slowly and deliberately through her mouth. I was so impressed. I didn't learn this technique until well into adulthood and that an eight year old girl knew how to calm herself in that way really struck me. Where did she learn that?

The rest of the day was fun. We paused for a drink and surprised them with a final roller coaster ride (Paige had previously bought tickets when we went on it the first time because we naturally assumed that they would be good for all rides in the park but it turned out that the rides were all independently operated and all tickets had to be individually purchased).

And then being the rainy season, just as we were descending the first hill, the rain started and dumped alot of rain in a short period of time all over us. It was a perfect day!

p.s. A few pictures from today in the park

Rebecca, her younger brother Antonio in front (both from the above story) and their amigo Dominic.