July 23 - August 6, 2013

El dia dos

We awoke bright and early to hot pancakes, hot coffee, and jammin’ juice. We slugged our groggy bodies into the vans and soon found ourselves at the Guatemala City Cemetery. Andrea managed to perfectly summarize the local wealth gap by showing us two adjacent memorials. One was a two story high Egyptian themed tomb, modestly adorned with life-sized guards of stone. It housed the corpses of the Castillos, one of Guatemala’s notoriously wealthy families –owners of Gallo Cerveza™ and other aristocratic ventures ­– who apparently thought themselves equal to King Ramses II. It completely overshadowed the crumbling burial “apartments” at its side. The sight deserved its place in National Geographic.

Then came the dump. A chasm with hundred-meter walls, topped with a blackened ceiling of vultures, suffocating under half a century of Guatemala City’s trash. Andrea went in depth explaining the infrastructure of the dump generational family feuds, selling of recyclables, sludge drainage, and the flow of trash into the dump’s “Mine.” We stayed a while to soak up the horror and disparity. Dylan found a Gallo Cerveza™ hat on the rim of the dump- a rare kind of irony that could’ve jerked tears.

Andrea then brought us to the Safe Passage pre-school on the outskirts of the dump. We joined the kids for recess, where they playfully grabbed our hands and either guided us to a game of futbol, or hopped on for a piggyback. Soon the field was flooded with the hysterical hysterical laughter of toddlers... and us. It was really fun and positive. “¡Corra, caballo, corra!” (Run, horsey, run!) became the universal demand. We didn’t mind. It was a preview of how much fun we’ll have next week.

Later, at the K-12 Safe Passage school we began setting up las computadoras. Everything went smoothly, but five computers wouldn’t display on the monitor. I heroically managed to fix two of them and was thus dubbed “I.T. specialist” of the trip. We had a delicious lunch, very similar to our first at Safe Passage (still just as tasty), and headed back to Antigua with two more busted computers.

At the homestay, Mari had prepared a delightful meal of Estofado de res.

After fixing the computers, we headed to a celebration at la Plaza Central for Antigua’s patron saint, Santiago Caballero. Troupes of shirtless men struggled to climb a greased tree trunk to snag a flag at the top. We stayed for a few failed attempts and ended up seeing enough butt grabbing, pole sliding, and drunken cheers that we had to question whether or not we had wandered into a male strip club.

We came back past our bedtime, and were all pooped- myself included, and therefore you’re getting this blog post late (sorry). There is also a possibility that you won't get tonight’s post tonight because Mari is throwing us a party!

Hasta luego.
-P

P.S. Be sure to check out all the new photos in the gallery!