THE TRUE STORY - SORT OF

Part one of today's blog will be written by guest blogger and chaperone extraordinaire Mike Collins.

Time for a giant shout out to Bob and Maggie.  Especially Bob.  Bob came a week before the first group arrived in Guatemala and worked non stop to make sure that everything was set up for the kids at all the schools we have visited.  He was with the first group every day and was with group two for the first week, buying missing pieces and helping out! Maggie helped group two when we were quetzal-less by running to the bank and changing our money. She also had the kids laundry done after they were soaked when coming down from Cerro de la Cruz.  Thank you Bob and Maggie!

Now for  a few corrections to past blogs. Little corrections but we all want the TSC history to be perfectly accurate at all times.  TSC did not lose a bag, American Airlines left the bag in Miami. (American Airlines also told us two of the kids names were different on their tickets and passports and they were not sure they would be able to enter Guatemala. Of course nobody else noticed that at any part of our journey). Unfortunately when the bag arrived in Guate it was grabbed by customs because it had 2000 feet of cable in it.  I guess that is a little unusual. We needed that cable and they would only release the cable to the "owner" which, according to their records was Sage. So Sage and Phillipa had to cab to the airport at night (after being soaked on the cerro trip) so that Sage could sign a bunch of papers and explain why she was bringing cable into the county. Fortunately Mari was also there and they talked their way out of paying any duties. Small but important correction: Mike had never set an alarm for 6 in the morning; it was a funny trick played by Angelica of group one.

Everybody has done a fabulous job at work and play.  Like many schools in Guate four different schools with four different directors share the facility.  The afternoon computer teacher, Juan Carlos (who studied in Edmonds Community College), has been working with the kids to add our computers to their computers. They have 21 working computers and we are adding enough sot that they can have a full class of 50 in the room at one time. (Yes, 50, no small class initiatives here).  The kids are also networking the computers.  Wires have been run all over the place.  Jazzy has become a specialist at something but I honestly have no idea what she is doing. Jaida had been punching down wires into some little thingie. Whatever that means. (Bob and Jaida know).  Luc, Loa and Kate have been running around measuring wires, handing out jobs (and time to play with kids).  Will, Daniella, Katie, Lucas and Sage (and everybody else) have been crimping wires. There is a lot of crimping to be done.   Sam, Will, and Atticus have been working inside and out of the lab measuring wire and connecting wire.   Miles and Nick have been taking photos and video and documenting the trip for TSC posterity.

Besides the work and play everybody is making every effort to support the Guate economy.  Shopping expeditions have been organized to all the markets.  The chaperones feel very safe as the group (so far) has accumulated 11 knives and 4 machetes.  Fortunately they are not very sharp but they sure look good.  Sage and Jazzie shop with Katie Mc. Jazzie scouts out the articles, Sage negotiates and Katie comes in to seal the deal.  Katie has also spent most of her money because she just cant pass up the bargains. In addition to weaponry many bracelets, blankets and other goodies have been purchased.  Loa is especially proud of her beautiful earrings and the fabulous deal she got.  The boys have accumulated most of the weapons but they also invested in an electric fly swatter and have been hunting down flies on a regular basis. I am sure Mari is very happy about this.  Mari has been her usual effervescent self.  The food has been great and Mari regularly checks in with the kids by saying "happy, happy?" which are the only two English words she knows but they are more than enough.  Everybody has pitched in at night to do the dishes.

Bottom line is that it has been a great trip so far. The kids are great with each other and with the Guate kids. They have taught us some fun stuff- like how to use the words "dope," "fly," "fire," and other words appropriately. Lucas has taught us that you can look like you have a lot of hair and really just have some very fly hair weaves.

I will leave the description of our trip to Volcan Pacayo to our dedicated bloggers. I do however want to say that this was my sixth trip up Pacayo. I should become a guide.  Kudos to our group - everybody trooped up and down and nobody needed a horse to move them along the trail.

Mike Collin

PS: Don't play bannanagrams with Phillipa. She has her own rules and she uses words like "quire."  Dont play cards with Katie Mc; she carries around a pack at all times and is a card shark.