Day 11: Quickest trip ever to Antigua

Monday, April 22, 2013

We left Chajul at 7am, after another yummy breakfast of fresh fruit! We drove back to Xela to have lunch and pick up the others leaving tomorrow, and then we headed out again to Antigua. We didn’t get in until 5pm, so we quickly checked into the Gato Negro Inn and set up our shuttle for tomorrow. We have to leave at 3am because some of us have 6am flights. Yuck. We ended up having only about an hour before the shops closed, so we ran to the centro to do some shopping. I wish I had time to shop in Xela because I didn’t find anything I loved in Antigua. It was just a tourist trap. It would have been great to have more time here so that we could walk around and seek out the local places. But with less than 24 hours, we did what we had to do. Rowena and I finally found the Tamarind liqueur we have been looking for. I also bought a couple of little things to squeeze into my backpack, I am definitely going to have to leave some things behind. We ate at a little restaurant, and I wish I had got the ceviche (I tried Rowena’s and it was delicious!). A huge travel group from France (we think) came in and the place was packed. A mariachi band played for a bit, it was awesome. Then we went back to the hostel to pack and get a couple hours of sleep!

My camera battery died so I am stealing this photo of Carolyn’s.

Photo by Carolyn :: Antigua, Guatemala

Photo by Carolyn :: Antigua, Guatemala

Day 10: Saber sin Limites Library visit

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our day in Chajul with Limitless Horizons was filled with so much activity! We were busy from sunup to sundown. It was a major highlight of my trip.

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There is too much to write and too many experiences to process…I will have to come back to this. But here are some videos from the amazing library. All three of the librarians amazed me.

Day 9: Travel to Chajul

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Today we moved out of COFA. Those of us in the group heading to Chajul spent a little time in downtown Xela, shopping and sightseeing. Rowena and I actually stumbled upon another book fair and we went into the public library, which used to be a prison. The book are literally locked up in the cells, and the librarian is literally behind bars. It was not the warm and welcoming environment that I have come to know in libraries. And if a patron wants a book they have to ask the librarian (behind the bars) for it, there is no browsing. It was really surprising. There was a sign saying no photos, but I snuck one as I was leaving. All those cubbies on the left are the cells holding the book, and directly in fron is the barred in librarian.

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The 5 hour drive to Chajul was again filled with curves over mountains with steep cliffs while passing semi-trucks on the corner. Ah! We stopped in Huehuetenango for lunch and stumbled upon yet another book sale, they seem to be following us through Guatemala. Leta found a readers digest from her birth month/year. The ads were amazing. I tried to find my own, to practice reading in Spanish, but wasn’t able to locate one.

As we got closer to Chajul it became very foggy, we literally were driving inside of a cloud. On one had I liked that better as I couldn’t see the cliffs below, though it make passing all the more terrifying. Chajul is just how I had imagined Guatemala, lush and green! It is truly a beautiful little town. Our posada was nice, we’re back to bunk beds. I am not even going to talk about the dropping we discovered. Nope. Blue corn tortillas at dinner! And the most delicious chamomile tea I’ve ever tasted. And we got to quickly meet Claire and Laura, the two women working in Chajul with Limitless Horizons. The work they are doing in Chajul seems amazing and I can’t wait to see the library tomorrow!

Day 8: Goodbye to Asturias

Friday, April 19, 2013

Today is our last day working at Asturias. We worked on cataloging the rest of the books that were purchased in Xela and started on the inventory. I feel badly leaving tomorrow, those staying for the long trip have a lot of inventory work ahead of them! We came across 3 books by a very conservative religious preacher (??) called, Escapa por tu vida! At first glance we just thought they were religious narratives, and in a very conservative, religious community we thought they might be okay to leave. But when we started reading them we realized that they were not providing truthful information (masturbating causes AIDS, for instance). We did have a conversation about whether it was ethical to leave or pull them, and in the end pulled all three of them. I wish I would have taken some photos of the horrifying images inside the books. Yikes. Working in a different language and culture certainly creates more ethical concerns!

That night we had a farewell dinner with Jorge and his family and two of the teachers. Dona Margarita prepared everything: fried chicken, corn tortillas (she really makes the best I have ever tasted), mashed potatoes (!!), rice, and something else I can’t remember. Jorge thanked us, his daughter (I think her name is Carla) translated. Caroline presented them with gifts (I wish I had thought about that, I would have brought something to represent Maine and the states!). We went to the library for a group shot and talked a bit about the annulment in the human rights case since we were heading to Chajul the next day. We thought all the horns were in response to the annulment, but Jorge said it was either a soccer game or the fact that people were happy it was Friday!

Day 7: El Dia del Biblioteca!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leta, Tim and I stumbled upon another cafe the other day and finally tried it out today. If this cafe were in Portland, I would eat there regularly! They had the best liquados, and even had soy milk! Leta bought a bagel. Everything looks amazing.

The rest of Thursday was spent on Library Day. It’s a day when every class at Asturias visits the library for 40 minutes. The Info Lit Team  put together a day of activities and divided each class into 3 groups for the 3 separate stations. The purpose of the day was to introduce the kids to the new books that were brought with LWB and to continue to foster information literacy. One of the stations was to make book covers, but that soon turned out to be too time consuming and so we switched to bookmarks. Funny story, we thought the word was marcador para los libros. But then when we said, sure take your marcadores with you, we saw some of the kids picking up the crayola markers! We found that the actual word is separador de libros! I mostly hung out at the art station, but walked around to see the others too. It was fun to watch the older kids do a scavenger hunt, we realized that many of them didn’t understand how the library was even organized. At the end of each session we were presented with the most beautiful and thoughtful handmade cards. I also love how they greeted us and said goodbye with kisses on the cheek. Such a sweet gesture…they were all so kind and respectful! I wish I could work here longer.

Here are some videos, I finally realized I had that capability on my point and shoot camera:

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