Saturday, June 7, 2008


Things I will never again take for granted…

Water: and not just hot water with good pressure (although I miss that so much too), but drinking water, brushing my teeth water, washing your hands water, flushing the toilet so that everything goes down water (if it doesn’t, you have to take a bowl called a guacal, fill it with water and use the increased water pressure to make it all go away); the thing with the water here is that it is pretty dirty, infested with all kinds of parasites so the tap water also known as agua de chorro is no good. You can get quite ill as many of us already have. Mainly takes the form of diarrhea. We can’t drink it and we can’t brush our teeth with it. So what I have to do is go to the back patio and fill up my water bottle whenever I need water. It’s called Agua Salva Vidas or life-saving water. If my family isn’t able to purchase it, they boil water. Or we could use the chlorine tablets or simply a little bit of bleach. I miss going into the bathroom putting my face under the faucet and just letting the water run into my mouth until my cheeks exploded.

Washer and drier: clothes are washed in a pila which is a basin where people brush their teeth, wash the dishes, gather water to boil, among other things. Yesterday I saw a little old man use the water to wash the mud of his feet. Some girls use the pila to wash their hair. So all the washing is done by hand and the clothes are stretched out. You begin to think that you are losing weight because all your clothes are beginning to fit you big but then you realize that you’ve either maintained your weight or gained some because of all the tortillas and bread that you have been eating. The sun is our drier and since we entered rainy season a couple of weeks ago, the drier is out of order. It can be days before I get my clothes back. Wouldn’t be as big of a deal if it wasn’t either super hot some days, leaving you sweaty and stinky, or wet and muddy other days, leaving your clothes dirty or musty from the humidity.

Toilet paper: you have to carry it around everywhere because you may have to use the bathroom while you’re out and about. Most public places don’t have toilet paper so it is vital to have the stuff in your backpack. For example, today we stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom, and the bathroom was pretty sick, as most public bathrooms tend to be, there was no toilet paper and you have to hover.

Coffee: I’m not a coffee freak but I do appreciate a good cup of coffee. How I miss you, Caribou Coffee… Guatemala is known for its delicious coffee…in the US or other foreign countries because they export the best stuff and leave the country with some pretty gross stuff. Not complaining, I’m just saying. Also coffee is generally really watered down and sweetened with about 5 to 10 teaspoons of sugar. However, there is a coffee place about a mile away from my town that my site mates and I walk to at least once a week to drink a good cup of café con leche. It’s about 10Q which is about $1.25. When we are too lazy to walk, we will have coffee at Café Margarita’s (my site mate’s house; she makes some good strong coffee with her host family’s coffee maker).

Music: Enrique Iglesias is definitely starting to sound good. Yea, I had a little thing for him my freshmen year of high school or was it 8th grade? He had a concert in Guatemala this past Thursday and Carmen (sitemate/friend) and I really wanted to go but we were doing field-based training all this week. Anyway, every morning, I wake up and put on Alicia Keys. Specifically, the song Superwoman because right now, it is my Eye of the Tiger. Sometimes I’ll mix in a little Kanye or Nujabes. I’m on hip-hop kick and there really isn’t any here. Only reggaeton, bachata, and grupera.

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