Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon, members of Veterans For Peace and the Bradley Manning Support Network,are traveling (currently in the U.S.),while networking with peace and justice activists along the way. We are having a great time, learning a LOT, while doing our little bit.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Spanish School in San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
We started a month of Spanish classes in Guatemala Monday. We’ll be at the San Pedro Spanish School on Lake
Atitlan for the first two weeks and in Huehuetenango for the 2nd two
Guatemala is so beautiful and
cheap! At least, here at Lake Atitlan. For 20 hours of one-on-one
Spanish lessons, activities at the school every day (a little more money for
weekend excursions like a whole day of kayaking to a nearby community on the
lake) and home stay with a Guatemalan family that includes a private room and
bath and 3 meals 6 days a week costs only $169 per person! I can’t live that
cheaply anywhere in the U.S, let alone get classes on top of it!
David, mi maestro
Our Spanish teachers are fantastic! Here's a picture of David.
We have thatched roof pagodas to learn in - each teacher-student gets their own, with a small desk, two chairs and a white-board.
thinking about that kayak trip – it’s only $14 and sounds like a lot of
fun! Getting across the lake on a public boat is only about $3 and takes
about 35 minutes.
I can see the lake and mountains from my room. Going past are traditionally-dresses people, horses, and the little 3-wheel taxis called "TucTucs".
View from my window
Here in the rural areas people
still wear their traditional, very colorful, hand-woven and hand-embroidered
clothes. When you see a whole group of them, you just go “WOW”!
The mother of my host family
was in a “chicken bus” accident a few years ago and one arm is gone above the elbow.
She asked me to go to a store with her last night to help carry supplies, and
it was my first time carrying a package on my head – I just never thought to
try it before! She let go, but I kept a hand on mine so I wouldn’t break
Women wash their clothes the old fashioned way and men fish without a rod or reel. People also bathe right in the lake. Unfortunately, Panajachel has lost its water treatment facility and I don't know if any of the other villages even have/had one, so the lake water is unsafe to drink.
Local Guatemalan walking past my window
Gerry and I are staying in
separate families right now so that we aren’t tempted to speak English to each
other. We haven’t seen much of each other the past couple of days, so
tonight is our first “date”. We’re going to have dinner at a local café
and then going to a basketball tournament – his teacher told him about it, and
it’s a big deal here in San Pedro – a town of no more than 16,000 people.