Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Hi everyone!

Everything is going very well still!  I went to Tacana (a nearby city) today and it was really fun.  I went with Rory, Dayton, and Alvaro.  We bought tons of supplies for the projects and had delicious food.  We ate snow cones but instead of having flavoring from a bottle, they put fresh fruit on top of the ice shavings and the fruit juice dripped down.  It was amazing!

Also, as a note to Grandpa Duncan, we have been talking a lot about possibly visiting Tikal and my friend was doing research and found this article http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/El-Mirador-the-Lost-City-of-the-Maya.html?c=y&page=3 (copy and paste) about Mirador.  I told him about all the stuff you had said at dinner after the symphony concert.

There is another blog for the whole group www.guateca2011.blogspot.com.  This one has pictures and more general info about the projects that you can check out if you'd like.


Fotos de San Pablo

Downtown San Pablo

Agriculture of San Pablo

La Casa de Henry

View from behind school

Clouds pouring in

Con un panza lleno y corazon contento

Photos taken by Sean Basalyga

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brian's Cumpleanos! July 17th, 2011

At 5:30AM, Brian, Tom, and Phil were awakened to the sweet traditional acoustic birthday jam from outside their door.

I'm not much for blogging. Long story short. The day started with an epic sunrise and rainbow.

We then had lunch at la Casa Dona Feli. Then a hike to the waterfall in town.

Then a march to the Cafe Coyote. Then a night walk in the dark with thunder and lightning and no rain.

Que bueno

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grateful to be here and now

Tekuru is asleep, in the other bed. The neighborhood rock band is blasting out "La Bamba" in electric instruments out the back at a distance that makes the volume pleasant. 10:00 PM and they just got started serenading. I had a cup of coffee this morning. My understanding was that there was no caffeine in the coffee here... I drank it last year. Today, I was wrong.... it almost killed Emily me this morning. I was shaking and decided to run up the mountainside to reboot. That was a good idea, but at 10,000', I hacked for the rest of the day.

Ly-Lan arrived 2 hours ago and had dinner with Tekuru. It was a relief. The last weeks, days, hours and last minutes before we left SLO were difficult between us in the fray as Tekuru, the students, and I got ready to leave. In any case, we both seem to be in a different space now, and I’m thankful.

I'm thankful that Jamie is better. She's been very sick and spent about 3 days in bed with what I was beginning to think was Typhoid.

The students are amazing and inspiring. I am doing my best to teach energy in Spanish to students who didn't until yesterday understand exponents. At one point during lecture, Brian stood up in front of me and stated squarely that half my students didn't understand the lecture - and that likely all the San Pablo students didn't. Feeling conflict, I responded that I was going to finish the lecture nonetheless. Afterwards, Brian expressed concern that half the students didn't understand the material and wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I told him that half the students DID understand the material and he had 3 hours in front of him while I was in Tacana opening up a bank account. I returned in the evening to find a chaotic swarm of learning. On one side of the room, Brian was at the whiteboard with a cocoon of Guatemalan students around him gesticulating passionately. Afterwards, he excitedly reported all the energy and physics material he'd covered with them. The other students, especially Wendy expressed excitement with their accomplishment. I shook Brian’s hand and told him that my incompetence had made him a God. Today, I just couldn’t explain the full graph of earth energy flows. When I’m fatigued, my Spanish is the first to go. It was slow and tedious, and I felt empathy for the students’ struggle. I gave up and finished in English. Cami speaks lovely Spanish, and she happily picked up after class with the San Pablo students, and am grateful for her help.

All our students are helping in the local school several hours a week with everything from English to Physics to Dance.

Tekuru is a constant source of joy and inspiration. This is not their summer, so Tekuru is going to school with 29 second graders including Maitay who we live with. She has a school uniform that Joni’s mother made for her and has been teaching English. I noticed that Maitay's notebook had notes taken from lessons that Tekuru gave. The girls put stickems all over the house labeling everything with English and Spanish words. One note on the bathroom door says “bano = kitchen”, and confused poor Jamie in her fevered haze… we laughed ourselves sick. Tekuru found a large toad and scooped it up. All the girls fled, and the boys ran in from the soccer field to see it as she basked in the attention.

I’m grateful for the company and insight of Toby, the Ag specialist we snagged in the eleventh hour. He is learning ferociously about every aspect of the language, life, land and culture, weaving his way into the social fabric of the community.

So, I look around in amazement at what we’ve created by leaving a space, allowing the ambient flow in. As with parenting, I am haunted by the glaring incompetence of my every action. Then I see the result and recognize glorious success. I feel daunting responsibility, but then am aware that I am not responsible for the outcome. I am only here. And I am grateful to be here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Agricultura Organica de Roman

Roman took Rory, Sean, Brian, Tom, Toby, Carl, and Andrew on a hike up the San Pablo mountainside to take a tour of his organic farm. Roman grows corn, potatoes, cauliflower, cilantro, and many more plants. Here are some photos form his farm:

Roman also showed us one of the five natural springs that supply San Pablo with water:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Llegamos en San Pablo!

Los Guatequeros de Cal Poly llegamos en San Pablo finalmente! Los Guatequeros llegara manana y nosotros estamos muy emocionado. Aqui hay fotos de las dias pasadas. Saco en Cal Poly, Casa Pete, LAX, Guatemala, Xela, en el bus, y en San Pablo.

 Rain Collector at Alterna:

Bike Blender at Alterna:

Dona Dora Stove at Alterna:

El centro de San Pablo:

Escalamos la montana para mirar la vista: