After a week of crazyness and graduation…we finally made it to guatemala! It is more beautiful than I could have every imagined. I am in the town of El Jicaro in the district of El Progresso in Guatemala. Our town is safe compared to others. We are staying in a quaint little hotel called ¨Mi Casita¨painted the traditional bright colors of Guatemala and adorned with the typical Guatemalan hammock. The people here are constantly smiling and staring at the awkward ¨American tourists¨. We certainly stick out among all the locals. Tuk Tuks are these little open air, red cabs that swerve violently throughout the streets, without regard to pedestrians, dogs, or anything else that may be in there way. So far it has rained everyday, but not the whole day. Right now it is raining with thunderstorms, but it is a refreshing change from the dry California climate.
We met the women we are working with on Tuesday. Our driver, Lepe, drives us there and back everyday for about 20 quetazles, which is the equivalent then less than 3 US dollars. Breakfast is about 15 to 20 quetzales and dinner is about 20. Everythin is about 2 to 3 US dollars. As our dollar goes a long way, people are still suffering the turmoil of poverty. Many live in homes made of scrap metal, wood, even hardened clay. The little rooms are at max capacity as the whole, often extended family piles together. Many are illiterate. Tortillas and beans are the staple diet which they make from scratch daily on a stone stove outside heated with fire and wooden logs. Chickens, stray dogs, and sometimes even cats roam the village as if they owned it. The village that the women live in is caled ¨31 de May¨. Even though they lack our daily American indulgences they are grateful for what they have. They´re permanent warm smiles tell me so everyday. I have taken 100s of pictures of the kids. They are breathtaking.
The women of 31 de Mayo seem to need a lot of help. They are still in the beginning stages of starting their own shampoo business. We are here to really organize their ideas and make the investments that will lead to a sustainable future for these women and their families. 2 weeks is not enough, but any short amount of time is enough to make an impact.