Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Antigüeña Spanish Academy and Colonia, Guatemala, el 20 de Febrero, 2018

School was good.  Antigüeña Spanish Academy is on the north west corner of Antigua, 2.4 km from where I live.  It takes a good 30 minutes to walk there.  Streets are cobblestone and sidewalks are up and down.  I have started sort of marching when I walk - picking up my feet so I don't fall again.  And speaking of falling, my right side ribs are killing me.  My wrist is fine, the bruise on my arm is not so tender anymore but my ribs are getting worse.  I have a hard time getting up from bed, it's painful to sneeze and take a deep breath.  I must have cracked a rib or two.  Not fun but there's nothing to do about it except wait - 6 weeks one website says!

Antigüeña Spanish Academy is in a large garden and tables of students and teachers are scattered amongst the plants-

Other students, like me, are upstairs under a roof.  I like it up here because it's not too hot and there is no wind.  In spite of all the students, I don't hear anyone else-

Down below this level are more students.  I wouldn't like it here because it's near the water and coffee and there is a lot of commotion-

Since last year, they've built a serving area for our 10 o'clock snack-

It's interesting how the population changes from week to week.  Last week the school was packed.  Tatijana and I sat in the windy and sunny courtyard.  It wasn't pleasant.  Today there were still students and teachers around the edges trying to stay out of the wind and sun-

After class, I checked a few more travel agencies for transportation to Xela and then San Cristobal, then made it home in time for lunch. I had little time to rest before I had to leave for the biblioteca but amazingly enough, a chicken bus was right at the corner when I got there!  No waiting.

This afternoon was special because I went with a social worker to Colonia to see Axel and we went without a translator!  I am pretty proud of myself!  I am Axel's madrina - godmother, because I sponsor him which also means his family.  For $60 US/month, he and his sister get to go to school and the whole family - Mom, Dad, Myron (17), Axel (11) and Dulce (6) get medical  and dental care. They also have access to the social programs and library at headquarters.  They sold their house a few weeks ago and are staying for free in a brother's house. About 5 years ago, Julio, the Dad, was accused by his place of employment of stealing.  No police were involved, nor was there a trial, but Julio paid back all the money, even though he claimed to be innocent. The family borrowed from the bank and the interest and payments have been killing them. Mom visited the clinic frequently citing many issues -  all from stress because as soon as they sold their house and paid off their loan, she was better.  Julio now works in a toilet paper factory and Mom has a small tienda. Very small from what I could see. 

The street to their home-

Their front door-

The courtyard upon entering is mass confusion.  It looks like they just threw everything in a pile but I'm sure they know what's where-

The kitchen-

They have tarps hanging to keep the sun out.  They have a fridge and a gas stove, 3 bedrooms and I am presuming some sort of bathroom but I didn't see it.

Axel, his Mom and sister Dulce-

Axel's Mom made this purse for me.  It took her one day-

I gave Axel the first Harry Potter book and The Little Prince.  I brought the family a food basket and the game Uno which we played-

Axel wrote me this card-

I felt sad and had tears in my eyes when I walked into their home.  I was thinking about how lucky I am to live where I do and have what I have.  So many of us do not appreciate what we have.  For some, there is never enough.  I enjoyed my visit but was exhausted by the time I got home. The chicken bus was packed - we were like sardines and when you're getting close to where you get off, you have to squish between people, like really squish.  Supper was great and afterwards while watching the Olympics, I noticed that half of one of my molars has broken off so, it's off to see a dentista tomorrow!

Two of my three favorite men-

I see Wall in Nico's eyes but Jane too, maybe in his mouth.  I'm looking forward to seeing this little monkey. He knows his colors and has become quite a talker.  He didn't fall too far from the tree. His Mom was talking a blue streak at 20 months.  Nico will be 2 on March 3. 

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