Sunday, June 8, 2008

Field-Based Training está terminado!

(está terminado - is finished) Hey everyone! We've returned from FBT in the department of Quiche without injury or illness and had a great time! Quiche is north of where I live (Parramos, Chimaltenango) and is ridiculously indigineous. The primary language is Quiche, one of twenty-six varities of Mayan languages spoken here. Sarah and I worked on two separate projects with two different groups of people (we pulled names from a hat at the beginning of the week to determine the teams). We were all able to finish our projects successfully and it feels really great to be able to help out local indigineous communities and schools the way we did. The really neat part was that we did it with the help of the local communities, not for the local communities. The kids (los niños) came out and dug with us, formed bucket lines of cement with us, and the teachers came out and mixed cement and helped out when they could. Also, every day we had refraccion, which is a snack - usually of atol, a delicious maiz (corn) and leche (milk) drink. Don't ask me how it's made because I have no idea, haha.

Our group made two rain catchement systems for a relatively large school. One deposit is for the kitchen and the other is for the pila (a type of sink) next to the latrines so they can wash their hands or dishes without having to use this chorro (tap) that came straight out of the ground as a pipe. We made a bunch of other little improvements, like a concrete slab and ramp next to the latrines, planted saplings around areas where the dirt might erode in front of the school, poured gravel underneath the exposed lamina (corrugated metal) roof so it doesn't become lodo (mud).

I'll let sarah fill you in on her project when she gets a chance to post. What I do know is that she has buns of steel from carrying concrete blocks up a hill. They made a two-toilet latrine and created an efficient wood-burning stove for another school in the area. See the pictures for more details!

Now, for the pictures... (click each image to open a larger version. In Firefox, hold Ctrl and Click to open them in a new tab)

Team FancyPants: (left to right) Taylor, a current PCV that is about to finish up his two years, Christin, Ashlee, Sarah, Dan, and their albiñil (mason) whose name escapes me right now. The team name comes from Ashlee's fancy pants.Los niños carrying cement blocks for Sarah's team.
The albiñil showing off Team FancyPants colors on his sombrero. He is sitting on their under-construction latrine.
Another shot of the latrine.
Here's a view of the landscape from Sarah's site.

Zach, Jim, and some teachers helping with the big water catchement setup.
A view from our site. The guy with the hat is Lynn, the FBT training director.

Team FancyPants completes their latrine (the blue thing is a pila)

Sarah and her team with their finished stove!This is what it looked like the majority of the time. There was an insane amount of rain in Guatemala this past week.

Sorry there aren't more pictures but the internet is being stupid and I'm already up to 10Q. Have a great week! I'll try to write more after this coming week.


Aunt Kath said...

Hi Mat,Hi Sarah,
Well by the time you get home I'll have projects for the two of you. You both seem to becoming quite handy. Keep up the good work.
Love to both,
Aunt Kath'

Mamacita Jo said...

So that's what they mean by "a brick ..." And a backyard "barbecue," too.