So, I took the long trip to Cubulco today to deliver to three schools. It was a great time! I got there and had no idea where any of the schools were to I decided to ask for help at a local store. One of the guys at the store (Chente) started giving me Guatemalan directions to all of the schools. Quick explanation...from my experience, most Guatemalan's have a hard time explaining to an "outta towner" how to get places because they've never been in the shoes of an "outta towner." Instead of words like "left, right, north, south, etc." they may say something like this: "take this street straight until you come to a bunch of pick-up trucks then go up that road and there's the school." And they always say it with extreme confidence. What usually happens after that is you find the road (by asking people in the street) then you go "up" the road (which you would assume means "up" but it could really mean down so you have no idea whether to go left or right) continue on for a while until you think you've gone too far, ask another person where the school is only to find out it's down some little trail--untraceable by military satellites--and behind a grove of trees. I have yet to have a Guatemalan just admit that they don't really know how to get to the destination. It really stems from their natural desire to help people so I can't be mad :-)
Anyway, I think Chente could see my head spinning while he was giving me directions so he offered to go along with me. I always hesitate to take strangers in my rental car (for safety reasons) but I had a good vibe from this guy so I took the chance. He was great! He helped me find all of the schools and we were able to make it to all three. It was funny because while we were chatting he happened to mention a guy he knew from the Peace Corps who had helped him when he was 13 or 14 yrs old. The guy happened to be Kevin Koordt who was responsible for the Books for a Better World presence in Cubulco and is a current board member! What a small world! Chente was so happy that he was able to help me and felt it was like returning a favor that Kevin had done for him almost 10 yrs ago.
Things went really well at the schools. I was particularly impressed by Escuela Santiago where they had constructed a wooden box with wheels to cart the books from classroom to classroom for reading time. It was a really cool idea!
Another cool thing about today is that it was Doña Carmen's birthday. She is Mily's mom and has always been a wonderful support by making our lunches every year when we come. She's an amazing cook by the way!
Anyway, I was having trouble thinking of something to get her so when I got back to the house I asked Mily. Apparently nobody had eaten lunch (it was 2:00 PM) and Carmen loves PIZZA so I decided to order some pizzas for everyone. They were so excited! The pizza place in town is Telepizza which is actually inside Pollo Campero. It was interesting pizza...not too bad for a fried chicken joint!
Another reason why today was extra busy for the Reyes family was because it is the one year anniversary of Carmen's brother's death. The Reyes are very Catholic and they set up a beautiful altar with candles and picture frames and had a special prayer session with all of their friends and relatives. I felt happy to be a part of something so special. After the meeting, we all enjoyed delicious "chuchitos." I'll let Lorenzo (Mily's brother) explain what "chuchitos" are in this little video clip:
Anyway, it was a great day and I'm looking forward to another great day tomorrow. I was gonna go back to Guatemala City in the morning but I decided to make one last delivery to a little village before I leave. I'm excited because it will be quite the hike and the local teachers might even let me borrow a horse to pack the books in! If they can't get a horse they said they would send six school kids up to help me...isn't that funny :-) I'll let you know how it goes!