Friday, March 18, 2011.
One highlight of the day was the health fair. Mary and I took pictures ("fotos") of the villagers. See a sample above. Our intention was to charge 1Q, about 13 cents U.S., for each foto as a donation to the school. The first family, about 6 in number and dressed in their finest, posed proudly. When told of the price, they fled. We quickly adjusted; the fotos would be free. Also at the fair, we displayed two methods of water purification. One was a carbon-based filter capable of producing 5 gallons of potable water per 12 hours. The other verion was called WAPIS. It is a system to determine when heated water is pasteurized. A glass capsule contains a wax that melts slightly above the temperature of pasteurization, but short of boiling. The capsule is on a string. The capsule is put in water that is being heated. When the wax melts and flows to the bottom of the capsule, the water is pasteurized. By the string, the capsule is removed. When cooled, the wax is again solid and capable of re-use. This process saves precious wood fuel by not unnecessarily reaching full boiling. Also at the fair, we displayed and sold reading glasses for 3Q, and toothpaste for 1Q. One of our local workers said that he thought the most valuable contribution we were making was the instruction of why and how to brush teeth. The typical Guatemalen diet appears heavy in sweets. Missing teeth are prominent in the early twenties.
After the health fair we had several ceremonies. With the church filled with an estimated 100 people, we were greated with two prayers, one in a form of chant with background recorded music. We heard appreciation from the primary and secondary school principals. Secondary school students performed a skit thanking our volunteer efforts. Two secondary students sang. We presented the school with some money raised at the health fair, and we were presented with gifts of woven pouches that were hung from our necks.
The ceremonies continued down at the school where the new wall and computer lab (the space exiists, but no computers are yet available) were celebrated, as was the new latrine. Everyone was happy and appreciative.
We spent the next several days as tourists in Panajachel and Antigua. Any travel guide can do better at describing those areas than I. The 2011 Guatemalan service trip is history. I have invited others on the trip to contribute comments and pictures. Check to see if anything gets posted.