In July I did a computer camp in Crique Jute, which is Dan's. The camp was at ITVET, which is a technical school right outside the village, about a 2 mile walk from Dan’s house. This is when I fell in LOVE with Crique Jute village. The people are so nice and friendly! The village is a little untraditional, because instead of people’s houses being close in the valleys of hills, the people of Crique Jute have their houses up in the mountains. It’s almost like each family has their own jungle palace, high on a mountain top. There are, of course, some houses down lower and in between mountains, basically whatever land they can get. But as you walk or ride or drive down the dirt road through Crique Jute, you will see only a small number of houses, because most are hidden in the jungle above. It’s amazing and beautiful! The first week of camp was taking it all in for me. I’ve worked in a lot of villages, but seeing a new village always amazes me, especially in Crique Jute! Dan was still living with his host family that first week, which was one of the first houses as you enter the village, completely in the opposite direction of ITVET. So we were in really good shape after making the trek back and forth several times a day that week! His host family, the Pops, lived up on a very high mountaintop. They are my favorite and their house is definitely why I call the houses palaces. They have pretty much every type of tree you could imagine there! Avocado, (which they call pears), starfruit, pepper, mami, cacao, lime…you name it! They basically never have to come down! They even have their own private creek down the side of their mountain where they bathe and do laundry. It’s awesome down there! Like a paradise! It’s quite a hike down, but amazing once you make it! So beautiful—I don’t even have words to do it justice!
Modesto Pop is the nicest, cutest little Mayan man. He is married to Dolores, who I am determined to challenge in an arm wrestling contest once I get in shape because her guns are HUGE! They have 12 children (yes, you heard right!), which no wonder she has huge guns- washing 14 sets of clothing on the rocks and making tortillas for 14 people a few times a day! It’s hard, HARD work to wash on the rock and flatten tortillas! You’d be surprised how much of an arm workout you get! Anyway, they are the sweetest family. The children are so cute and respectful. They have really become one of my favorite Mayan families! The first day of camp, Dolores prepared a kaldo kax with some amazing lime juice since she knew I would be visiting. Yum! I got to have a few meals with the family that week, and got the kids to come out of their shells a little and play with me—which meant teaching the girls Miss Mary Mack (they LOVED it!) and never hearing the end of it til this day! Whenever I make a random visit over there, at least one of the daughters tries to play it with me! Hahaha.
During that first week, Dan and I fumbled through teaching kids, most of whom had never even touched a computer before, the basics of computers. It was very difficult and frustrating at times. Some of the kids were quick and got it right away, while others were lightyears behind. Having no experience in really teaching kids (or camp for that matter!), it definitely tested my patience and tolerance levels! Luckily, I was the more calm and tolerating one than Dan! (I was also the brains behind the operation…hahahaha). At least the computer lab was air conditioned!!!
In the after hours of camp, Dan showed me around the Jute—we went through the trails behind ITVET and swam in the creek. We saw the creek down behind Dan’s future home, and painted some of the walls in his house to try to make it look less cruddy. The house had been vacant for over a year and needed some work. We also took advantage of the Crique Jute movie theater! (aka: the projector in the ITVET computer lab that we could play movies off of in the AC!) I also became friends with the security guard, George, who told me he would miss my face when I left Thursday afternoon!
By Thurs, I had to get back because I had RCP stuff to do on Fri. I hung out w/PG folk at my temporary home at Nate and Michelle’s for the evening. Early morning Friday I had to get up and prepare our agenda for the Fourthnightly session. It was a loooong, long session- an all day workshop. Ugh! It was a little frustrating because one of the supervisor’s didn’t even show up to the meeting, and the Rovers didn’t take things seriously. Luckily, Allyson our intern from Barbados is strict and has her act together, so she laid down the law. I'm a big wimp... hahaha.
I was exhausted by the time the session ended! But I was planning on moving out of Nate and Michelle’s and in with Taylor that evening, so I got a second wind of excitement. The plan was that Taylor’s landlord said she was a building a second story above Taylor, so Peace Corps approved me to live with Taylor while construction was underway. Unfortunately, construction was supposed to start July 1st…. we still have yet to see anything! Anyway, I had some help from people moving me in that day, which was good. Dan came into town and Pedro, a guy who works with Nate, brought me his truck to load stuff into. After out mini-moving party, we hung out after. It was a nice Friday evening! I spent one last night sleeping in Michelle and Nate’s before moving in to Taylor’s for good!
Saturday I was supposed to be out of town with football (as usual) but our game got cancelled, so I was actually in PG town on a good market day! I spent the morning shopping and buying groceries- it was so great! I love the market! Something about it makes me feel so grown up! Hahaha Plus, you pretty much see EVERY Toledo PCV on Saturday market days, so it’s like a big reunion! Haha.
Saturday night was my first night in my next temporary home! (PC vagabond!) Somehow I left my Rainbow sandals on the front step, and when I went to take them in as we closed the door for the night, one was gone! I still can’t find it to this day!! I think maybe I potlicka ran off with it. Sad. Another pair of sandals lost to Belize. Belize: 2, Mallory: 0. So my living situation at Taylor’s was a mattress on the floor. My “room” was separated by a small couch and a dresser. I’m a very classy lady. It was actually quite a cozy corner I had set up there!
The next week I was scheduled to go to San Jose village to do RCP supervisions for the week, along with a parenting session. I was all packed and ready to head out and the other supervisor never came to pick me up. I was scheduled to leave by 7:30am in order to get to the village by 8:30. By 7:45 I was calling and texting people and nobody would answer. So I hopped on my bike and headed to the office. Samuel, the supervisor, was running around doing God knows what! He said we didn’t have the car until noon, then we didn’t have a car at all, then we did again. He basically had no idea what was happening. The Rovers only work til noon for stimulations, so if I left at noon it would be pointless. I got really frustrated and decided I would just show up to Crique Jute to finish the 2nd week of computer camp, (since I really enjoyed my first week there and I was already packed to be gone for a week!) I had some time to kill, so I went to the market with Laura and went to lunch with Matt—since people were in town for the afternoon. I then hopped on the noon bus to San Jose and got off at Dan’s house, since he had moved into his own mountaintop palace over the weekend.
Week 2 in Crique Jute was fun again! This time there were a lot of other PCVs popping in and out to help. Nate came Tues to Wed, Sam and his friend showed up Wed, and Matt and Rion came Fri! It was a full week and so much fun! We visited the Pops a few times, all of which we were fed. One of the days I wore my Mopan dress that my old host family gave to me. The family really appreciated it. Modesto’s parents, (who live in a house at the bottom of Modesto’s mountain), saw me from behind with a braid in my hair and asked Dan where he found the Indian girl! Hahaha I was a huge hit with the Pop family, and I was glad I wore it! Now his village likes me better than him and I’m officially banned from Crique Jute! Hahaha. Just kidding, they love him. But Dolores did tell me she liked having a girl Peace Corps around to help. When Sam and his friend were in town, we did graffiti on Dan’s kitchen walls. It was really relaxing to paint and Sam’s friend did a really cool Mayan drawing! It was awesome! I may take up graffiti-ing as a hobby!!
On Friday, camp ended with us giving the kids certificates and taking pictures with the Dean of ITVET. They loved it! All in all, I think the kids learned a lot and it was a successful computer camp!
After camp, Matt, Dan, and I were heading into the junction to catch the bus to town, when my COMPAR truck drove by and we were able to catch a ride in. Good timing. The perfect way to end a week is in the back of a pickup truck! Since the three of us hadn’t seen each other and been all three together in awhile, we spent the afternoon/evening just chilling at my house with a little, much needed, Mopan reunion. Good times….
Then Saturday was an awesome/depressing day... All the 2nd year PCVs are starting their COS (close of service) process. Saturday night we had Rion's going away party because he was the first one to leave of my 2nd year friends I'm gonna miss! We had a nice time at Nate and Michelle's playing card games and being silly all night. I miss you, Rion Smith!!!
Sunday: Roo, Taylor's cat, pooped all over my bed. That's all I have to say about that.