Saturday, May 13, 2006

bikes bikes bikes

Well, phew i just spent a week working for Maya Pedal mostly fixing up donated old bicycles to be sold cheaply to create funds to sell the machines they make, very cheap so rural familys can afford them, its a wonderful project. Arriving in San Andreas Izapa on a super crowded chicken bus, something trikes me straight away after being around lake Atililan for two weeks, no gringos!, I sit at the nearby cafe to catch my breath and the women asks me if i'm here for Maya Pedal, yup were the only white folks in town, but are so welcomed by everyone in the village, and it seems everyone has a great deal of respect for what Maya Pedal do, I guess that because they work very closley with the Mayan women who keep the project running, maya pedal make everything from pedal powered water pumps to washing machines, it seems their most popular model is the pedal powered corn extractor and grinder, as most of the mayan diet consists of corn meal tortilas and beans, they soak the corn in lime which breaks down the protien and makes it more easily absorbed, which is how people have and mostly still do, survive on a diet of torlilas and beans.
It seems life here is very simple, most people even children carry a machette for chopping wood, and everyday horses pass my door loaded up with wood to be stored before the rainy season kicks in proper. Its nice and refreshing, its simple and it works, the kids here are amazing, from first arriving they asked me my name now whenever I pass they repeat Roberto over and over again, and fling themselves at me like i'm a human fairground ride, which i supose I am.
I was sharing my basic quarters with 3 americans; Sam, Laura and Sara, all very nice if abit loud, I learnt to play hot dice, which is a great game
Yeh It was fairly hard to leave Maya Pedal, but my bad spanish wasn't improving and i spent the week fixing up bikes, which i was glad to do as Maya Pedal is a great project, but I felt if i stayed longer I might start to resent it as it looked like there was no bike machine making for quite a while, so i learnt what i could from studying the ones already there and made my plans, tommorow i go to monterico, to plan puppet shows, workshops, relax(!) and learn more spanish

Oh here are some photos too, the Maya Pedal sign, which was made with much drama while
I was there as there was much debate whether to glue of weld the chain lettering to the sign, a picture of Carlos in full flow, a typical view from our door, the famous bicycle corn extractor, the bicimolino, and a dog on the street.

All the hot showers in Guatamala have an electric element perched on the end of the shower head, which to me looks dangerous, but who am I to question these things, but yesterday while taking a shower I put my had closer to the head, only to get little shocks though the water if i put my hand too close!!, only by the time the water hits my head the electricity has disipated enough not to have an effect, this revalation shocked (hehe) and amused me and gave a who new meaning to the phase electric shower, i'm glad we only have 110 volts here.

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