Saturday, November 5, 2011

A journey to Nueve Puntos

One of the young girls in Nueve Puntos who received a new poncho.
I traveled back to Guatemala during the month of October. I am often asked what do I take down with me. Some people even think that the plants we raise for our spring plant sale are transported to Guatemala. The journey is long and costly so I must choose carefully what I bring. All project supplies are brought in Guatemala but I want to collect good shoes to take down each trip. The airlines limit us to two check-in bags and one carry on. This trip I left Gig Harbor with 40 pairs of shoes and 24 pairs of boy jeans, two items that are hard and expensive to buy in Guatemala.

So how did two check-in bags become all of this? Miracles in Actions a nonprofit with a home in Antigua Guatemala blessed us with blankets, sweaters, hats, backpacks, crocs, food water filters and books.

After flying for one full day I spent the night in Antigua. My time was limited and the work before me great so early the next morning I repacked the donated items with help from a local family. Another organization “People for Guatemala” who offered me 100 bottles of children’s vitamins and a pick-up ride to the main highway came by around noon and away we went. Once on the main highway we flagged down a “chicken bus” like the one picture above. In total I had 30 pieces of luggage! I was defiantly not travelling light but this transportation is the most economical around. I had a little excitement at the next bus terminal when my gear was loaded on three different buses! A little shouting and it was reloaded correctly and I was on my way again.

Travel day three- Manuel Ramirez rode out with a hired driver from Chel to met me in Nebaj. We did some banking and purchased some metal water pipes and a gunny sack of connections in the morning.

I must admit I felt a little proud to have successfully moved all this gear to Chajul. Yet I realize that I am only the delivery boy and without help all along the way both in Guatemala and in the states I would not be able to do this.

After mounting two new tires and tying down our load we were ready to head to Chel.

Although the local government receives $5000 a month to maintain this road there is little evidence they use any of it. Buses and large trucks have stopped using it and now only 4x4 trucks make the trip. Our top speed is only second gear and it was well after dark when we arrived in Chel. The week after we arrived the road washed out and was not passable again until three days before I left.
Although the local goverment receives $5000 a month to mainten this road there is little evidence they use any of it. The week after we arrived in Chel the road washed out and was not passable again until three days before I left.

Travel Day 4- I still had a another day of travel to arrive in Nueve Puntos. I separated my cargo leaving piping in Las Flores and other supplies for the women in Chel and traveled to Nueve Puntos with many gifts. Here we are switching forms of transportation again as we prepared to make the final leg of this long journey.

I would not want to be a mule in Nueve Puntos. At times they are loaded down with up to 200 pound of cargo.

I also would have a hard time carrying my share of the load if I lived here. Chico who weights around 100 pound is carrying 100 pounds.

Everyone in the family helps in moving supplies.

After a few thousand miles and various forms of transportation we are nearing our destination.

What did we bring? 75 bottles of children vitamins that will be distributed into 10 communities. Each bottle contains a three month supply for one child.

Shoes and pants.

Knitted hats, gloves and blankets.

The following photos are some of the happy recipients. These gifts would be small to many of us but here they are huge and greatly appreciated.

I am asked and sometimes ask myself why I do this. It is not easy or convient. The answer is at least twofold. The first reason is that the needs here are real and they exist everyday of the year.

The second reason is the gratetude that I see makes these some of the best days of my life. I have beed told that I am viewed as a kind of village father who when he returns from a trip always brings small gifts home to his children and creates a mini fiesta. That is not a bad job discription.

From all of us Thank you for being a part of this ripple that brings hope and change to the forgotten poor in this region.

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