By Erin Mulfinger
Today we woke up at the Molina to a wonderful breakfast and a presentation about FUDI, a local organization working to promote schools, agriculture, and health. We then were taken on a tour of the mill, given by Mario Gutierrez, the manager for the past five years.
Following that, we went on a hike in the mountainous woods behind the mill. Wow. The air seemed so fresh, so clean, and the vegetation so lush and green. There was a clear path we followed up the mountain, and then down the mountain.
For lunch we were served estofado, a traditional dish that mixes different meats and spices, and then we were off! Due to issues with transportation (see previous posts) we were without a second car. However, we did have the use of a pickup truck and Pavak and Russ happily volunteered to ride in the bed in the hopes of photo opportunities. It began to rain as the cars were loaded, and they both resourcefully put on ponchos and jumped in the truck. The rain stopped pretty quickly, and after a few minutes on the road we were stopped by some roadwork. Children selling fruit, candy, soda, etc. walked by, and some of us ate fresh mango and bananitos de oro. After a curvy and bumpy trip we arrived in Panajachel, and took a boat to Jaibalito.
Carlos’ cousin, Sofia, lives here in Jaibalito and she was telling us about the current state of education. In the areas surrounding the lake, teachers have been on strike for two months now. Two months children have not been going to school! Sofia said the reasons for the strike have been many, but most likely all stem from the fact that teachers’ salaries are some of the lowest in the country. We will be hearing much more about education in Guatemala from Colegio Miguel Angel Asturias tomorrow, and I hope to really gain an understanding of the entire system, and the differences in opportunities for education between Guatemala and the United States.