Connie in Morocco and Beyond
These are my travel experiences beginning with my Peace Corps service in Morocco from 2006-2008. At the request of friends and my own desire to document, I continued blogging my journeys to other countries as well as in the U. S., including my service as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in South Africa for most of 2014. This blog will continue as my travel journal.
- Name: Connie Genger
- Location: Billings, Montana, United States
The Big Sky country of Montana is home sweet home!
Monday, March 30, 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
LAST BUILD DAY
|Jackie, family daughter, Connie, Gracie(the youngest team member), Ryan, Samantha, Mike Stevensons from Miles City, Ruben the mason, Cathi and her daughter Sara, Horalia the family mother, Jorge the son, and Willun, the mason's helper|
We got very dirty today with concrete bucket brigade, more rebar tying, but first we visited our family's current house,where Horalia gave each of us a little gift, then she and her children came over to the work site for lots of photos.
Next was the ceremony with the local Habitat affiliate and both families at the other work site. More thanks and prayers and short speeches, then a treat of tostados and hibiscus tea. We bought a pinata as it was Ryan's birthday (the young tall guy in the back of the above photo) and a few days past the birthday of Daisy, from the other family. This photo is of Jeff, the other team's Habitat rep and interpreter, guiding Daisy.
|Dee Dee and Dina from Vancouver, BC: Maura, my roommate from San Fran, Karen Stevenson from Miles City, Rick from Seattle...all member of the other team.|
|Ambrosia and Trudy (74 yrs. old), granddaughter and grandmother from Seattle area.|
One day before dinner we participated in tamale making with the hotel cooks. The tamales were just the dough with no filling, but a couple of us got our hands in it and mixed the ground maize, water, cream, and butter, then everyone wrapped a blob of it in a banana leaf. All were put in a large pot to boil and we had them for supper. They were very similar to dumplings.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
ROCKIN' AND BLOCKIN'
We really work hard today, lots of block and rock moving as well as tying rebar. No water was available at our worksite so we couldn't mix/carry/pour concrete.
My team is really super; everyone works hard and gets along with minimal complaining. One one hand it seems like we've been here for weeks, but again, just like the other day.
|Block brigade. We also carried two (or one) at a time later|
|Sara from Albany, New York but in college at Stanford. She and her mom were there together during her spring break.|
|Concrete and mortar mixer in foreground. Not electrical, as you can see!|
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
FIRST DAYS OF GUATEMALA HFH-GV BUILD
One of the first jobs introduced was to tie re-bar. Here are Samantha and Gracie hard at it.
Here's a video of the concreto mixing and pouring. I allude to it as mezcla in the video, but that is incorrect, as mezcla is the mortar, and has different proportions of cement, water, and gravel, plus lime is added.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
We walked up a wooden staircase to one of the temples to see the sunrise. Listening to the jungle wake up was amazing. The howler monkeys sounded like huge monsters of some sort, but they are just a normal size monkey. I tried to video to capture the sounds but it didn't turn out too well. Some temples can be seen through the foggy cloudy scene.
This is one of the major temples, not allowed to be climbed, but we roamed around with the guide, returning to the lodge about 9:00 for breakfast. We then walked back on our own and did more exploring for awhile.
Resting in front of our room after a day of lots of climbing and walking. Wonderful little trip! Lots more photos and will post more later. Internet connection is slow and others have better pictures.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I move my bags over to a hotel tomorrow where I will meet three other team members, then go to the airport for Tikal, where we'll meet Mike and Karen Stevenson, friends from Miles City who are also here for the build, then back Saturday when all the other team will meet at the Antigua hotel prior to leaving for San Marcos. Photos of the Mayan ruins coming up next!
Monday, March 16, 2015
SUNDAY AT LAKE ATITLAN
First was San Juan, where a guide took me to a women's association that made thread from cotton and dyed the thread with natural products, such as hibiscus, beets, wood bark, and an assortment of other things. Plant leaves (not sure what plant) are used to change some colors, and the color is fixed using the stalk of a banana plant. I made my first purchase in country of eight lovely placemats.
|Weaving the thread from raw cotton that has been pounded|
by hand to remove seeds
|Vat with banana stalk liquid to make thread color-fast|
Next we went to San Pedro, and when the guide asked me if I wanted to see the inside of a Catholic church or walk, I opted for the latter. We encountered his daughter and her friend. When I asked where he lived, he told me that it was close by, and did I want to see it. Sure, I would! So we went there and met his little boy and his wife, and noticed two machines in a room where we entered. Discovered that his mother-in-law had a business of grinding coffee beans and maize (to make the dough for tortillas). People bring in the plastic tubs of maize (or coffee) and pay to have it ground.
Last was Santiago, which was a larger town where we had lunch. Again I ate with the two very interesting brothers, and had vegetarian pasta.
Returned home about 7 p.m. A long but very enjoyable day!
Saturday, March 14, 2015
END OF WEEK
Saturday morning four of us walked up the hill to a cross that has a good view of the city, and here is one of the sights...the volcano on the right that is smoking is Volcan Fuego, which is see right outside my room, and is the one that shut the airport down for two days recently as the smoke/dust creates a danger for the planes. The other is inactive and it is Volcan Agua. Hope you are able to view this video
After the little hike, I went to a corner coffee shop and had a wonderful cup plus a couple of homemade chocolate meringue cookies. Here's the view I had there.
Saturday afternoon three of us caught a shuttle up to San Cristobal, which boasts an organic garden.
|Quesadilla with salad. Very tasty and great price!|
|View from the restaurant, the yellow building near center of photo is La Merced by my house and the hill on the right is where we walked this morning.|
|Janet and Bill, also attending my school|
|My salad greens came from this organic garden|
|An area where they do weaving demonstrations. Notice the bike part.|
Thursday, March 12, 2015
|The exterior of my school. As with most, very obscure entry.|
|Making tortillas for a special lunch at the school (Most lunches are eaten with host family, or on our own.) There certainly is a technique that takes practise...guess it comes with the territory of learning Spanish!|
|Cooking the tortillas over an open fire|
|My teacher Rosinda and me. See what I mean about being tall again? |
(Sure will be glad to get my braces off in a couple of months!)