I´ve been here at the internado for a little over a week. Today was a big day. I went for a great hike and I had my first real interactions with the students here.
I hiked to the Gruta de San Pedro, about 11 km from Sorata. I spent about 5 hours hiking, and 1 hour in the cave. I got up nice and early, ate breakfast, picked up some water and cookies for snacks, and was on the road by 8 or 8 :15. I think I got there by 10 :45 or so, because I hustled and didnt stop and I was floating on the water in the cave by 11 am. The cave has the biggest cavbern I´ve ever been in. Though I guess I haven´t been in too many. It has a 300 to 350 meter long pond in it. Someone hauled in some paddleboats that you can rent for 5 Bs. Good fun.
I was the only persona round apart from the caretakers. I took some time to walk around the cave as well. The cave passage continues, but the electric lighting only extends to 480m inside the cave. There were lots of bats. I don´t know how the lighting or noise from visitors affects them, but I imagine it´s an important home for them.
Walking back, I passed 6 tourists on their way to the cave, in groups of 2. Around 1 pm. I noticed all the women working in San Pedro on the same field at once. Either the field is communal or everyone helps with each others´fields. Very nice. I noticed that the little kids were supervised by a man while the women worked. I also noticed that most of the buildings in the community enclosed the soccer field. Hmmm.
Illampu was in full glory as I walked back to Sorata. The clouds had cleared while I was in the cave.
The change in vegetation is really intesting. In Sorata, there are trees, shrubs, and flowing streams. By the time you reach the cave, there are cacti, few trees, and the streams are dry. It looks and feels much drier.
There was almost no traffic in the morning. Only 2 motorcycles passed me on my walk to the cave. By the afternoon, traffic had picked up, and there were mini-buses, camiones, and taxis traveling both directions on the road.
I also taught some of the boys how to play hearts last night. It isn´t a hard game, and they picked it up quickly.
The dynamics here at the internado are a little odd. No one really talks to me except Eucebio and Valeria, the little 4 year old. The students are a Little irrisponsible and must be scolded every few days about something. Mostly it´s about doing their homework and keeping their grades up. But it´s also about cleaning up after themselves, doing chores, and such. Typical teenagers I suppose.
The cook helper doesn´t know what to think of me. She never talks to me but looks at me with a kind of apprehensive disbelief.
I have no idea what the other kids think of me. I do know that I am not a good teacher of Enlish. Although I am not trained so what can one expect ?
There is a little dog named Tooki, or Tuki, or Tuky, who was very suspicious of me at first. There is also a very beautiful cat who patroles the diningroom for mice. There are 2 chickens with featherw on their heads that make them look like Moe Howard. And there is a flock of parakeets that make a racket. I like them.
There is a beautiful old foot-powered Singer sewing maching in the dining room.
Someone keeps unpluggingthe refrigerator with my food in it. Which is OK, because there is nothing in there that will spoil in 24 hours in there. I keep plugging it back in. Electricity is expensive here, and I don´t blame whoever it is for disconnecting it, but I offered to keep my food in the main fridge, and the cook said I could keep it in the other fridge. ???
I have spent at least 100 Bs. , a little over $14, on research and school supplies, and have spent hours researching and planning. I have given Ruben a summary of my research and thoughts about the possibility of a solar electric system on the roof here at the internado.
I have been eating 2 meals a day prepared by the cook, and I prepare breakfast by myself. Breakfast is usually an Omelet with chard, fruit, and rice or potatoes from the previous nights´dinner. I have been eating lots of yogurt since it is tangy and sweet.
I love papaya ! I also eat grapefruit and bananas. Here bananas are called Platanos. I don´t know what they call plantains here.
I showed the kids here my leatherman multitool, and they thought i twas pretty cool.
Did you know that when Metallica played in Guate, they charged 700-800 Quetzales for a ticket ? 800 Qz. Is 100 dollars. No-one but the Guatemalan upper class can afford those kinds of prices. Metallica hasn´t had any integrity for at least 15 years at this point.
I´ve been filling my water bottle with boiled tap water. In La Paz it´s a little harder bacause I don´t always have access to a stove, so I pay 4 or 5 Bs for a 2L of water. Here in Sorata it´s defiinitly 5 Bs. One L of yogurt is 10 Bs. There are 7 Bs. to the dollar.
There are 19 students at the internado. 6 or 7 girls, and 12 or 13 boys. I´m not sure entirely who is a student and who isn´t. The majority are in secondary, which is like high school. The rest, maybe 2/5, are in primary, which is like elementary and middle schools.
The internado used to be a hostel, the Hostel Sorata. The sign is still up 5 years after becoming an internado. I think Eucibio said that the sign is a good reference for deliveries and visitors. After 5 years, they are finally making a sign for the internado.
Still having weird constipation issues. I left my Metamucil in Xela. I´ll try to buy some when I get back to La Paz. Actually, there is a pharmacy here. I havent´checked it.