On Friday the 13th, the staff of Maya Pedal threw us a Valentine´s day party. It was supposedly tailored to Palo´s need to leave early for livingston (8 hours on the bus). We were told it would begin at ten. But really what that meant was that they would show up closer to elven and have us help them get ready for the party. For three hours.
Palo left in a little bit of a huff somewhere around 2:20.
It was a fun event, full of festive decorations, confetti throwing, games and traditional food.
The food was really delicious, much better than the stuff you´d buy at a stand, it was even better than the stuff you get in local restaurants. But when i saw them preparing the food i new it would be a problem, they didn´t disinfect anything, and grilling didn´t seem like enough. But they threw us this party, and it was one of those say-no-and-you´re-a-jerk situations. Its really unfortunate because those of us with weak North American stomaches get forced into eating stuff that we really oughtn´t to. I´m going to try to gently tell Carlos and Johana that i can´t eat anything they offer me, i hope they understand.
We were all asked in advance to have two things ready for the celebration. The first thing was a game, but it turns out that this could also be a story, joke, or talent. In order to decide who would go we passed a balloon around the circle and when Carlos, who wasn´t looking, said stop, that person had to go. Anneliese was first.
Very nice bigote, Anneliese. When mustaches come back into syle for women, you´ll be leading the pack.
Erin caught ten raisins in a row in her mouth.
Palo did a hand stand for about thirty seconds.
Johana told us the story of Green Eggs and Ham in Spanish (from memory). No one seemed to catch it but me, not that i understood every word, but i got huevos verdes (green eggs) and jamon (ham). I had everyone play a game called king frog, where you make animal montions in order to become the enviable king frog.
Johana´s little girl, Anjelie, was a real mix of emotions all day long. She´d go from being really happy and laughing to screaming and crying. Sometimes it wasn´t even clear what she was all upset about, she´d just burst into tears. She´s a really odd little girl, none of us understand her. She´s very doll like, in her size and features, but mostly in the cold, unwavering stare that she normally gives. She´s shy, but not a run away shy, more of a i won´t show you any emotion kind of shy. I remember one day she was under a chair playing, i bent down to make silly faces at her and she just looked at me blankly. She didn´t move, she didn´t blink, just constant emotionless eye contact. It wasn´t until i left the room that she started crying. I´ve decided that she and i are going to be friends, which is actually coming along pretty well- i got her dancing one day, and she now lets me pick her up and tickle her. If i´m successful, i´m pretty sure i´ll be able to befriend any small child.
The second thing that we were all supposed to have for the festivities was a secret santa gift. Palo and i thought this meant it would be a total secret who the gifts came from, lending both of us a false sense of security in our supposed anonymity.
Anneliese and Erin got, respectively, lacy underwear with an awesome "flight of the conchords" inspired card (a funny new zealander acting/singing group) and then a Canada patch, fake rose, and cartoon super hero mask.
Carlos got a nice polo shirt. While Johana got a really cute heart crown (there was also one for Anjelie- who erupted again when it was attempted to be put on her head) I´m sorry to say i don´t have any pictures of this awesome pair of crowns.
I got a really awesome gift, probablly the nicest one in the whole group. Carlos gave me a sweet hand knit bracelet and belt. The belt won´t fit any of my north american pants, but i think its supposed to be more decorative anyway. They are amazing gifts, i really like them. In fact, i like them so much i put them away almost immediately. (So they won´t get dirty in the shop). If you´re wondering why i´m laughing above its because when i unwrapped the present, it was acutally a box of head and shoulders. To explain, i haven´t showered in... a while. My hair at this point can stand up straight, it even gets a funny elvis curl in the front. Clearly, i take water conservation very seriously.
Okay best for last. Or maybe worst. Here goes.
I took the secret santa thing literally. And was really hoping i wouldn´t have to own up to this one- it would have been a lot funnier when it could have been from any of us. But, in any event, i bought Chris some condoms- valentines day, get lucky, ha ha. But the funnier part was that there are these ridiculous Brahva Beer posters everywhere (i mean everywhere). They have these plastic american-looking women on them showing way too much skin. We happened to have one of these in the building, and i took the liberty to abscond with it and transform it into a box. Emphasis on the plastic.
I added the santa, mostly for its creep value, but also in the spirit of the gift giving. If you can´t read what he´s saying its, actually, if you can´t read it, i´m not going to write it out again.
It was funnier for everyone else than Palo and me (Carlos thought it was soooooo funny), frankly i think we were both a little embarassed. But he took it like a champ.
Maya Pedal is an organization located in San Andreas Itzapa, Guatemala that designs and fabricates bici-maquinas (bike machines) for distribution to rural Guatemalan farmers and workers. The mission of the organization is to "contribute to the conservation of the environment, the health of the Guatemalan people and the productivity of the local economy."
Its a terrific place to volunteer at- we highly recommend it! To find out more about volunteering, please contact one of us. Our emails are listed below.
You can also visit their website for more information: