Friday, February 10, 2017

Tortuga Village - PASS IT ON, Guatemala - Solar Panel Project

Many villages in Guatemala are off the power grid. Julia Bartlett, PASS IT ON Guatemala, coordinates the acquisition of solar panels and batteries through donations and the subsequent installation in remote villages. This allows the people of the village to have lights at night for schooling, meetings or social activities.

Mike and I were fortunate enough to participate in the 10th installation in the remote village of Tortuga.

It was a great experience. The people were amazing, welcoming and grateful. We believe the majority of the village turned out the morning of our arrival, it was a very special event.

The crew consisted of Richard Villa, Chief Technician, Oswaldo Morales, Technician Especial, Mike Rhea, Driver, Mike and I, Daniel Pinto Pena, the Health Worker and a translator to translate Spanish to K'iche' (sorry but I did not get his name) which is the language of the village.

This is an overview map of Guatemala. We began the journey at Mar Marine on the Rio Dulce and traveled to the village of Tortuga.


We drove approximately one hour from Mar Marine then walked the remainder of the way.


The hike from the road to the village took about 30 minutes.

Mike and the K'iche'  translator.

Richard and Oswaldo.
Men from the village carried the solar panel, battery and supplies. 


The village road.

We arrive at the school where the solar panel will be installed.

 


The two men are the teachers of the school. We presented them with a soccer ball, paper, pencils and a bag of treats for rewards.


They liked the soccer ball. It is wonderful to see a group of people in a community working together and being happy.


The guitar that the boys have is made out of cardboard.  They enjoyed playing it and singing!  Such fun.



Some beautiful young ladies, very shy.


When Richard, Oswaldo and the villagers began the installation of the solar panel and batteries our friend Julio volunteered to give us a tour of his village.  



It was great to see the villagers reaction when we showed them their pictures that we had taken.  Some laughed and some covered their faces very shyly.


This is Julio with his mother, he was very proud of her and his family!


Some very beautiful mother and babies!


We had a fun time with this family, they were very welcoming and helping us to learn a bit of K'iche'


Back at the school the installation is complete and we take an opportunity to pose with the children and family.



View the video below!





Cheers from Kim and Mike on Ka'imi

Monday, December 05, 2016

Zoey - A new addition to the Ka'imi family.

Last May Mike and I were on our walk to San Felipe and found a kitten on the side of the road.  It could barely move!  It looked like her back legs were paralyzed. Mike asked the occupants of the house if we could take her to a doctor and they gladly gave her to us.  She had a tick in her eye, covered with fleas and very skinny.  We took her to the vet in town immediately.  He took the tick out of her eye, gave us flea soap and Vitamin B-12, telling us she was malnourished, anemic and we found she didn't have use of her legs.  We thought that she had been stepped on, but found out later that it was probably a birth defect that effects her right leg.  She can use her left leg but she mostly sits down and shuffles when she runs.

Mike and I took her to Guatemala City to see Dr. Andrade and an orthopedic specialist.  Dr. Andrade is a vet from Guatemala City that comes to the Rio Dulce once a month and cares for his animal patients on their boats.  They x-rayed her, found no broken bones and thought that is was nerve damage caused either by being too tight in the womb or during the birth.  They didn't think there was anything they could do, but told us to keep working her legs and see if they got stronger.  We have been working her legs, but she still can't use them.  She is however, very healthy and very happy!  So Zoey, as we named her, is now the Ka'imi cat!

This is the house where we found Zoey. There is a family who lives here and we see them every morning on our walks. They are always working, we see them collecting fire wood and taking it to San Felipe to sell.  Mike sometimes help the eldest man, Juan, with his wheelbarrow full of wood up the hills.


This is Zoey after her flea bath and a little bit of food.  She had no energy, she layed there and breathed.  You can see the scabs on her legs from dragging them over the rocks and dirt.




Zoey's first bed.


Zoey getting healthier.
The owner of the Tortugal Marina, Daphne, donated a old carpet to us so that Zoey had better traction to use her legs. We had it cleaned and covered our whole salon with carpet.  It helped Zoey to use her good leg.

 One day we felt a bump on Zoey's belly where the umbilical cord would of been so we took her to the town vet.  He thought it was an umbilical hernia and scheduled her for surgery. The next morning we were checking it and found a slim stick coming out of a sore about an inch. Poor Zoey she never complained or cried! We cancelled the surgery.

We think that when she was small she dragged herself around on the dirt and this stick got lodged in her.  When we first got her, we would feel it and thought it was a floating rib or something.  I guess her body was tired of it and got rid of it!  The Dr. put her on antibiotics and it healed quickly.




The stick we pulled out was 2.5 inches long.
Zoey had a reaction to the antibiotics, her message says it all!!

Finally, our little girl feeling much better! She is able to get on the settees all by herself. We made a ramp so she can get on our bed, it is very high up. She loves to look out the back window.
This is Dr. Andrade and his assistant giving her the vaccine shots and rabies shot.  She had two more vaccine shots now she is ready to travel the world!







Zoey also got spayed by Dr. Andrade on our boat! 

Our friend Deborah, sent Zoey some goodies including a life jacet that will help with her swim therapy!  Thank you.

Zoey and her pal Sock Monkey...



Cheers!  Kim and Mike






Friday, February 05, 2016

Fronteres, Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Here are some pictures of our walk to the town of Fronteres from Tortugal Marina.  We usually take this walk early on Saturday morning when the fresh produce comes.  It is the only day to get mushrooms from one of the tiendas, and you have to get there early.

You can see how early it is coming into town, the streets are vacant and the stores are closed.


This is a view of Tienda Reed's from the bridge.  We do a lot of business at this store.


A view of Tortugal Marina from the bridge.  Ka'imi is the 3rd boat from the right.


Coming back over the bridge.


A view of Shell Bay, atop the bridge.


Hotel Backpackers, run by Casa Guatemala, the orphanage on the river.  

Returning to Fronteres, over the bridge.  It is a little later and the traffic is already picking up!



Mike passing one of the many vegetable vendors on the main street.



One of my favorite things to get in town are the fresh made corn tortillas.  There are many vendors selling them as they are a staple for every meal in Guatemala.  They are delicious!


There is a row of street food vendors selling everything from fish to boiled eggs.  We like the chuchitos, which are actually what we call tamales.


Chuchito's and egg for breakfast, yumm!  Mike's is chicken and mine is chipilin.





Cheers Kim and Mike



San Felipe

Well the eating, drinking and lounging by the sea in Roatan and Guanaja took it's toll on our waistlines.  Mike and I decided it was time to take a few pounds off by changing our eating habits and also walking 5 miles a day, 6 days a week!  We have two walks, one to San Felipe and one to the town of Fronteres.  These pictures are our walk to San Felipe.  

We start our walk out of the marina and through the jungle on the bridge that takes us to the street.  The path is beautiful!

 

The next part of the walk is on the dirt road that leads out to the main street.


Here we are on the road to San Felipe, where the Castillo San Felipe is located.



This is a view of the bridge that crosses over the Rio Dulce from the town of San Felipe.


There is a road that circles around the town and a few roads that cross over.





There are also roads that go down to the lake.



We call this house the castle, it's for sale if you're interested.  A dog lives here that barks like crazy every time we pass and scares me!  He is on a leash, but he comes running down to the fence.  A few times he has been off his leash but can't get over the fence, thank goodness.


These are pictures of some of the houses in the town of San Felipe.



Not so sure about the foundation of this house??








Just two of the many tiendas (stores) in San Felipe.



We go up this road, circle the town and come out here to return to Tortugal.  These kids live in the house on this corner.  The little girl was not happy because her sister would not let her come along with her.


Here is their house.


The local playground.


Some pictures of the main road in San Felipe.




The road back home to Tortugal.  In the picture below is Ruby. She works in San Felipe for a gringo.  She walks the dog every morning when she gets to work.


The next two pictures are of a house along the road.  The people here are very nice, we think they sell firewood.  We wish our Spanish was better so we could communicate more.



Interesting contrast of houses, the house below is right next to the house above.


Next to the house above is the Auto Hotel.  There are numerous Auto Hotels throughout Guatemala, and I am sure central america. It is a place which you can bring your date, drive into the garage so as not to be seen and have access to your hotel room.


This house belongs to a family with 5 children, who happily wave to us every morning as we walk by their house.  We occasionally bring them a bag of candy and they get so excited!


Finally, a picture of a dead tarantula on the streets of San Felipe. I have not seen a live one, and hope I never will!



Cheers Kim and Mike




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