Tuesday, 4 March 2014

"I Am Not a Handyman… I Am a Martin"

You probably have realized by now that February has passed, and March is upon us. It actually has been for a little while now. But as promised, here is the “regular” blog post for the month of February.

In A Nutshell…

The fact that it is now March means that I have officially finished a full month of teaching. February counts as a full month even though it has fewer days than most. My experience as a teacher has been interesting to say the least. I can honestly say that I’m enjoying it, but it also has its challenges. Some days, I wonder why I am even trying to be a teacher, and other days, I am such a good teacher that I have to stop and admire myself (this only happens on Saturdays and Sundays). I think I should have gone to Faith Builders like all the good teachers before coming to Guatemala. The good news is that I actually feel more “useful” being a teacher than a “regular” VS boy. Other VS boys like Andrew Brubacher and Jerry Hoover fixed cars and built houses and did all kinds of different “handyman” things. I, however, am not a handyman. I am a Martin. I can change the jug on the water cooler, put WD40 in door hinges, and drive people to the clinic to catch the bus, but that is about it. That is probably why they made me a teacher. We don’t know who they are or what they eat for breakfast, but if a teacher is what they want… then a teacher I will be.

One of the highlights of the past month as far as teaching is concerned was Valentine’s Day. For something different, grades seven, eight, and nine went uptown to the “cancha sintetica” (soccer field with fake grass) for a couple of hours. Soccer is so much more fun on fake grass. Before my students left the school, I gave each of them a cool snake balloon from a box I received from two very special friends in Canada almost a year ago. They were so delighted with their snake balloons that they started hitting each other with them! Only Mynor was a little disappointed because he got stuck with the pink one. Then, at the end of the day, we had cake and coke. Any day that has cake, coke and soccer is a good day. Later in the evening, Waneda, Jason, Steph, and I had a little hot apple cider and turtle cake party. I’m not sure why exactly it’s called “turtle” cake, but I have a theory. It should be eaten slowly, like a turtle, because it is so magically delicious.

On February 9th, the Woodlawn workgroup arrived. They were twelve altogether… two married couples, four guys, and four girls. They came to work on the second level of the school. The classrooms upstairs lacked paint, window grates, electricity, ceilings, and more. They worked really hard for the two weeks that they were here, and pretty much finished everything that needed to be done. It was a lot of fun hanging out with Jason Bauman again. We were in Guatemala together for the first month of my term. So he “broke me in” you might say. I accuse him of trying to make my first month in Guatemala as miserable as possible. I don’t actually think that was the case. If it were, he would have failed, because we had fun together, and I kind of missed him when he was gone. Driving into the flowerbed with the bike is just more fun with him on the back.

On Thursday afternoon, (Feb 20th) the group headed back to the city to fly home the following day. Douglas wanted me to come along to help drive the van on the way back. When we were loading up the luggage, we decided that it was going to be very squished with everybody and their luggage packed into the van. Since the box truck that belongs to the mission in the city was in El Chal needing to be taken to the city anyway, we decided to put all of the luggage in it. We left at 2:30 with Jud and I in the box truck, and Douglas with the rest of the group in the van. About forty-five minutes into the trip, we hit a traffic jam. We soon discovered that the road was blocked due to a protest of some kind. It had been blocked since 6 o’clock that morning and wasn’t going to open until 7 o’clock that evening. Due to the heavy traffic, we thought it would be a pain for both of the vehicles to get through and still stick together. So the group squished into the van and I was sent home. They eventually made it through, and arrived at the airport at about 3:00 the following morning. Although there was some uncertainty for a while, everything worked out in the end. I was glad that I was able to make the first 45 minutes of their trip to the city more comfortable.
Last group picture with Neil's for a little while

Another thing that happened this month (well… not quite, but almost) was that Neil’s left for the states. That, of course, was a little sad for everyone. They are a really cool family, and they fit in really well here in El Chal. It is sad saying good-bye to your temporary family for a year. They weren’t as cool as my real family… but they actually came pretty close. We will miss them a lot, and may God bless them as they adjust to life in a different country.
Yup. We will miss these people


>>Neil’s farewell. On the Saturday before Neil’s left, the staff took the afternoon off and went to Santa Elena. We visited a lookout, ate supper beside the lake, and played soccer. The only part missing was the cake.
>>The baptism. It was amazing seeing seven young people dedicating their lives to the Lord. Simply awesome.
The group with hermano Isaias and hermano Esteban
>>Valentine’s day. Because of all the previously mentioned things and also because there was a phone call somewhere in there.
>>Having John’s over for supper. John Schertzer and his family came to El Chal to visit Stephan’s for a few days. A couple of times we had them over for supper at the mission. They were so funny! It was like free dinner entertainment!  

Not so Highlights…

>>Matt on the phone. A guy named Matt came with two other guys (Darrel and Leroy) to help Benj with his new house. They slept at the mission house. One night, Matt went outside to talk to his girlfriend after everyone else was asleep. Unfortunately for him, the door swung shut and automatically locked. He spent the night sleeping on some bags of cement in the school. Moral of the story… don’t be far away from your girlfriend.   
>>Collision in kickball. Erwin and Edix both were running for a fly ball. They ran right into each other, with their heads colliding, the ball dropping, and the batter (kicker?) easily scoring. Luckily everyone was okay. 

Top 5 Quotes…

“I wish I wouldn’t have been such a hero with those window grates, but I was anyway.” – Stephan

“I want a hot fudge sundae without the ice cream.” – Justin Schertzer

“I hope that you are fine.” – Profe Erick

“Last night, I thought I was having a terrible nightmare, until I realized it was a reality.” – Javin Martin

Timmy: “Who owns that annoying turkey?”
Jason: “The only way to find out for sure is to drive over it.”

WOW from Ricky…

>>”Doing something quietly” in study hall can apparently mean studying the globe or perhaps drawing your friend that is sitting beside you, and it can soon become “Doing something noisily.”

>>Playing soccer on cement can rapidly destroy dress shoes.

>>He who has a girlfriend, should have keys to the house as well. 

>>Guatemala should try daylight savings time this year… just for fun.

More to Add…

The good thing about the old family leaving is that I new family comes! Douglas and Kristina are the new house parents for now, and I’m sure we will get along just fine. Also, my brother is coming in less than a week! That is exciting. Have an excellent March everyone!

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