Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday November 6th San Lucas, Guatemala

You may have wondered why I started sharing our daily menu. Barb Fay said she was interested and suggested my sharing them. With today journal I am going to attach a picture of this mornings breakfast plate. It you will see two Guatemala enchiladas; composed of a small tortilla covered with a mixture of cabbage and beets, some meat and then topped with two slices of boiled eggs. Quite colorful and delicious. We had lunch on the lake trip at one of our stops which I will tell you about later.

We started with the day with our morning devotion Luke 14, the Parable of the Great Dinner. We had a lively discussion but agreed that all are welcome but many of the so called friends and more proper invited guest had other obligations and sent their regrets. Think it over a bit if you have the time.

We left for our boat trip around 9:00 am it was sunny and a bit breezy so I wore an over shirt at least for the first of the voyage. We had packed our rain gear just in case. Fortunately it was not needed. The first stop was a more of a tourist destination. It is very apparent that San Lucas is more impoverished that many of the other communities around the lake. I asked Candace about it and she said that it San Lucas was more off the main roads and harder to get to. That seemed strange in that the other communities, at least from the lake view, appear to be more dependent on water transpiration but I guess that not the case. Lou and I discussed this in relation to Colorado where the counties which have lots of tourist are quite wealthy while those without are more destitute.

Our second stop was most enlightening. Candace took us to two cooperatives, one for coffee and one for textile weaving. I had been to a coffee plantation in Costa Rica but this was far more interesting. A group of coffee farmers join and sell their coffee to the cooperative where it is processed and then sold to importers. The farmer is guaranteed a fair and consistent price for his harvest, even more so than what you find in the fair trade coffee program. The processing is quite complex and when done right it makes a world of difference in the quality of the coffee. This coffee is organically grown and puts the cooperative at some disadvantage when it comes to quantity over quality. We tried their coffee. I had a cappuccino which was very favorable. They also served us lunch, fried chicken, rice and of course tortillas.

Our second Cooperative was even move interesting. It is run by a group of women who raise their own cotton, spin it into thread by hand, dye it with local substances which gives it a more natural look as opposed to the more colorful weaving of the other communities. The lady who spoke was quite attractive and spoke very good English. While spinning the cotton into thread Betty asked her how long it took her to learn the process. She said about three years and she started when she was eight. She is now twenty one but claims that the older women who have been doing it much longer produce a higher quality of thread. I have some pictures of her spinning and I will try to attach a copy.

Our third stop was the community where the more resent civil war started. In 1980 a group of farmers were shot by the military while they were working in the fields. Others sought sanctuary in the church under the protection of the priest who incidentally was from Oklahoma City. The military did not respect the sanctuary and he too was assassinated. There is a memorial at the church commemorating his martyrdom We took a took took to the top of the hill to visit the church then walked back down the hill through the market to the boat.

We arrived back at the hotel without encountering a drop of rain. At 5:00 we had a cooking class with Marbila. I have just returned from the class. She was preparing plantains which had been cut up and mashed with some cinnamon and vanilla. She added some sugar-water and mixed it together. In addition to the plantains, Marbila had cut up some black beans in the blender and cooked them into a pasty mixture. We formed the plantains into balls then made an indention in the center and added the bean mixture. The plantain pastry was closed around the beans then light rolled in flour. They each ball will then be fried and served to us tonight. I made two of them before returning to finish this journal.

Tomorrow we will work again at the San Gregorio site and finish setting the reinforcing columns and start on the rock foundation. It should go pretty quickly because we have been making good time.

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