We climbed off of our third chicken bus, slightly jostled from the 3 and half hour journey, but delightfully content as we had arrived in Panajachel. This town is our last stop in a semi-familiar world, before we continue 3,000 ft up the stunningly green mountains to our destination of Pena Blanca; the town that we will call home for the next 8 weeks. We arrived in Panajachel last night, and retired early to a cheap hospidaje.

      We awoke early this morning and ventured out into the unfamiliar streets in search of our contacts at Grameen Guatemala. With a unique combination of uncertainty, nervousness, and excitement, we strolled the streets discussing the endless possibilities of what this day would bring us. Is there a house actually arranged for us in Pena Blanca? Do we have land to grow on?

       While the answers to our questions turned out to be no, a few hours of wandering the hillsides and explaining our project to several Mayan women in broken Spanish, we were able to rent a house and a plot of land for two months. The real thanks go to Walter and Borhan, two managers at Grameen Guatemala, who were amazingly helpful in negotiating prices and accommodating our odd requests. As one might imagine, it was difficult to explain to these families that the first house they showed us was “too nice,” and that we wanted to be poorer…

        After setting up our living arrangements in the community of Pena Blanca, we travelled back to Panajachel to buy a few simple items that we deemed necessary. We are now completely outfitted with 2 pots, a machete, 2 blankets, 5 pounds of rice and beans, a bag of salt, and a pack of matches. All of the costs will be covered within our budget, but these initial investments will put the first strain on our budgeting diligence.

        Tomorrow morning our bus back up the mountain leaves at 8 am sharp and won’t be bringing us back for 8 weeks. We couldn’t be happier. It only took us a day to get everything arranged, the town is beautifully situated on the mountain side overlooking Lago Atitlan, the people are warm-hearted and welcoming, and we have an awesome house and plot of land. (Our house had three puppies and a disgruntled mom living in it. I wanted to adopt them, but Zach says they will be too expensive to feed or some bullshit…)

        As we stated earlier, our health still remains strong, as do our spirits. Much love to all our friends and family and thanks for reading. For now, we out, but we will try to be blogging on Tuesdays or Fridays (as those are the only days buses travel to Pena Blanca), so check back in from time to time.


6/16/2010 02:39:56 pm

Should have kept the dogs. Zach's just a hater.

6/18/2010 02:50:15 am

SUCH a hater

6/18/2010 01:31:12 pm

I think you should consider a little gambling on the side to raise the money to keep the dogs.. just an idea :)

6/19/2010 06:00:28 pm

zach is a party pooper. glad to hear you guys are alive and well! much love from that other city that doesnt seem to see the end of a rainstorm

6/21/2010 05:34:05 am

hi chris..cindy marcus told me about your journey..good luck! my son landed in ecuador in february for 2 1/2 years with peace corps..amazing so far! best of experiences for you.

6/21/2010 01:55:22 pm

so much hating on zach! now if it had been cats on the line, i would have supported that.
sounds amazing, you guys are so great.

6/22/2010 03:05:43 am

I'm putting Mooks on a plane this afternoon to make up for the lack of dogs. He'll protect you from scoundrels and other beasties. Plus, he can teach you how to forage for food from the trash.

6/23/2010 10:37:27 pm

I agree with Hannah obviously, run a stake on PokerStars for me up in the mountains --> profit --> dogs.

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