We made some new friends on our trip. This is Mari. She helps Ronnie with his Spanish, cleaning the cultural center, his laundry, etc. While there she celebrated a birthday. We gave her an American birthday with candles on her cake and singing English and Spanish 'Happy Birthday'. Candles on the cake are not something they do down there.
I mentioned Hector before. He worked for over 20 years in the Los Angeles area doing construction. He's helping Ronnie build his house in Acatenango. Here he is holding up a plant called florifundia. Apparently this plant is perfect for an episode of CSI. He says that if you drug someone with it they will apparently die. Then four days later they'll wake up. Imagine being buried alive and then waking up later! Yikes!
I mentioned that a panaderia opened in the center. Sergio is the bread baker. Because the most people don't have ovens in there homes, they have to buy their baked goods. Every village will have at least one panaderia. The bread is baked and sold out of the cultural center. It is delivered to outlying villages by a deliveryman on a motorcycle. The bakery had only just started when we first arrived and by the time we left two weeks later they had gotten more clients, opened the bakery and were making about 100 quetzales a day. Very promising.
This is Mari's mother. One day she made tamales for us. Her version used potato instead of corn, which suited me just fine. I've never cared for tamales or many corn products like polenta or corn tortillas. She also was nice and did our laundry for us.
Here is Mari with her little daughter, Gemma. When we did the pinata party she was too shy to participate.