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equipment help locations people

Maya Pedal

It was quite difficult to find the place as everybody in town seemed to know the organization, but not many its current location. As they moved quarters a couple of times within recent years, i received five different directions before being set on the right path. I was greeted by the three girls volunteering at Maya Pedal almost as i was an expected guest and soon after was walking through the yard among the newly constructed bici-maquinas. Here the newest addition: the washing machine.

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The workshop has most of the tools to transform a pile of old parts into a bicycle again or into pedal powered machines for daily uses, like blenders or grinders.

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The day i arrived turned out to be a special day for Emma and Diana, as they planned to slaughter a chicken for the first time in their lifes. It was a rather quiet affair, at least on the side from the chickens. But the girls grew rather upset with the knife in their hands and it once being on the throat of the animal realizing, that it is more difficult to cut than an onion. But after some crying and some help from the neighbours, the two chickens were soon bled dry before being put into hot water to make it easier to pluck the feathers.

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With Mario, the guy running Maya Pedal, i rode to the city the next day to buy some tools for the workshop. Later i ended up helping at a nearby village to shred the corn before it was fed to the chickens.

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The machine is doing its work since more than twelve years without the need of much maintainance, a time during which Mario was still a volunteer himself. He invited me to his house for lunch before showing me the newly aquired site where the organization will find a new home this year. It is considerably bigger than the current one and comes even with spaces for camping for the occasinaly passing cyclist. The bulding on the right will host the office, kitchen, bathrooms and accommodations for the volunteers.

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If you feel like helping them with a donation or some spare parts or tools you are willing to send to Guatemala you can contact me through the contact page or directly contact maya pedal through their website.

Categories
locations postcards

Lago Atitlan

I left Xela after five weeks and felt like it is a place i might come back to one day. It was a wonderful day to start cycling again. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky and while i was climbing the mountains surrounding the lake along the panamericana, some views could be obtained of the Santa Maria volcano we had climbed just two days before. But once i started my descent on the other side, the fog kept the lake out of my sight for most of the time.

I arrived in San mMarcos in the afternoon, a place popular with people seeking a spiritual refuge. Most places where fully booked, but one guest house had still a place in their dormitorio. The next morning the weather was better and i saw the mountains and volcanoes on the other side of the lake for the first time.

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The streets are really steep around the lake and the signs seem to pay tribute to that.

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The road from Santiago Atitlan is beautiful. A narrow road with little traffic but with lots of flowers and trees along the way that sometimes form a baldachin over your head. On the eastern shore the road climbs again while leaving the lake but offering some last views of its wonderful panaroma…

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and another with the volcan San Pedro in the background.

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I stayed in Patzún for the night before returning to the pan am for a short while the next morning. Antigua being my next destination, i wanted to at least visit a place on the way: Maya Pedal, a NGO located in San Andrés Itzapa.

Categories
locations people postcards

Volcan Santa Maria

We started our tour at five in the morning. Considering the early morning hour, we didn’t feel too tired. After half an hour’s drive with the bus, we got dropped off at the starting point of the trek and began our ascent while it was still dark. Only guided by the beam of the flashlight of our guide. You don’t need to take a guide but in the past, cases of robbery have occured and the people of our school who organized the trip, strongly recommened it. We had a small breakfast at the foot of the volcano and from then on everything was covered in mist and water was dripping from the surrounding trees like rain. The fog was so thick, that after a while we weren’t hoping for good views anymore. But about half an hour before we reached the top, there was a brief burst in the fog and clouds and we could see the surroundings for the first time during the day.

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We arrived just in time on the top to see the neighbouring volcano Santiaguito erupt a fountain of dust and smoke.

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By then the weather was perfect and it lasted until we started our descent when the clouds closed in around us again. The lava dome of Santiaguito is actually a side cone of the Santa Maria volcano, which formed itself after the massive eruption in 1902. We spent more than an hour watching the surrounding mountains and other volcanoes like the ones around Lago Atitlan as well as the highest peak in central america, the volcan Tajumulco. A little later shreds of clouds were swirling over ours heads while the landscapes around us were covered underneath a sea of clouds.

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We took some photos of the group before starting on our way back. In the evening, everbody felt exhausted but still we agreed that it was well worth the effort.