Friday, April 30, 2010

An Overdue Entry -- Our Ambassador and Building Bridges

Hello all my faithful followers. This is a long overdue blog entry, I know. I have either been very busy or very lazy. The truth is I've been both. I've been lazy about blogging and busy experiencing a few things I will now describe.

First, the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, Stephen McFarland, was in my town taking part in an activity not far outside the pueblo. Afterward he dedicated about an hour to visit with us Peace Corps volunteers (PCV). We had coffee, cake and a good conversation about what we PCVs are doing up here in the Guatemalan highlands. Overall I must say that Ambassador McFarland is very dedicated to his job and is a big supporter of Peace Corps.

Now on to building bridges. I have dedicated much of my time recently to an NGO called Bridges to Prosperity ( They specialize in foot bridges and have projects in Africa, the Americas, and other places on this planet of ours. They have three foot bridge projects in the area where I live. Before becoming involved with them I had no idea how big of an impact a bridge can have on a small community.

At one of the three bridge sites here, the bridge connects two small communities with an aggregate population of about 1,500. There is only one school and one health clinic located in the larger of the two communities. During the rainy season (May - Nov in Guatemala)the kids from the smaller community can't go to school and nobody can get to the health clinic because they are unable to cross the swollen river dividing the two communities. During times of emergency, a complicated labor for example, this bridge makes it possible for the villagers from the smaller town to get the medical attention they desperately need. And it very well can be a matter of life and death.

Bridges to Prosperity is one of the few non profit organizations specializing in foot bridge construction. They've recently been featured in Parade Magazine and you can find the article on their website. It's been informative and fun working with this organization and in the next two months I will help with the construction of two more bridges here in our special little spot in the highlands. Downloading pictures takes a lot of time here where the internet speed is slower than a heard of drunk turtles stampeding through peanut butter. But you can get a good idea what I'm talking about by visiting their website.

I'm only about 6 months away from completing my 2 year Peace Corps service. Whao!!