I started the volunteer portion of my trip this past week. On Wednesday I arrived in San Andrés Itzapa at Maya Pedal, a cool organization that fixes up used bikes and also makes bicimáquinas – bicycle machines.
We saw one of the machines on Friday – a water pump. I sat on a stationary bicycle and as I pedaled a thin rope was pulled up from the well. Beads strung on the rope were pulled up through a thin tube and the pressure created by their rising brought the water up as well. After about a minute and a half of easy pedaling there was a fountain of water pumping up from the well and spilling in a falling stream into a big plastic tub.
The people here are very pleasant to be around. Bruce is the mainstay, having been volunteering here for about 3 months. Six other folks, including me, have been here for up to two weeks.
Starting volunteer work has been a bit frustrating. Most places require a fee, and some are quite expensive by Guatemalan standards. Also, volunteer projects seem to overwork their volunteers or not have enough work to keep everyone busy.
At Maya Pedal we´re struggling to find enough projects to fill our 6 hour days. There hasn´t been a shipment of used bikes in about a year and our buckets of parts are running quite low. So far we´ve spent a fair bit of time cleaning shop and fixing flats.
We have weekends off and we spent this weekend hiking a volcano… but that´s another story, indeed.
Volunteering but not having work to do has made me miss being home where I could be working on my own projects – my myriad of art projects and my newfound farming projects as I try to decided where and what to grow this year!