This blog reflects my opinions and does not reflect the opinions of the US Government or the Peace Corps

Monday, May 31, 2010

Volcanic Eruptions and Tropical Storms

Some pics of Tropical Storm Agatha and the damage it did in my community:

The big news this week is all the natural disasters hitting Guatemala. Thursday the volcano Picaya erupted. I have not seen any news footage on it or anything but I know some people died. All the ash in the air also shut down the Guatemala City airport. However this was all quickly overshadowed by Topical Storm Agatha that hit. Friday the rain was light all day but then Friday night a continuous downpour started. We were supposed to attend a Mayan Cultural Ceremony but that was cancelled. We also were told by Peace Corps to stay put in our house so I spent the day just reading. I have never seen rain like I saw on Saturday though. It just kept coming. We lost power a few times. The best was when my host mom, Ingrid, appeared wearing a headlamp (I always thought headlamps were an American thing). The Peace Corps office had been in touch all day long. They made the decision to evacuate my town of San Luis but since I technically live outside of town and in a less flood-prone zone I had a choice to evacuate or stay with my family and I decided to stay. The other girls’ houses are much closer to the river and during Hurricane Stan in 2006 all of San Luis flooded. My family told me I am safe and it has never flooded at the house so I was not really worried. It was kind of just one big adventure for me.

Sunday morning I got to see how the storm was actually worse than I thought. I had stayed in my house all day Saturday so I didn’t really have a clue. The morning paper though showed how so far 12 people died and more are missing. The pictures are crazy. A lot of cities all over Guatemala flooded completely. I found out Peace Corps had to evacuate volunteers that live on or near the Pacific Coast. The girls from my group that were evacuated Saturday night had to also spend Sunday night at the hotel since Peace Corps thinks the river is still too high for them to return home to San Luis. The road I live on is windy and has houses on one side and a cement wall along the other that separates the road from the river. About a quarter mile down the road from my house the ground gave out and washed a big chunk of the wall into the river and part of the road washed away. There is also dirt and mini-mudslides all over. All in all it was quite exciting. The Peace Corps also kept sending texts to all trainees and volunteers with updates so that made everything a little more exciting too.

Tortillas Eaten: 100+
Cold Showers Taken: 20+
Times I´ve Been Told I´m Tall: 3
Giant Spiders Killed: 2
Tropical Storms Survived: 1


  1. Kelly, glad you are safe. Sounds like quite an experience, and I am sure you will be able to empathize and sympathize better with the people of Guatemala now that you experienced their life first hand. Also, I am glad you stayed with your family, I totally would have too, it shows how much you care for them, and I am sure it will only deepen the family, sorry this is so corny, guess my counseling skills are impacting my life more than I thought. : )

  2. Hi Kelly, I am glad that you are safe & to have found your blog with info and photos. I'm Ellen's mom and it was very nice to see that you enjoyed her presentation! It is wonderful to see PCV names and what u experienced with them (Ellen doesn't have a blog). Just know that I will keep you in my prayers that u have a rewarding & happy experience.

  3. Hi! I am Alyssa G.'s mom...she is in your group of traineees there in Guatemala now. My, haven't you all seen Mother Nature in action! Hang in there and know all us here at home have all of you there in our thoughts and prayers! Please give Alyssa a hug from her dad and me when you ever get a chance to see her. Stay dry (ha) and stay safe. Abby

  4. Wow.....glad you are safe - and keep a headlamp handy at all times, it now appears. xx Mamita

  5. Chiquita! Can you post a map of the area and show us where you are living? Miss you sister!