Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Guatemala, Day 2

Minerva Temple
I woke up a bit early this morning and went for an hour's walk before breakfast. I wandered over to what turned out to be a somewhat drabber neighborhood. There were lots of kids running to school and people heading to work. I wound up near a structure called the Minerva Temple, which is one of a number of similar structures built around the country in the early 1900's. They symbolized wisdom, I believe. There was an outdoor market next to the temple with produce and meat but I didn't have time to get a good look. I also learned that right around the corner from there is a Walmart, of all things. I am definitely going back to check out the Walmart sometime. I am curious whether the "people of Walmart" phenomenon exists in Central America or whether its just a US thing.

At work today I went through the basics of working with hospital equipment in the developing world - why equipment fails to work and what we can and can't expect to do about it during our short time here. We also had an interesting discussion about the complex dynamics surrounding equipment donations and repairs. For example, apparently a lot of countries in the developing world have programs to educate people on repairing and maintaining hospital equipment, but once trained, those people can make a lot more money in other sectors than healthcare. Our TA was telling us that in Tanzania, where he worked last year, they get so many donations that they often don't bother to repair broken equipment. They know that some do-gooder hospital in the west will be sending them new equipment sooner or later. There was also an interesting discussion around the topics of "what metrics distinguish a country as a 'developing' nation" and "why are some countries poor". Just for good measure, I also threw in a mini-lecture covering what is essentially the first two years of a typical electrical engineering undergrad curriculum, condensed down to about 30 slides.

Nachos for dinner!

Fried banana goodness
Food-wise, we had another pretty good day. We had nachos for dinner and for dessert we had these amazing bananas that were floured, fried, and then garnished with milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Our host mom was telling us about all the different kids of bananas they get in Central America. The ones we had for desert were "bananos de manzana" but there are a ton of others, each with their own flavor. I have made a mental note to taste as many as possible.

Below are a few photos I snapped of the town today. Enjoy!

I want to guess these are walnuts but I'm not sure.

The courtyard at our school

The coffee shop where I drink tasty espresso drinks

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