Monday, March 22, 2010

Bus Strike in Guatemala

Today, we woke up completely exhausted from our weekend trip to Monterrico (more on that later this afternoon), dragged ourselves through the morning get-ready routine, and then heard during breakfast:

"No hay gente arriba."

"What do you mean there are no people upstairs?" (The volunteer houses are set down on a hillside on NPH's campus. We use "arriba" or "upstairs/up there" to mean the school and office buildings at NPH.)

"I don't know. Something about the buses. There's no one upstairs. There's no school today. The kids are all outside playing soccer, and it's 8 a.m."

As it turns out, the camionetas (our beloved chicken buses) have gone on strike today. For most people (I'm a little less felt like we had transportation strikes nearly every week in Athens haha), this is crazy. This hasn't happened in years in Guatemala, and if you've been following my blog you know that the camionetas are the main way everyone gets around the country. A bus strike means a serious shut-down.

So today, no teachers, no classes, and hardly anyone in the office. It's sort of eerily quiet at work today. (Yes, sadly, I am at work. I can't really use the bus strike as an excuse when I could throw a rock at our house door from my office desk. Bummer.)

According to the Prensa Libre, Guatemalan's main daily paper, the bus companies have gone on strike to demand higher pay and more security (Guatemala has a bad reputation for thieves holding up bus drivers and passengers). I get that they want some protection against roadside robberies, but I don't completely understand the strike demands. The camionetas of Guatemala are run by private bus companies -- who make their own rules (including what they charge us, how many of us they will cram onto one seat, and how fast they'll take the hairpin turns). I'm not exactly sure who they're aiming these demands towards -- the goverment?

Anyway, that's your Monday morning update from me! Check back later...I'm about to blog about our beach weekend spent playing with baby turtles. :)

1 comment:


Hello Carrie, I'm Wendy Villalta, from Guatemala, and have translated for friends of the orphans, I'd like to do a little more here in Guatemala, if it is possible please let me know. contact me at: or 56209509

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