Over the short period in which I was in La Taña, Guatemala, this past April, I was fortunate to share a lot of great moments with newfound friends. One of my most vivid memories is of working with Manollo, a local stone mason who was hired by the village to work full time with us, the visitors, in the construction of their pedestrian bridge. In the picture below, Manollo is proudly showing off the square jig (escuadra) which he and I built. This jig was used to ensure that all the support rungs suspending off the main cables would be properly spaced and squared as the decking boards were fixed into place.
Manollo’s thirst for knowledge impressed everyone by eagerly engaging in any of the variety of tasks taking place each day. While I was proud to be able to show him a few methods to ensure that our jig was indeed square and accurately spaced, I had no doubt who was the teacher that day. Manollo is someone who grins ear-to-ear whether knee deep in concrete or scouring through seemingly foreign blueprints simply because he is being given the opportunity to learn. I’ll be sure to remember in Haiti that we, the foreigners, aren’t the only ones with solutions to Haiti’s quantum tasks ahead.