Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snail mail... a whole new meaning

Although I’ve written several letters (well, little cards, actually) I cannot send them to the US because, get this, Guatemala is out of stamps until next month. 

Apparently in Guatemala the government doesn’t organize the mail system, and their stamps are printed in Canada (where there is a backorder of some kind).  It’s still possible to send mail, but you have to take it to the post office itself for a stamp to be printed onto the envelope (rather than the stick on variety). 

In my community the post office open one day a week, and only on random days.  The reason: there is only one employee who does all the deliveries in Sumpango and also mans the store the other day of the week.  For me to mail anything from my community I have the option of walking by the office every day hoping someone will be there.  Since I have class during almost all office hours and I live high on a hill above the center of town, that hasn’t been a very practical option.  Of course, I’m not sure how many other communities even have their own Post Office so I can’t complain too much.

Usually we trainees could send money with a driver from PCHQ to Antigua (nearby larger town) to buy stamps to bring back but that takes us back to square one.

We’re restricted to our own communities for the first three weekends, so I am unable to get to Antigua (where the post office is presumably open on a more regular basis) to have stamps printed onto the envelopes until September.

Once I get the stamps I’m hoping I get to leave the mail at the same office, because I sure haven’t seen any friendly tamper proof blue drop boxes anywhere.

All of this is not a tale of “woe is me.”  It’s just one of many ways I’m becoming more appreciative of that unsung resource that the US is awash in; Infrastructure.  


  1. Don't forget to let me know when/if your first snail mail arrives for you! It would be good to have some idea of how long it takes for things to wend their way through time and space from Montana to Sumpango. Make friends with the postal guy in Sumpango... :) When you have a chance to buy stamps, you'd better stock up, eh?

  2. Is this your very original and creative version of "the dog ate my homework" excuse? :-)