Basswood called me today to tell me Happy New Years. It was so good to hear from him. When he is gone on his trips for six months at a time, he might call once or twice; most of the time he just sends messages via Facebook. The internet connections and computers that he is able to find are not always the best, so the messages that I receive are usually very short. So, it was a real treat to be able to ask him questions and get answers back right away. He said he has tried posting to this blog but something always goes wrong and he loses all that he was trying to write.
He wrote a couple of days ago that he was leaving San Cristóbal to head to Guatemala. But, when he called today he said he found a family that is renting him a room in their house, so he decided to stay a little longer. He plans on starting at the language school in Guatemala on Monday. He figures it will take him about 8 hours to get there by bus. He wants to go to the language school so he can improve his Spanish because they do not speak English at the seed institute he wants to go to. He met someone the other day that has been to the institute, and he is even more excited to get there.
He has been in San Cristobal for about three weeks now and he says they all know him at the market. He keeps going there to see if he can buy a variety of bean he has not seen before. He says at the market they all call him Mr. Bean. (It sounded better when he said it in Spanish.)
All his life people have known him when he goes places... We home schooled him. We used the unschooled method, which basically means, when he was interested in learning something I would do everything I could to make that possible. When he wanted to learn about the history of the town we live in, I would take him to the library where they let him go into a room in the basement where they keep all the old newspapers. (They have them almost all the way back to when the town was founded, so that room is off limits to the public.) One day when Basswood was about fifteen I got a call from the librarian. She said someone was in the library asking questions about the history of Chisholm and she wanted to know if it was all right if they talked with Basswood.
Basswood has always been interested in maps. When he was eight and nine years old I would take him to the city engineers office where the city engineer would show him maps of the towns around and even the old mining locations that do not exist anymore. He would pick a couple of maps and the engineer would print them on their big printer. (Most of the maps were about three foot square.) Basswood would then take them home and spend the next couple of weeks copying them free hand onto 8x11 paper.
One day we went to the City Engineers office and he said he had been waiting for us because he finally got the new city map. While he was explaining to me all the work he had done to get this new map made, Basswood was running his hand over the map. After about two minutes he interrupted the Engineer to tell him that there was an error on the map. Basswood said, "This road is wrong." The Engineer looked at the map and said, "You are right, I will have to fix that."