I have now been in Guatemala about a week! We are already deep into training. More or less my days Monday through Friday, and sometimes Saturday, are split between Spanish class in the morning and some type of technical training in the afternoon. I am in a group with 4 other women and we all live in San Luis Las Carretas. Every day we meet for class at 8am at one of our houses. We don’t do anything like a traditional class since we are more advanced so our focus is on conversational Spanish. In reality we just sit around and shoot the breeze and talk about everything from prostitutes to the supposed end of the world in 2012 (which by the way the Mayans here explained that, no, the world is not ending, it’s just starting a new era). Our teacher is Chepe and he is awesome! He lives in a nearby town of Pastores and rides his little moto everywhere. He also has a lot of good information about culture and customs. After class I walk home and eat lunch around 12:30pm and then it’s back to either more class with Chepe or a meeting with one of the Healthy Homes technical trainers. Yesterday the group from San Lorenzo came down and 10 of us met with Caroline who talked to us about figuring out a community’s needs and making sure it’s the people of the communities who are making the decisions.
Today we had class at Dona Lydia’s casa and did an exercise where we had to listen to a Guatemalan song and then put all the jumbled lyrics in order on paper…not easy! I am also taking it upon myself to work on my grammar outside of class on my own because in comparison to the rest of my group it is terrible but I am getting better and I can speak and understand everything and that’s what is important. In the afternoon we got picked up by the PC and all the Healthy Homes volunteers met in San Antonio Aguas Calientes for a common session. We discussed public health and what it means here in Guatemala. The statistics here are staggering:
-about 70% of population lives in poverty
-leading cause of death among children is pneumonia and diarrhea
-90% of water in Guatemala is contaminated
-the poorest country in Central America
The stats can go on forever like this. It is overwhelming to learn it all in one day. Needless to say there is plenty of work ahead of me.
Other than class I do a lot of studying and hanging out with the family. I have successfully made Carmila the baby stop crying a few times so that is good! She is so cute and already getting big. Cruz and Ingrid like to do things so yesterday we went to another little town and they had some street food. I tried to politely decline as I do not think my stomach is up to the challenge of street food just yet. I will try to start bringing my camera with me a few places so I can get some pics up here! Hasta luego!