View from the top of San Frnacisco El Alto
Susie and Me!
Susie enjoying the view
The Church with the remains of market day in front
Last Wednesday I went on my IDA (Independent Directed Activity) trip with Susie. We visited Anna who lives in San Francisco El Alto, Totonicapán. Peace Corps did not provide transportation so we had to get there on our own. I traveled there with Susie, Misty and Mary and we got ourselves on the right buses and held on for dear life as the camioneta sped up huge mountain passes. I believe the camionetas defy gravity a bit because all laws of physics would say that the speed at which the drivers take those turns should make the camionetas flip over but they never do. I just brace myself and hold onto the seat ahead of me. Also, since Guatemalan usually sit 3 to a school bus seat it is usually better to get the middle or the window so you don’t accidentally go flying into the aisle at any time. After three hours of this we switched buses and Susie and I headed to meet Anna at her Health Center. The rest of Wednesday we mostly just hung around and prepped for our charlas the next day.
Thursday started with a hygiene charla to a Mi Familia Progresa group (a Guatemalan government organization). Susie read the story Mariquita Cochinita about a dirty girl who gets sick from not washing her hands. I acted out all that happened to Mariquita. The women loved it, especially when I have to go the bathroom in the campo. It was nice to get a few laughs out of such quiet, shy women. In the afternoon we went with Anna to an aldea named Palemop to a meeting with health promoters. Anna is training the promoters on how to give health talks and work within their communities. Susie and I gave two parts on the importance of being a health promoter and also about the Experiential Learning Cycle. Both parts went well and I think the women responded well to the information. There were a few parts during the meeting that all 16 Mayan women would not agree and they would start talking a mile a minute in Quiche and everyone talking over everyone else, just like a group of American women.
Me as Mariquita Cochinita using the campo as my bathroom
Germs on my hands
The ice breaker with the Mi Familia Progresa group
Friday morning Susie and I gave the same Mariquita Cochinita charla to another group of women with Mi Familia Progresa. The rest of the day was spent watching World Cup matches! España took down Chile!!!!! After that we just read and then walked around the town to check out the view.
Saturday morning we got up early to head back to Antigua in time to watch the US vs. Ghana game. We ended up on a camioneta that was hauling so fast we made it in about an hour less than it took to get there. We watched the US game and I was so sad to see the US get eliminated after a game plus two overtime periods. Now I am hoping Spain can pull out the whole thing!
Sunday I got up early and headed to Guatemala City with my family. A good chunk of Ingrid’s (my host mom) family came too. We were piled into two cars with two babies in tow. As a PCV, Guatemala City is actually off limits to due the violence, robberies and kidnappings but I was allowed to go since I was going with my family. We went to a few supermarkets and then just hung out at one of Ingrid’s brother’s house. The real excitement came when we went out to lunch and I ordered what I thought would be a seafood stew but I didn’t think about the fact that here they give you ALL of the animal. I had a bowl full of clams, half a fish body with skin and tail and all, full body shrimp that kept staring at me with those creepy eyes and tentacles and then to top it all of a huge crab just floating around. Where do you start with all that? My family just laughed at me for expecting clean shrimp and just pieces of seafood. How naive I am to Guatemalan food! After lunch we went to a good old fashioned Open House and looked at some town homes. I’m not sure why exactly but we all piled out of the cars and walked through. The homes were very nice and modern and nothing I am expecting to live in while I am here.
Other exciting news from the week…
-BUGS! I somehow have flea or mosquito bites all around my waist and on my face! I look like I have some disease. Just lovely.
-BRONCO NATION! I saw a Guatemalan man walking down the road with an orange Boise State Bronco Nation shirt on!
-SITE ASSIGNMENT!!!!!!!! Thursday morning I will find out where I will be spending the next 2 years of my life! Check back Thursday! I’ll try to put up a map too of where I’ll be!!!
Me, Shannon, Kim and Lindsay one day in AntiguA
This is a giant poster hanging at my health center...note the kid in the back in the white OREGON STATE t-shirt!