My PC Project Director (aka my boss) visited my site this last Wednesday. He roared up in his Peace Corps SUV with tinted windows. Also, my official Guatemalan counterpart came (who I hardly ever see let alone work with). We sat down in my house and had a very serious talk about my work, my living situation and all the little things that are going wrong. I had a hard time expressing all my concerns because I did not want to be that complaining volunteer. However, certain things must change for me to remain here.
First, my living situation. I have not written about this on my blog because I know it will make people worry back home. DON’T WORRY! (I DO have my black belt ya know…) My current house is on the main road through town and everyone in my town and every town on the road know that I live here and I also do not have any close neighbors, just cornfields. For the first two months everything was peachy. I had my privacy and I also had plenty of people to go visit when I wanted to. It was exactly what I had wanted in a living situation (minus the fact that I have no latrine). Once the rainy season ended a new problem started. Drunk men, called “bolos” here, started coming to my door in the night. The first time I about had a heart attack as he knocked on my windows and then on my door, around 9pm. I hid under my covers. He was slurring his words outside my door and I knew he was drunk but it still frightened me. I told my neighbors and they told me the next time I needed to call them and they would come to help. The next time came all too soon. This time someone came to my door at 3am. I freaked. I hid under the covers again, as Lubu barked her head off, and called my neighbors. The man continued to knock and in English say, “I am your friend, just let me in.” He finally went away right as my neighbors came. This is a scene I will never forget: all my little indigenous women neighbors in their corte carrying HUGE sticks and machetes coming to my aid. Also the men came but I expected that. One of the women saw the man in the road and ran over to ask him why he was bothering the Gringa. The man responded that “we are friends.” BULLS***!!! I do not know him. He wasn’t even from my town. And 3am to visit your friends…I think not. Aside from these two incidents two other drunk men came knocking and every time my hearts races and I get scared. What if this time he can get in? I knew I had to move. In my head I tried to tell myself it will be okay and I can stay in the house but the more and more I thought about it I must move. I cannot live in fear for 2 years. I will have to give up my privacy and space to go live with a family but at least I will be safe. Today, I went and looked at a room that is in a house of a lady I work with. It is VERY small but I really do not have many options. The worst part is that there is no direct ceiling so it’s a huge house with walls but no room has its own ceiling so let’s all hope it stays mostly quiet with the rest of the family( doubtful…who wants to send me more ear plugs?) I will probably move in after my Christmas vacation.
The second thing we discussed was my work. I am not satisfied with the amount of work I am doing. I want to have something to do most days of the week whether it is a community heath talk or working in the schools. We decided the huge community health talks I am giving now once a month will not work if the town wants to receive projects. I am going to split the town up into three smaller groups and do a health talk every other week with these groups. That means instead of having one health talk a month I will have 6. MUCH better. Once the school open again I will be able to fill my time there as well.
I feel like I am starting over. I will be working in a new way and with different people. I will be living somewhere new. Hopefully, I will be much happier and healthier. I do not know if these situations will improve everything in my site but I can only hope. I am not ready to give up on this community so I have to figure out a way to make it work.
Finally, the countdown until my sister and her fiancé arrive is on…7 days!!!! YEAH!