|To all my dedicated readers:|
Please pass on that my Condo is now available for rent, ready for immediate move in. $550 month, includes all appliances (Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, fridge, 2 A/C units), 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, pool, private parking... most of you know all this, but please pass it on!
Oh and Britt, sorry I never responded to your last comment, I just wanted u to know how much I appreciate such kind words!
Guatemala has survived the full cycle of daylight savings. We went back an hour a few days ago, and from what I can tell so far, the confusion is gone :).
Since we've last spoken, world, I have been elected as the VAC representative for my "state". I can't tell you how honored/excited I am at that. What is VAC? It stands for Volunteer Advocacy Council - we're sort of like the union rep's between the volunteers and the admin, making policy changes (well trying), and just trying to make the volunteer experience even better for our peers. There about a dozen of us, and we serve for a year. We're also in charge of a few social events from time to time, and keeping good communication amongts the volunteers. It's hard to really sum it up, but basically we're just trying to make things happen.. hence the word "Advocacy". I'm psyched. We had our first meeting a week or so ago, and what a great group of people to be working with.
Plus, I finally have my peace corps sweatshirt.. doesn't fit me the best, but I'm just so damn proud to have something with the peace corps logo on it. I wont lie, I'm proud to be a PCV, and to have that is like a proud policeman finally having his badge. Sounds silly, I know, but thats me.
Last tuesday I was also honored to hold a training in my site for the new group of muni volunteers, and that was a good time. Another great group of people - this new muni group will be able to make some reall positive changes here. The training was suicidally boring for the first hour or two, as the organization I invited in to train the new "city council" on laws and such put us all to sleep. I actually had to cut him off, as I had a presentation to give and the city council members and the trainees were almost dead. I provided a training that I created myself, and thank god that woke everybody up, got them re-engaged, and set the stage for the rest of the day. The rest of the day, we pretened that first hour and some never happened, and I was able to share a little bit about my job here, and my town, and I took them to a beautifl village to meet with some indigenous woman for a little while. It was a great time.
Right now, the church is practicing their music. They've now begun experimenting with harmonizing music, and, well, its interesting.
|As long as I'm waiting for the afternoon, and apparently nobody knows what time it is today (rumor has it we went back to normal time, an hour back, but nobody is for sure right now) I figured I'd try and use the bandwidth while I have it and upload more photos.|
Also, I forgot to share with you all that I HAVE BEEN IN COUNTRY NOW JUST OVER A YEAR!!!! Aug 31 was my anniversary. Wohoo!
This first one is from a beautiful lake surround by like three volcanoes.... SO Gorgeous over there.
This is is from the same area, but from the coast. I tried to be artsy.
This one is the 4th of July party we had at the "Marine House"... its where the special marines live, 6 of them, that are charged with protecting the embassador. I wanted to put a pic of him on there partying with us, but maybe I shouldn't.. never know what I can get in trouble for. Good party though. Guiness for only 20Q!!!! In antigua, it costs 50Q!
My girl (best friend here, not girlfriend) Lisa and I
Hmm, I think thats all I really have for things I've taken since I've last mailed a CD home. Of course I have more of the volcanoes, the party and my friends, but ask me when I'm home for Xmas and we'll share photos and stories.
My Home made bread. Great quick recipie thanks to my sis.
Home made pizza! All this is done in my nice toaster oven.
Brooke smashing garlic on a piece of concrete. I know I will die for putting this one on.
|I can't sleep tonight. I'm not sure why, but I'm sitting in the Huehue crash pad, two hours from my site, en route to take my other bus for 5 hours to the capital tomorrow. Why? Because I have to poop in a cup. I know, it excites me too. Apparently I have some friends that have joined me in my belly, and frankly they're a bit picky about what I feed them. I learned they dont like spaghetti - they shoot that right out. Coffee seems to upset them too, which in turn upsets me because as all of you know, in these vains flows nothing more than pure sweet smelling coffee. Red blood has disappeared long ago. |
So yes, tomorrow I share my poop. I'm not feeling all that crummy all the time, but after about a week of this crappiness, I figured I might as well make the best out of the best damn health plan I'll ever have... and poop in a cup.
The next week will be sort of make it up as I go... friday is our fourth of july, so I'll be in the capital with my girlfriends family, not kicking their butt's in snorta because as I write this I realize I forgot that. Woops.
Now, I have the daunting task to try and remember what I have done in the last however long since I have updated. My sitemate is now long gone, working as a cook in a high scale restaurant.. he tells me he even gets to wear a tux. Sounds sexy. With him gone, life for me in my town really seemed to change completely. The entire time I was there, everybody was still going to him for everything. He was they guy - he was the one that has been there 1.5 years before I ever showed up. I'll admit, I was getting a wee jelous.
When he left, it was almost immediate, next day recognition of me. "Hey, theres that OTHER gringo, lets make friends!" And within days, I kid you not, I finally became a part of that community, in the way I was dreaming of the entire 6 months prior. I used to leave my site every weekend to come here to the crash pad, but now I leave only about once a month because I absolutely LOVE it in my site.
Just as a quick mention, Im now on VAC, which is pretty much like I am the "statewide" union rep for the volunteers in this state... i represent them to the admin. I'm psyched.
I'd update you on my projects, but you all know what I'm working on, and you all know that the pace of everything here is slow... so I'll just say, "Still working on it." Still waiting to hear from vets without borders - the entire proposal is complete, now they're just waiting on the green light for funding. What I found amazing, bless her heart, is my contact in Canada for this said even if they dont recieve the funding for this project, she'll raise the funds herself to come down. That is a wonderful woman.
In regards to the school, same old same old... I've now presented it to another group of people related with a UN project, and got thier support... I'm not sure if i mentioned before that I met with the ministry of education on the "state" level here and garnerd their support as well... so its all in place, now I just need to host some meetings to get it going.
Several weeks ago I had a WONDERFUL visit with one of my best friends in the entire world. I love it when I can share what this life here is like with my real world friends because frankly, you can read this till your heart turns green, but theres things here that just need to be seen. You can't fully understand this all until you sit on the edge of my porch drinking a beer as the clouds just hover over the houses and cling to the tips of the mountains that surround my town. You have to clench the bus seat for your life as you ride the bumpy, windy, narrow dirt road to my village hoping you dont fall off the edge when you pass another vehicle around a blind curve. You have to again share a beer or two on Wednesday night as the most horrible church singing you can ever imagine is blasted over a well past its prime loud speaker. Its things like those that remind me, and those that visit me, why it is that we do what we do: It's because we're searching for something, perhaps ourselves, and sometimes we need to be completely removed from whats normal for us in order to find a glimpse of what it is we might be looking for. Am I finding myself? I'm finding new bits and pieces that I hope to hold onto forever, yes... I'm discovering things about myself that I thank god I was given this opportunity so that I could find those.
The nasty singing from the Wednesday night church service is just a reminder that I'm not in kansas anymore. It reminds me that different is good, different is OK.. different is exciting, albeit not always seemingly tolerable. Different is a necesity that puts us on the other side of things for a moment to show us the world that would have otherwise sliped through our fingers.
If I was still sitting in Appleton, I would have never been here to take the five hour, up-mountain trek with Yolanda inbetween two villages to supervise a literacy teacher who decided not to work that day... I would never have been so deep inside those mountains to see things that tourists dont even see if I was still sitting in my condo back home watching comedy central. I wouldn't have have showered that day in a freezing cold waterfall because the sweat was burning my eyes so much, and attractcing so many mosquitoes I had to just jump in, balls to the walls, and bath right there in the mountain.
If I was spending my afternoons at the Copper Rock, I would not have had the old man kiss me on the hand last week when I was able to locate his son's dead body in the US, after accidentally calling the son's secret lover in Mississippi and hearing her story about the child they had together who now has to walk around with a pin in his leg from the car accident he was in which killed his father... she told me how she has no job, no money, and now without the deceased son, she is scared for the first time in her life. I tried to get her in contact with her county's social services, but I doubt she'll go.
If I was throwing a pool party, I would not have been there when my friend, one of the strongest spirited men I know, called me crying today because he doesnt' think he can take life anymore. I would not have been there to talk him into keep going, that perhaps he needs to be back hom in the US, if I was not in Guatemala right now, at this very moment.
I'm not asking to be patted on the back for those antecdotes... they're just glimpses of the life I have here... Its not the work I'm doing in the office that makes me feel like I'm making a difference.... I joined PC to make a difference somehow, not to have an office job. Its the favors I pull for those here that get to the true spirit of this all.
With all my love
Enjoy some photos