Monday, June 28, 2010

Hanging out with Wilson...

on a rainy Sunday.

Tropical Storm Alex kept us basically house-bound all day.


Showing off his new shoes.

Corn flakes.

Teaching me how to eat Corn Flakes.

Mexico lost. Firecrackers go off for Argentina.

And then we lost electricity.

Santa Maria Chiquimula

This past week I was in Santa Maria Chiquimula, Totonicapan. Another trainee and I went to stay with a current volunteer and work with her in her Health Center. The city was great and the break from our formal training was much needed. It was busy but relaxed.

Best happening while in Santa Maria Chiquimula: Andrea, the volunteer, works a lot with the Women's Office in the Municipal government. She took us to the office to introduce us to the employees of the Women's Office and confirm the next day's presentation, at which we needed a Quiche translator. While we were chatting with the coordinator of the Office, a woman came storming in. The woman introduced herself and explained that she lives in one of the farther aldeas of the Municipality. The woman explained to us that there is a man in her aldea who was unfaithful to his wife (shocker) and contracted HIV. Now his wife also has the virus and the people are suspicious that he has passed the virus to other women in the town because apparently he is a huge man-whore.

Understanding that this whole situation was very concerning for several reasons the woman proceeded to try to comfort our worries by telling us that they would be handling the situation by burning the man who brought HIV to the aldea. They wanted to BURN this man to prevent him from whoring around with other ladies and spreading the HIV any further.
This is where the woman got to the jist of her visit to the Women's Office: when they have taken care of' this man, she would like a representative from the Women's Office to present HIV/AIDS education workshops to the people in the town.

To recap:
1. Burn man with HIV.
2. Educate on HIV.

So logical.

Poor Andrea. When we left she was working to coordinate a legitimate HIV testing drive in the aldea to resolve the situation before it can escalate any further. Let's keep our fingers crossed, for the man-whore's sake.

Andrea's dog, Tuk. I am definitely leaning toward getting a dog of my own...

Church steeple.

View from balcony.

Santa Maria Chiquimula at dusk.

Friday, June 18, 2010

For Meredith

Antigua graffiti. Maybe next year, Celtics.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Personal Space

So far I have been pretty good about relinquishing my sense of personal space. I have come to accept that any time I take public transportation, I am more than likely going to be squished into a 2-seater with 3 other people. I am now completely ok with thigh-touching my neighbor on the camioneta. I even look forward to it. Forced intimacy is a great way to make unwanted new friends.

I was in for a rude awakening.

On the camioneta a few days ago on my way to the Health Center a woman sat in my lap. Not next to me. Not thigh-touching. She sat IN my lap. I have had my fair share of cramped bus rides and unnecessary body rub-downs but I never expected to spend my communte with a portly, middle-aged woman in my lap. I was only about 5 minutes from my stop so I sat there and took it...but really, REALLY?! IN MY LAP?!?

By far the most awkward exchange I have had since I got here: Woman sits in my lap- We ride like this for 5-7 minutes- Me to woman: 'Excuse me, I have to get off here.'- She stands up- I scoot by- Me to woman: 'Uhh, adios?'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Corpus Cristi

When I got back to San Luis on Sunday from FBT it was the celebration of Corpus Cristi in our town.

Procession walking out of the church.

The Priest leading the procession.

Children dressed up as angels.

The church in San Luis las Carretas.

One more Catholic holiday down. Many more to go.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Field Based Training

We got back from Field Based Training on Saturday. It was a long and intense week but amazing. San Vicente Buenabaj is insanely beautiful and waaaaay up in the highlands. Super cold. On Sunday we got to our hotel (I use the term ‘hotel’ loosely) in Sija as there is no where to stay in San Vicente. Sija is the strangest city. Nothing open before 8 and everything was shut down by 6….so not much to do.

Monday Samantha, fellow trainee, and I gave a charla to 25 women about natural disaster preparedness. First experience with Quechi translators so that was interesting. Tuesday we did a risk map of the Mercado- unsanitary practices etc.- Wednesday other volunteers in my groups did a nutrition/ cooking class to a women’s group and another presentation on hand washing/soap making. On Thursday we did a 4 hour HIV/AIDS workshop with 50 middle school kids. Reaffirmed the fact that I have little patience with kids. And finally, on Friday, I ended the week with a sexy charla on Diarrhea. It was amazing overall.

San Vicente Buenabaj. A lamb in a field.

Our cooking class.

Group shot.

Walking to the Puesto de Salud.

We got up at 5:30AM to watch the opening ceremony for the World Cup. R Kelly made it all worth it.

Finally, this song is awesome.

Friday, June 4, 2010

M.I.A/ Finca de Café

The week has been hectic getting back to normal after Agatha, classes and now Sunday we leave for Field Based Training. I will be San Vicente Buenabaj, Totonicapán until next Saturday. We are going to visit a current volunteer and will be doing workshops and charlas in her Health Center and in the community. Should be a full week and a good prep for what is to come in the next 2 years! Basically I'm going to be M.I.A. for a bit but I'll be back soon enough.

Today was our last day of language class. My group will be spendng more time in the Health Center and working with schools. We spent our last class at a coffee plantation in Jocotenango. The plantation is also the site of a Mayan music museum and the hasienda on the plantation is used for traditional Mayan texticle production. So it was a super cultural day!


Some bug just chillin'.

Mayan marracas.


Kimberly, Kelly and me

Funny joke the tour guide told:

Q: What do u call 'Repollo' in English?'
A: Re-chicken!
...get it?!?! Jackie, I thought of you.