Monday, July 19, 2010

Real Life Volunteer!

The past few weeks have been insanely busy. First off, I’m a real life Volunteer! My group swore in as Peace Corps Volunteers on Friday. We came to Guatemala as 52 and 46 swore in. It was difficult to see quite a few people leave last week.

After site visits the first week of July, we returned to the Peace Corps office for the last week of training. My site visit was overwhelming but very productive. There is much work to be done. I am working in a very large municipality. Uspantan consists of 186 communities with 12 Health Posts throughout. The far reaching aldeas are hours away. I will definitely be spending my first months in site orienting myself and identifying communities in which to work. I certainly have a lot to choose from. Better than being bored!

The last week of training was bitter sweet. While I think we are all ready to get out into our communities and start working, it will be a few months now before we see each other again.

The swear in ceremony was very beautiful. The Ambassador of the United States to Guatemala, Ambassador McFarland, swore us in as Volunteers. Funny mistranslation story: swear in day was a bit windy and during the opening remarks of the ceremony, the Guatemalan flag nearly fell over. Luckily one of the Directors seated at the front table caught the flag mid-fall before it hit the ground. Not a big deal. After the ceremony I went back to my host family's house for lunch. I proceeded to tell the entire family about this but instead of saying that 'la bandera de Guatemala casi calló' I said 'la pendeja de Guatemala casi calló'...'pendeja' means moron. I told my host family that during the swear in ceremony, the Guatemalan moron almost fell over. Embarassing!

After swearing in on Friday we were, for the first time, allowed to stay some place other than with our host families. Basically everyone stayed in Antigua for the weekend leaving for site Sunday. I think it’s safe to say that after adhering to a 7PM curfew since arriving in Guatemala we aprovechared of the freedom we were finally granted.

Anyhow, I am back in Uspantan finally settling in. In case you were wondering, these are the different means of transportation I take to get to site:

The very classy tuk-tuk

Microbus, with as many people packed in as possible.

Chickenbus. If you have ever wondered what happens to the broke down school buses in the United States that don't pass smog tests- they are shipped to Guatemala and used for public transportation.


  1. And in some countries (read: misogynist Argentina) it can mean a loose woman!

    Glad to see you're doing well, Mary. Congrats!