Monday, March 14, 2011


Life has been pretty busy as I try to cram in all my obligations before Sarah and Meredith come to visit. Nevertheless, everything has been moving along and time has been flying much more quickly than I ever expected from my Peace Corps experience. I was expecting long days and now I can't find enough time! Of course I prefer it this way. Better to be busy than bored!

My promoter groups are doing well. I am continuing monthly workshops and now moving into home visit phases with my groups to check that each participant is implementing the healthy home-habits we discuss in the trainings. I just started in one of my 6 commuities that has the health promoter program and so far I am pretty satisfied with what I have seen. It is amazing the efforts people make to change for the better with what little they have.

English classes are coming along. I am now more convinced than ever that teaching is the last profession I am cut out for and I now understand every time a teacher flipped out or cracked in class. Teaching is hard and I am glad to have the experience and at the same time cannot wait for it to be over. My sitemates and I started our bi-monthly teacher workshops this months as well. Twice a month we are teaching teachers how to teach English. This way our efforts in the schools will be more sustainable.

Workshops in the schools are also going well. So far we have been working self-esteem and HIV and Sarah and Meredith will have the pleasure of accompanying me to an STD workshop. I am really enjoying working in the schools because now I know every student in Uspantan...and they all know me. Which is a little scary but makes me feel much more safe and well-known in town. I can't walk from home to work without at least one of my students screaming 'Good morning' or 'Good night' which case I then have to correct the student.

But I am enjoying life in Uspantan and really appreciate the quiet weekends I have in town. Even though life is quiet here it still has its bizarre moments: Last Sunday as I was walking to the store and a very very drunk man followed me down the street and into the tienda. I tried to ignore him but he kept stummbling after me. I walked up to the store owner who I know pretty well at this point and nervously laughed 'This man is following me. And he is wasted.' The drunk man then sputtered 'p*ta' at me and walked out. No idea who he was and probably will never see him again but he apparently thinks I'm a b*tch! Ohhhh Guatemala. I got a good laugh out of that one.

On Friday afternoon I took Mojito out to the soccer field to run around a bit. As we were out there a funeral procession went by. You can spot a funeral procession because the there are 2 pick up trucks driving slowly followed by a crowd of people. The first pick up carries the speakers which obnoxiously blast melancholy music and the second carries the coffin. An hour later as I was giving an HIV workshop in one of the high schools, the procession went right past my classroom make a serious topic even more grave. Rather selfishly, this funeral procession was now getting on my nerves as the blasting music droned out my presentation. As I left the high school and walked past a popular restaurant in town there was the coffin-carrying pickup truck from the procession parked in front and a big group of people, I can only assume they were participants of the funeral, standing around the truck snacking on chips, french fries and sodas. The best part of this whole scenario: the coffin was still on the back of the pickup truck and now was being used as a table for the midday meal. Priceless.

Finally, happy be-lated international women's day!

(A woman marching for International Women's Day in Uspantan- classically holding her banner, walking and breastfeeding at the same time)


  1. Great blog post, Mary Frances. Thanks for the shout out to the hard work of teaching. We teachers appreciate any recognition of our profession, which is going through a tough time right now. Keep up the tremendous work in El Quiché. We look forward to Skyping in April. Saludos a nuestros amigos guatemaltecos desde Milwaukee. Hasta pronto.

  2. dang girl. eating a meal off a coffin? SPOOOOKYYYY SCARRRRRRY (tracy jordan in yo face!)

    oh yeah im proud that you are teaching peeps english and hiv awareness, cant wait to see the pics from dith/troutt's visit!