Yes, Mat was right. I will be providing the details. So I will start with the Mayan ceremony of Iximche of several weeks ago. Pretty interesting although difficult to understand because the majority was in a Mayan language. It was a ceremony of thanksgiving. All of us were able to participate by adding to the fire and giving thanks (in Spanish). Afterward, we had a tasty lunch and most of the people tried their famous chorizo. I of course, took the veggie route.
So there are some pictures from the Macadamia nut farm. Mat is right, that guy is a little off his rocker. Basically he told us he was the Osama bin Laden of the environment and that when we entered the farm, we entered a boot camp for the environment. So we are ¨soldiers for peace¨ (according to the ¨W¨ factor) and now we know where to go for combat training for the environment. Yes, this guy is an American. Who else would use such militaristic language? We later found out he is not so big on humans though and treats his workers poorly. So we will not be going there again.
Now to the site visit. Yes it was amazing. It was quite the road! I am not looking forward to traveling it every time we need or want to leave but it is amazing what we have adjusted to so far. It was so beautiful and HOT! We received one of maybe two warm sites. Hooray! Here is a little quote-o-Mat from an email to my mom,
¨The site was amazing! It's a two hour bus ride away from the dirtiest city in this country, Santa Cruz. And when I say two hour bus ride I mean it would be a 30 minute bus ride but it's a dirt road during the rainy season... so it's pretty crazy. It's what I'd refer to as "Peace Corps". My Counterpart is well read and loves to read Encarta 2008 *in spanish* in his free time. He has a brother in the states and so does his wife (who is a bilingual teacher in Spanish and K'iche) so they have a pretty open conception of the world and how it relates to Guatemala. So that is a plus in our favor.¨
This is who we were going to stay with for the first three months but our APCD (or boss) told us we can not stay with our counterpart so we have to house hunt when we get to our site. However, we did stay with them for our site visit and while they were awesome, we could maybe find a place with a separate kitchen and extra bedroom for visitors. My counterpart is a bit quiet but hopefully the more we work together the more I will gain his confidence. The doctor of the Centro de Salud is a straight-up, legit cowboy! He rocks. And he is incredibily warm. He even told us how nervous and excited they are to work with us (our site is new to the PC and our city is so secluded that there have not been any NGOs or gringos passing though. Except of course some Mennonite missionaries...right at home).
We were anxious to get back and hang out with our friends for the next two weeks while we can. Because when we swear in and head to our site, we probably will not be traveling for visits every weekend. We are paid about the same as a teacher here, which is minimum wage. Not much extra for travels. But when we want to see friends, it is a mere 5 hour camioneta ride to either Antigua or Quetzaltenango a.k.a Xela (the city closest to the majority of our friends). And five hours is nothing on the hora of the chapina.
This past week we had Spanish class and lots of socializing. Our program did not have much to do except write a little report for our Puesto de Salud, in Spanish of course. No problem. We are pros! Actually no. Gracias a Dios for our teachers. Sandra and Chepe, you rock our worlds!!!
So then on Thrusday, we began to learn the Mayan language spoken in our site. Mat and I will be in Quiche and therefore got a taste of K'iche. Very good, right? Except that learning language #3 in language #2, of which you are still not proficient, is a little hilarious! It was fun though trying and failing at making the crazy different sounds from deep down in la garganta (throat). At least we have an introduction. While the majority of the men and children speak Spanish, the women usually do not speak Spanish as well or at all. There are 64 aldeas in our site and 30 some women's groups, so knowing a bit of K'iche will hopefully go a long way. By the way, ¨Utz¨ means ¨good¨ in K'iche.
Right now it is time to relax. Mat and I have three ¨hijas¨ or daughters that we have sort of adopted. They are actually our close friends but we call ourselves a little family. Ellen (from my town), Ashley (of Parramos), and Thea (of San Mateo in the other program). They are all on the blog. Two of mis hijas are waiting with Mat for me to finish up. Love you all. Moza time!!!