Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poco a poco

Saludos a todos y todas,

It has been a while since we have been able to write anything on the blog. Just thought we should give an update. Basically it was a rough transition from the beach back to site. Why can’t all of our sites be like Monterrico? But we are still here! The last two weeks have been somewhat busy. Here are some of the exciting things that we have been up to:

We have continued working in our rural community with a couple of charlas this month. We gave the last one on Sunday and it was crazy! This drunk showed up and was speaking some wild mix of Spanish, Ki’ché, and English. The leader of the community, Roberto, was pissed but he couldn’t really do anything about him. Due to this, we were afraid that the message was lost. Luckily, Roberto is amazing and will review what we covered. Mat met up with Roberto later in the week and he told Mat that they are really happy about the work we are doing. And while there are troubles with language at times, we make our charlas short and simple (plus we are constantly repeating EVERYTHING) so they are getting a lot out of the presentations. And we are a form of entertainment for them as we provide lots of laughter since we are always making asses out of ourselves and are continually talking about poop. There are so many days when Mat and I feel so much hate for our program so it felt damn good to have someone tell us we are doing good work.

We are hoping the doctor will help us get to working in 2 more communities with adults. But he is of the “there’s no rush” mentality so even though we are constantly bugging him it could be a while before we get going. In the meantime, when school starts in the next two weeks, we are going to start giving our health charlas in 4-6 schools (2-3 per week). We also give English classes to about 30 people (from ages 12 to mid-40s) on Tuesdays and Fridays. We tried to avoid doing English classes for as long as possible but so many have asked us to give them that we finally gave in. We had our first one last week and it went really well. Actually it was very fun! Plus we have been able to meet some new, good people.

Mat is planning the computer café for the Centro. Thank you to all who sent or plan on sending money!!! The community and we are very grateful to everyone for their support. You are all Buena Onda (good people) and amaze me with your generosity! While I am throwing shout outs, thank you to those who sent Christmas cards. We received Aunt Mary’s first of course. But also Joe Allan, both sets of parents, Grandpa Allan and Grandma Allan, and the Joliat grandparents! Thanks for the cards. It was fun to get so much mail!

Mat has also been busy helping out his friend who owns the local internet café. He has been doing free tech work for him and has found himself helping out about 3 days a week. He loves it. And when he is feeling less than thrilled about health charlas, he can go listen to the sweet, sweet hum of computers.

I have begun working on my secondary project: a series of presentations on the prevention of violence against women. With the wonderful help of SARNCO of Columbus, I have some great resources ready to be put to use. I also got together Guatemala specific information (stats, the law, etc.) and hope to make a pamphlet to give to various schools, churches and community groups in the next couple of weeks. For those of you interested in my series: 1. Intro to the concept of Gender and how gender roles play a part in violence. 2. Violence against Women 3. Rape and Sexual Assault 4. Sexual Harassment 5. Healthy Relationships.

Besides work stuff, we have been trying to get the internet. It is a little modem that the cell phone companies sell which then uses the cell towers/satellites for signal. It won’t be super fast here but will be great for research and emails. The problem is that the companies have the worst business model: make it as hard as possible for the consumer to buy your product. We had to get together so much crap. Three months of banks statements from both US and Guatemalan accounts, copy of passport, three months of some type of bill (which is in a Guatemalan’s name and it doesn’t matter whether you even know them-they just want to see some bills!), and even a copy of a Guatemala’s license. They may want more. We are waiting to be authorized at the moment. We have also been thinking about moving but we have very limited choices: adobe house and possibility of Chagas or living with one of Guatemala’s finest, a cop. I guess we could stay put too but if we get internet, we need to find a cheaper place to live.

That is about it for now. We would also like to add that it feels good to no longer be working for “W”. Work it Obama!

Here are a few pictures from the New Year. Love and miss you all!!!

¡Bienvenidos a 2009!
Antigua, Guatemala

Mat and Sarah hanging out at our favorite place to crash, Dia Verde.

The fabulous (L-R) Thea, Ellen, and Emily!

(L-R front row) Zach, Amanda, Lynn, Ashley, Ellen, Thea
(L-R back row) Dan, Mat, Sarah, Emily
(photo compliments of Lynn)

The famous Arch street where we rang in the New Year with some colorful friends!
(photo by Lynn)

Very vibrant!!! (again Lynn)

Mat and Ashley (below) with (L-R) Thea, Ellen, Lynn, Zach, and Sarah up top.
(Many thanks to Lynn the superhero for being the only one who brought out the camera!)

Cafe 2000, January 1: Mat, Ellen, Zach, Ashley, Dan

Mat at our favorite movie, eghm, "store".

Mom! Check out The Thing we found!

1 comment:

Mamacita Jo said...

Love the pictures! Especially #1 with the two of you. I actually sighed, "Awwwww" when I first saw it. Enjoyed Lynn's pictures, too.

Good mix of script and pictures. I like the blog narratives.

much amor