Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My last week as a trainee

So this week I've been busy finishing things up before I move out of San Antonio for good. It's so hard to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people we've been working with these last months. The week before last we met with the women's group for the last time, and tomorrow we have a meeting at the muni with the mayor and other offices we've been involved with. If it's this bad after three months I can only imagine what it'll be like to leave after two years! Maybe I'll just stay and avoid all that :)

So there's so much to write about the ecological park where I'll be working....since I'm short on time I'll direct you all to their website to check it out:

Oh, and swear-in is this Friday, when I actually become a true Peace Corps volunteer...pretty exciting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moving to Sololá...

Yay! Just found out where I'll be working the next two years- in the beautiful site of El Novillero, an aldea of Santa Lucía Utatlán in the department of Sololá close to Lake Atitlán! It's actually one of the communities we visited during our field based training. I'm super excited but have a healthy dose of nervous anticipation, as next week I go to visit and set up my living situation. I'll be sure to write more details about the project later.

Can't wait to have visitors....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Feria de la Cultura=Craziness

What a rollercoaster we’ve been on this past week and a half! When I mentioned the Cultural Day last, it was a completely different idea than what actually came to pass. Instead of afternoon activities with mainly Spanish school students, the Muni and women’s group decided to make it a huge 2 day affair open to the general public. With only a week and a half to plan, we thought it would be almost impossible. But even after weighing the risks and challenges, they still wanted to go for it…so the four of us took deep breaths and pledged our support.

Imagine trying to plan and promote a huge fair complete with exhibitors, food, entertainment, activities and vendors- with only 7 days (excluding the weekend) and in Guatemala, where things aren’t always as cut and dry as we’re accustomed to. I lost count of all the meetings we sat through trying to figure out who was doing what, who wasn’t doing they were supposed to, and just overall damage control (as our trainer David calls it). After hours and hours of stress and hard work, in collaboration with the Muni and women, we pulled off a nice event which included: a Mayan Ceremony; 20 women selling their textile goods; 8 exhibitors of products and services such as eco-parks, coffee farms, my friend Rachel’s NGO Camino Seguro, and the new bank that’s coming to town; a traditional folk dance; the game of Pelota Maya; the Departmental Band; traditional food served by the women’s group; and activities such as making tortillas, grinding coffee and taking photos in traditional dress. Although we didn’t draw a huge crowd, the tourists that came loved it and it was an enjoyable learning experience for the women (and us as well!)

We’ve also had some fun times lately, such as going to the beach (beautiful black sand!), watching the first procession come to Antigua during Lent, and having lunch with the US ambassador to Guatemala.

Sometime this week I’ll hopefully be posting very exciting news: I’ll finally find out which community I’ll be working in these next two years!
My old friend Matt from study abroad, who's just finishing up his PC term- crazy to run in to him each other after so many years.

Juego de Pelota Maya
Procession in Antigua

The beach at Monterrico