So I actually became an official PCV about 3 ½ weeks ago and it looks like I haven’t updated my blog for almost 2 months. Opps! Peace Corps training kept me pretty busy. So many things have happened in the past 2 months. If I try to write it in paragraph form it will be all over the place and it might not make any sense. So to make my life easier and for your reading pleasure I decided to write a list of things I have done/thoughts on the last 2 months.
List of things I have done in the past 2 months:
· Worked at the Health Center in Antigua 4 days a week
· Went out to dinner with my host family and my real brother, his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s mother and sister. They were on a 10 day trip through Guatemala with my brother’s seminary.
· Climbed Pacaya Volcano
· Turned 26 years old – had a birthday lunch with my host family and site mates, and baked a gluten-free cake!!
· Gave a 2 hour HIV workshop to Sex Workers in the Antigua Health Center with my site mates
· Went on Field Based Training with 8 other trainees to San Bartolo, Totonicapan and Uspantan, El Quiche for one week
· Went on Individual Directed Activity with one other trainee to stay with a volunteer in Cuen, El Quiche for 3 days
· Played soccer with my host brothers in the evenings
· Ran a 12k race in Antigua with Kathy in 1 hour 40 minutes – I wasn’t last, I was second to last!
· I took my first Yoga class ever.
· Found out I have to live with a host family for the next 2 years, they just changed the rules
· Found out where I would be living for the next 2 years – Aldea San Ramon, San Cristobal Totonicapán, Totonicapán, Guatemala
· Had a one day class of K’iche – the Mayan language I will be learning
· Had a 4th of July party with most of the 280 Peace Corps Volunteers/Trainees in Guatemala
· Visited my site for 5 days the week before I swore in
· Met my new host family in my new town
· Met the health promoter group that I will be working with. The day I met them they were learning how to give injections. The nurse used me as an example of how to give an injection in a person’s butt. I showed a quarter of my butt to my entire health promoter group, what an ice breaker!
· Rode in the back of a pickup truck from my town to the nearest bigger town, Salcaja – since then I have probably done it at least 15 times
· One time I was getting out of the back of a pickup truck when I had my backpack on and 2 shopping bags. As I was getting out I hit my head on this metal bar and I fell backwards on my back. Everyone in the pickup was laughing at me, I hope it made their day watching the American make a fool of herself.
· Had to say good-bye to my host family from my training town =(
· Rose my right hand and recited the following oath as I became a Peace Corps Volunteer at the Ambassador to the United States’ house: I,________(name) do solemly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, domestic or foreign, that I take this obligation freely. And without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps, so help me God
· Shook Ambassador McFarland’s hand and took a picture with him, which I no longer have (see next item)
· Left my camera in my hostel room after I had checked out, came back an hour later and the camera was gone. =(
· Bought a new camera
· Thought I was going to lose my life because I was on the bottom step of a VERY crowded bus holding on very tightly to the metal bar. As the bus went around curves I had to hold on even tighter otherwise I would have fallen out of the bus. The palms of my hands were sweaty and my knuckles were white but I survived.
· 30 seconds ago (from writing this blog post) I felt my first tiny tremor – I will call my first earthquake - it actually felt like a cat jumped on my bed, I looked down on the ground where I had a bottle of water and the water in the bottle was moving around a little bit. Awesome!
· I am learning how to wash my clothes by hand. Today I washed 10 pairs of socks and 10 pairs of underwear in a little over an hour; I would like to get my time reduced at least by half.
· I am using an outhouse/latrine at my new family’s house, something to get used to.
· Teaching my new host family to wash their hands with soap
· I am now living at 2300 meters or 7900 feet which I believe is higher than Denver, CO
· I go to sleep wearing a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, either one or 2 pairs of jogging pants, socks and I use 2 warm blankets
· Have seen rain almost every afternoon since the middle of May and will continue to see it until November – Yeah rainy season!
· I have stopped carrying my umbrella everywhere I go. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain, it means I don’t care if I get wet anymore. Even with an umbrella I still got wet.
· I love my waterproof Keen hiking shoes, I wear them every day and I could not survive rainy season without them. I don’t care if the rest of my body is wet but I can’t stand wet socks and shoes.
· Love the view of the mountains and Santa Maria Volcano from my bedroom window
· I love the slow pace of life and how calm my town is.
· Sometimes I am worried I am not doing enough work even though they have told us the first 3 months are to get used to the health post, community and the work
· I have started running in the mornings with my host mom and her friend
· I have heard I could walk/climb to the Inter-American Highway from my house – I am going to learn how to do that
· Paid $0.10 for a pound of bananas
· I bought a lighter because one night I was by myself and it took me 8 book matches to light the gas stove. I thought if I don’t light this stove I won’t be able to eat.
· One day I found Rasinets at a gas station and it made my day.
· My family started using the garbage can I bought them for the outhouse. Before my family used to put the dirty toilet paper in the corner of the outhouse and let it pile up.
· I tried liver for the first time ever.
· I still haven’t mastered the art of making tortillas by hand. But I should soon since there is no place to buy tortillas in my town, everyone makes them by hand.
· I think it is ironic that my host family is also the only bakery in town, and I have to be gluten-free. But I do enjoy the smell of baking bread every few days.
· I found gluten-free rice bread at a bakery an hour from my house.
· I couldn’t eat every meal with a spoon so I bought myself some forks and knives. My family can eat any meal with a spoon, including steak.
· I eat all cereal with hot milk here. Ex. Corn flakes – it makes the cereal go instantly soggy but it is still really good.
· I look forward to the adventures I will have in the coming 24 months