Monday, September 17, 2007

A Litte Bit of Everything

I have officially been a Peace Corps Trainee for three weeks now! When I stop to think about it I feel as if I have already been here two years but at other times it goes by so quickly! This past week was another week of 6 hour Spanish classes but on top of that we began having 2-3 hours of technical training! During tech we learn about the different markets, how to use them, where they are, etc.! We are also learning about the community structure and where to start when we get to our sites. I am really excited because I am going to visit a PCV for 5 days next week, so I think I will have a better idea of what it is like in the field, which hopefully will clarify things!

My dining situation here has been an interesting experience. To begin with, as many know but few have truly experienced, you eat a lot of tortillas, but the differences comes when you are not just eating tortillas because they are there but using the tortillas as your utensil. When I first got here they gave me a spoon, fork and knife, but I soon realized they rarely eat with anything but the tortilla, so wanting to integrate into the culture I began to do the same thing! This was a good idea and a bad idea because now I am never given any but my tortillas so I am forced to eat them with every meal and this means I pick my meat up (like chunks of meat) and eat them with my bare hands! Sometimes I just laugh to myself thinking about how many hours were spent teaching me to be a lady when I eat, well sorry Mom and Dad those days are long gone!

Saturday September 15th is Guatemalan Independence Day! The festivities begin on Friday night with the running of the torch! The running of the torch is where are the school children for the town go to the capital of the state, and light the town’s torch with the “Fire of Freedom” This is done because on September 14th the leaders signed the Independence document and that night runners were sent with torches carrying the “Fire of Freedom” to all the towns throughout Guatemala! The reason that September 14th is not Independence Day is that most Guatemalans did not know until the next day that they were free, so the 15th is considered Independence Day because that is day Guatemala woke up free!

The day begins with a parade of all the school children in the town. There are dancers, marching bands (they are really good and of great pride to the community) and little Independence Day princesses and queens! The whole town comes out, there is a huge lunch in the town square! Later in the day the neighboring communities have a parade through town with the same kind of things as the first one! The highlight of my day was going to a neighboring town to watch the pallo asado, which is oiled pole! It is a 60 foot tree that has been striped of its bark and greased up from top to bottom! The idea of it is to get to the top, if you do you get Q500, which is about $70, a lot of money here! At first all of the drunks tried it then about an hour and half into it the serious men came out and it was awesome! My friends and I watched it for a solid three hours, it was an entertaining afternoon! (I am attaching pictures and a tube video of the event!)

Side note, this is all been told to me in Spanish so if there are some things that are not exactly correct please forgive!

This past week I had my first adventure picking flowers and pears! My host mom and I started the day hiking about 30 minutes up the side of the mountain to their orchard! When I say hike, I mean hike! We were so far up the mountain that I could see the outskirts of Guatemala City which is about 25 miles away! As soon as we got there I was put to work picking the flowers which were scattered all over the place. I never realized that picking flowers involved so much work, my back ached, my arms hurt, my feet were so cold that I could not feel them and I fell about a million times because the land is not terraced it is just a straight up hill you have to work on! Anyway it was my first experience with what I will be doing at least for the next three months!

I have been enlisted by my family to help throw this surprise party for my host sisters this Friday! She is getting married on Saturday, so I have been the person enlisted to make sure that everyone is dancing and having a good time! I think they think that I am this crazy American that loves a good time because sometimes I will just turn on my Itunes and dance around my room! There are times here you just have to let loose! So while my host mom is explaining my job to me, my host days turns on the stereo and starts dancing (salsa) and then drags me along with him! Let’s just say they might be rethinking their decision to make me in charge of the dancing!

Ok another long post so I will cut it off here, but if any of you have questions either leave me a post or email me what you would like to hear about!

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