Well, I just got back from our Field Based Training in Coban, Alta Verapaz! It was an experience let me tell you! We went to visit Chirrepeca Tea Co-op, one of the five people in my group will be sent there for the two year assignment, hope it is not me! I learned one very important lesson about the Peace Corps experience...never hope for anything, just hope you have a roof over your head and food! So before we got to Coban I told everyone that I just did not want fleas in my bed, I just didn’t think that I could do that again! Well I got my wish, I didn’t have fleas because I did not have a mattress, I slept on a wooden bed with a wicker like mat (check my blog for pics)! To get to the house with a mattress I had to hike 5-7 minutes through a tea/corn/ banana field to get to the house, which turned out to be pretty nice because it was build like 6 months ago and the just got electricity about three years ago! While they were showing me the house, we were walking to get to the kitchen and we walked through a room which had my bed and they were like here we go, that is when I realized that I should have hoped to have fleas just so I could have had a mattress! Now that I am back in Magdalena I feel like I am at the Ritz Carleton! I do not have to poop in a hole and throw some water in and I do not have to shower with the chickens.
Coban is a very beautiful city, along with the surrounding areas. The tea co-op as rustic as it was, was wonderful! I got to experience nature at its finest, the silence of the night, the stars and true natural beauty that was intended for this earth! I know that I probably sound super corny but it seriously was one of the most relaxing and soothing places I have ever been! You knew that you were by yourself, that there was nothing interfering with everything around you, it actually gave me time to think, which is something that I have been doing more often, Mom and Dad you can pick your jaws up off the floor, its true!
So the week at the Tea Co-op was an eye opening experience and now I understand why they wait to give us that experience! They put us up in nice towns and nice homes for training because it really is culture shock when you get out there into some of the small communities that we will be living in! If they would have dropped me off in that situation six weeks ago I don’t know how I would have re-acted, it would have been hard! It is just amazing how there can people Guatemala City and the 50 mile radius around it and then there can be places like the Tea Co-op, it is just amazing they exist in the same country!
While we were in Coban we got to give a charla to a women weaving group in Que’chi, which is one of the indigenous languages of Guatemala. We had to give it in Spanish and use a translator! It was amazing that some women could not speak Spanish, they only spoke Que’chi. Then there were some, mostly younger that spoke both! I was talking to the family I was staying with and they said that the first language is Que’chi then you begin to learn Spanish when you begin to go to school! Que’chi is a very throaty language and there are no words with three syllables, which is why they have a difficult time with Mackenzie! I am really excited to see if I will get to learn an indigenous language, I think it would be really cool!
Well that is about it for now, nothing to exciting has really happened here, same ole same ole!
Till next time...