Eso es alcanzar lo más alto,
lo que tal vez nos dará el Cielo:
no admiraciones ni victorias
sino sencillamente ser admitidos
como parte de una Realidad innegable,
como las piedras y los árboles.
Jorge Luis Borges
This is the best that can happen,
What heaven perhaps will grant us:
Not to be wondered at or required
But simply to be let in
As part of an undeniable Reality,
Like stones of the road, like trees.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I´ve also given a few other workshops which I haven´t felt quite as positive about. Although the youth were really great, I think they were more timid and so that made it really hard to lead. And of coure the more nervous I get, the more I start mumbling and my brain goes blank and I´m trying to think of the right words and how to put them together in Spanish while having everyone look at me either like I´m crazy or some kind of alien. But I was debriefing with a co-worker and good friend here at ANADES who pointed out that it´s just another environment that I need to get comfortable in. And I´ve noticed that I really have no fear in speaking spanish in most situations anymore, so what´s one more environment to conquer?
I´ve also been attending the support group for people living with HIV and AIDS. Part of my role is to provide ¨emotional and spiritual support¨ to the people in this group. That means that at some point I should start also going and visiting them at their homes. And I want to, I just know from experience what happens to my health when I do too much and burn out. Anyway, the guy who is in charge of this project told me that they used to have funds for a psychologist to work with this group on a contract basis but no longer have the funds. He knew that I was a mental health therapist in a former life and so asked me if I´d be willing to lead the group counseling sessions. That really made my day, and I told him that I can see myself being comfortable doing that in time, maybe 4 months or so. The difference between that and what I´m doing with the workshops is that you really use a different level of language. For example, a lot of the workshops are concrete and factual, and I can plan before hand what I want to talk about. In a counseling session the content is emotional (conditional and all the subjunctive tenses) which is a much more difficult level of language. And I would just hate to have things happen that I should be responding to but am either not catching or am not able to express emotionally what I want to say. So there is a future challenge.
Lastly, my brother in law is getting re-married in September and I plan to be back in Canada for the wedding. I´ve got 3 weeks of vacation for this year and so have just decided to use it all during that time. I didn´t realize that I was homesick until I started to think about all the thinks I´ve missed from home. So it´s been really good to have that trip to look forward to.
I hope to see many of you, my faithful readers (haha), when I come back to Canada in September. Until the next time, take care!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
|The Calle Washington where I catch the bus|
|Walking down the street from the bus, the blue building is a school|
|A little tienda|
|The pupuseria where I usually eat supper|
|This is a little licuado (blended fruit smoothy) place|
|Here is the pasaje leading to my house|
|The gate from the outside|
|The gate from the inside|
|My house! The upper floor is mine|
|The pila with clothes soaking for me to wash later|
|View from my balcony|
|Another view from my balcony, when I've had a hard day I just remember that not everyone gets mango trees and palm trees in their backyard|
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
|The main gates of the ANADES compound|
|The guesthouse at ANADES where I've been staying the past few days|
|The streets of Mejicanos...|
I've been promising pictures of San Julian where I will be working and where I thought I would be living for the next three years. Turns out it's gotten quite dangerous and they want me living in San Salvador, at least for the first while. Anyway, I didn't get any pics of San Julian but this is the finca that I've described in the past:
|The finca San Jorge outside of San Julian|
|The countryside surrounding the finca at the end of the dry season, you can imagine what this looks like when it's all green and fertile|
And with that said, good night and maybe I'll post something more intelligent next week!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
|Panchita, my Spanish teacher, and I|
|Me on the back of our "taxi" driving to the caves|
|Country-side in Alta Verapaz|
|House of a campesino|
|Some of the team making our way down to the caves|
|Entrance to one of the caves|
About a month ago I went along on a sightseeing tour of Guatemala city with a Canadian school group that was here doing a learning and serving tour. I got some pictures of the dump where some of the poorest people in the city spend their day scavenging for things to possibly sell later.
|The city that has built itself around the dump|
One thing about the dump that I learned is that there used to be a whole squatter town built up right around the dump but the government forced them away. So now they've built higher up.
And last but not least, I went with a group of American university students on a field trip to the zoo. Although I'm not a fan of animals living their lives in cages I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Guatemala City zoo.
I'll be leaving for El Salvador on either monday or tuesday next week (i.e. 4 or 5 days) and am getting very anxious to go. I'm having a going away supper tomorrow with some of the other MCC'ers here in the city. One is from a mennonite colony in Paraguay and the other is from the states but grew up eating some "Mennonite" food as well. We went shopping this morning and bought what we needed (or as close as we could find) to make verenikya. Our country reps who are from Colombia will be coming as well and claim to be excited to try our creation.
The next time I post I will most likely be somewhere off the beaten tracks in El Salvador. It's been almost a year now that I've known I'll be living in El Salvador, so you can imagine how ready I am to finally be there. Deséame suerte (wish me luck)!
Monday, February 21, 2011
The other thing is that I have days where I can have interesting conversations in Spanish (for example friday evening with a guatemalteco who's a friend of mine here) for hours at a time, and then it's like my brain is completely used up and I can't remember how to say, "good morning" at the breakfast table the next day.
Other little things also get on my nerves. Like when another gringo who has lived in central america for 5 years says something in Spanish that is obviously more fluent than mine and everyone here is so impressed with how intelligent this person is, I feel like beating their heads together. But I think that might go against the MCC mission of peace. So instead I smile and meekly agree.
On the other hand, I feel completely free of malaria or whatever it was that left me a feverish mess for four weeks. I know I lost a lot of motivation during that time but that's another story. I'm trying to think of a nice uplifting wrap up to this post but I can't really. Just waiting and looking forward to the next bunch of changes that will be happening in about 2 weeks.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
So this year for my birthday I seem to have gotten a special present... malaria. Remember when I was sick as a dog for about two weeks and went to a doctor who told me it was an intestinal infection gone bad and gave me antibiotics but the antibiotics weren't fighting it? Well I went to a specialist (internal medicine) at the best hospital in Guatemala at the end of last week when I had finished the antibiotics and wasn't any better and he is convinced that I have malaria. It can show up quite a bit later after the mosquito bite so I'm pretty sure I got it in El Salvador over Christmas. The problem is that I don't have a positive blood test because apparently the malaria bugs are only detectable in the blood when there is a fever, and even though I had 2 blood tests done, I didn't have a fever either time because the fever is unpredictable and comes and goes at strange times. So now I am just sweating a lot at night and pretty tired during the day. The family I live with is really nice and they repeatedly tell me that if I ever wake up in the middle of the night from a fever I am supposed to wake them up so we can drive down to the emergency room and get my blood test. So now I am just waiting for the fever to come back so that I can get the blood test because apparently you can't get the malaria meds without one. What a fiasco.
I am partly frustrated because I missed some classes over the last two weeks and even when I was at school I didn't have the energy to do much so I feel like I've been at a standstill in my Spanish learning. On the bright side I like where I am living, the family owns a restaurant out of their home so there are lots of different people in and out which is giving me opportunities to practice speaking in Spanish with lots of different people. And my host mom is a great cook and she was asking me what my favourite foods are yesterday (I said lasagna or mexican food and chocolate cake) so we'll see what's in store for me this evening!
And I've had some other friends here in Guatemala talk about getting together this week so I think that will be fun.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
- I finished my master’s,
- quit my job,
- left my family,
- gave away my dog,
- sold almost everything I own including my jeep,
- rented out my place (is this starting to sound like a country song?)