Thursday, June 19, 2008

Postcards from Guatemala -- 19 June 2008

found a harvard student volunteer at the dreamer center... her name is jessi setless, she´ll be a junior next year.
the little kids are amazing, i love love love them. one of them gave me her english notebook so i could see waht they´ve learned. they´ve learned fruit: guatermelon, and estroberri are my favorites.
i missed roger and anne somehow... sad.
brothers karamazov is fantastic.
it´s SO RAINY. that´s what i get for coming in guatemala´s winter.
good thing i have an umbrella.
i´m probably going to need help paying for my english lessons, i think they´re 95 a week... i´m good for the first two or three weeks, i´ll let you know. i figured out why i like this school i´ve chosen so much: it´s run almost entirely by very chatty women. :))))
angel has a baby named angel. also, he teaches seminary.
i get to read books in spanish to the kids at el proyecto. they correct me if i pronounce something wrong, and they snuggle me while i read,a nd at the end, they say otra vez! otra vez! i dont´start teaching until week after next (they have evaluaciones).
a couple of volunteers from north dakota, mother and hija, are staying at my house. they´re doing construction for a week, with a whole group of people from ND. i´ve gone out with the group for a couple of evenings... they´re all the result of norwegian bachelor farmer marriages... funny accents, but very nice.
my english school gives me a free half hour of internet every weekday, hurrah.
love youse guys!!!!

Later . . .

the norwegian married farmers and co. and i went to a place called frida´s last night. it´s decorated with prints and murals of frida kahlo´s work. some of the girls were looking around bemusedly, saying, ¨why do they all have unibrows?¨ sigh. i played pool (free!) there, though, which was fun fun fun.
i worked in the kitchen today (a very fast answer to a prayer that i get to use my time meaningfully for the next week and a half, instead of sitting in the librarÿ ¨preparing english lessons¨¨), and i had to peel two laundry baskets full of cucumbers (the word for cucumber, i now know, is pepino), and wash all the chairs and all the tables, and sweep and mop the whole pavilion. then i made licuados (like a smoothie) out of frozen melon balls and agua pura, in a huge vat. and i got to eat little bits of frozen mango, and the head kitchen guy brought in some pineapples and sliced them up an dgave me a full round... it was SO GOOD.
i´m glad i didn´t bring maple syrup as a gift for rosalina, because she has maple syrup. and also because the other volunteers just brought her some as a gift. jelly bellys were the way to go here, obviously.
i´m happy because even though i kind of got suckered into the english teacher job (nobody really wants it, and i was an obvious choice because i´m going to be here longer than anyone else who´s a native speaker), another american volunteer is coming soon, who actually IS a teacher, and angel says that she and i ought to be able to switch off, so that i´ll get to go help build the new malnutrition center, and maybe work in some of the other offices, like the temporary malnutrition center, and the clinic, and the social work department, and otras cosas. if i go work with the food supplier guy, i would get to drive hours with him in the back of his pickup to pick bananas that a farm is donating.
we drown in bananas. there are bananas everywhere.
there are also very good nachos everywhere. you should come.
my house is very close to a playground, and manchen has one of the most popular basketball courts in the city. so there are always these kids running around. the funny thing is that the playground, like all good antigueno park spaces, has an elaborate stone fountain in the middle of it. not kidding.
my spanish school is, like all the spanish schools in town, an imitation of christian spanish academy. it has a little wooden deck-patio space with individual tables and whiteboards set up in it, around a little tiny fountain. i always start my classes out there, but it always starts to rain REALLY REALLY hard during my lessons, and so my teacher (julieta) and i have to move inside. which makes me laugh. christian spanish academy has umbrellas over its tables.
i´m super busy now, with working at el proyecto from 8 to 12 or 12:30, and taking spanish from 2 to 6. it´s nice. soy muy ocupada. but i´m thinking after one or two weeks i´ll stop taking these spanish classes, and go back to teaching myself. or maybe i´ll scope out different schools. the kind of instruction i´ve got right now is fine, but i don´t want to keep doing it for months. if only ludwine were spanish speaking instead of francophone. and worked here.
gerard manley hopkins is the Manliest of victorian poets. hahaha. the collection that mom kindly said i could take with me has not just poetry, but a selection of his letters. which i think is awesome. i am a letter writer, myself, you know. there´s one to his mom, and one to one of his friends that he´s angry at (written when he was 18, like me!), and a lot of them are about what he thinks about his writing. very cool.
i´m going to sleep so well tonight. my left hand (that is, the hand that was holding el pepino, and not the vegetable peeler) is stained green, even though i washed it an awful lot of times.
today, serving up noodle soup and mugs of hot milk for breakfast to the little kids, i got big hugs from my library crew, and i made friends with two very little ones named yesica and melvin. there´s also a bryan. it seems really strange that so many of the names are so american: they´re probably not orphans, because the family is an important part of how nuestros ahijados takes care of its kids... hm.
the morning meeting of the heads of all the offices, and all the volunteers like me (who aren´t on short-term construction teams, like the north dakota folk) is so weird! it´s always a prayer, an introduction of any new voluntarias, and then someone has always been assigned, beforehand, to tell a joke. all of it is always in spanish, but i can tell that they´re jokes. and you applaud the joke if you like it. right now, i´m hoping that no one picks me to tell the next day´s joke. today, they assigned a woman named kathrin to do it, but she backed out right away, because she doesn´t speak spanish either.
rosa lent me a copy of the conference ensign in spanish... slow going, but oh so good.
miss ruth (that´s what they call me), la nueva profesora de ingles.

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