Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Mutts, Chicken Buses and Fleas... Oh My!
Where to begin... Well a week has felt like a lifetime and it seems that I just can´t really grasp the concept of my being here.... It´s a whirlwind that seems to never quite end.... Turns out that Peace Corps training is just like school, but they sort of give you the title before graduating. For instance, our group was told yesterday that we would soon be introduced to our pueblo´s health centers as ¨health experts¨ in hum.... two weeks??? Yea, we´re still working on the diarrhea talk here folks. I may be an expert at diarrhea but that sure doesn´t account for health as a whole.... Talking of diarrhea, I haven´t been cursed yet like some of my noble comrades, but I have had the privilege of welcoming a swarm of fleas on selected body parts.... Turns out we get vitamins though that make our blood taste kind of like spinach to pulgas. Life en mi pueblo is pretty good, I settled in a valley town surrounded by mountains and volcanoes (I was even covered in ashes after a morning run) and that is infested with really funny mutt dogs (thus the fleas). Mi familia is absolutely sweet and amazing and possibly even more obnoxious than I am. I really lucked out and am not quite sure what I will do in three months when I am dropped off in a middle of nowhere pueblo and told to work on health initiatives..... My Program, Rural Home Preventive Health, is new itself and we are only the second group of volunteers that will be sent off to the highlands (one of the most indigenous impoverished areas in Guatemala,largely affected by the Civil War that ended in 1996) This means that this is still a trial process, but we will have alot of creativity to work with; the program itself is about 70% health education and 30% construction (latrines, sinks, et al...) Since the program is new, we will all be going to sites where they have never had a volunteer...... Long story short, all of the volunteers are on major FREAK OUT mode.....But back to my town for the next three months, it is a crazy 20 mn. chicken bus ride away from Antigua.... Talking of Chicken buses.... no blogstalking or extended travels could have prepared me for these camienotas.... Exhibit A: After a day long session of training at the Peace Corps Center yesterday, Little Esther and her comrades are awaiting under the withering rain for el chicken bus; the bus of course is packed full of people, limbs hanging out the middle alley and windows style, and unfortunately the soaked gringos have to manage to fit in. Unfortunately, for me, I made an unwise purchase of formal like jelly shoes (adios flipflops) that were soaking in all the dirt and water on the road..... the result being that one of them happened to fall off my foot as I was rushed onto the bus by the fellow gringos and natives, to which I panicked of course... I proceeded to hop uncontrollably and bend trying to get my shoe, while waiving my umbrella dangerously close to fellow riders´ heads and soaking the 70 somewhat year old sitting in the front seat of the bus, who proceeded to give all of us dirty looks for the rest of the ride....good news though: i got my jelly back. Moral of the story here kids: I suppose it was on that bus ride, when I was sticking to the three persons seat, jamming out to the reggaton, smelling the major bo odors, having body parts (groins, butts, tails you name it) rubbed in my face that I dug into the two dirt beaches that were my jelly feet, looked out the window and realized... holy f&/("· I am in Guatemala.