Monday, April 26, 2010

The Smiling Faces

This is my last breathing day of vacation. Tomorrow, I will be back to Guatemala, amidst the hustle n bustle of camionetas, street ventors, fumes, rolling landscapes, being broke and my work. Am I looking forward to going back? I don`t know. So I`ve decided to do the write it out exercise, lucky you. It`s just a little weird this ``I don`t know`` feeling... I`m not the kind to be home sick, be lazy, or miss excessively the obvious comforts of a developed nation.

Picture you, reader, on a windy, lonely beach (or whatever other adjectives you want to add for dramatic effect). You spend the last breathing day on the shore of your mind, looking North, and looking at all your challenges and obstacles: a non-responsive counterpart, a community with too many needs, and an overworked health center that has been left simply numb to it all. Thinking about the frustrations and challenges leave you very tense, and you take one step back from the water. But you then see familiar reflexions in the water: they are the smiling faces, the people and community you know, the web that is now called your life. You know that nothing makes sense to you anywhere else in the world right now, and it is in that very strange land that you find the comforts of your new home.

And I guess even on vacation, those faces have silently creeped behind me, as thoughts swirled about me as to what do do next, who to contact, how to do it, et al. But vacation is always surely needed, and if anything makes you re-evaluate your life. What have I concluded?? Amidst a Mt. Everest-like pile of personal dabbles I won`t bother you with, I have realized this: I am a strange bird. But you knew that didn`t you? Ok, the conclusion is more compound: I, Esther Janaina Spindler, am a strange bird who for the moment being, belongs in a small indigenous community in Guatemala. (Why thank you ``write it out`` exercise!!)

On an editorial note - check out the new fotos, video and gadgets put up during vacation (slowly move your pupils to the right ------)

Monday, April 19, 2010

All about YOU

Hellooooooo reader!

So I´ve realized that I´ve been selfleshly blabbing about myself all this time without even bothering to ask you: How are YOU doing?? I know that you might be reading this which in turn, makes you think you´re in contact with me, but the truth is I never hear from you! Come on, we all have facebook, send me a message, let me know about life in the States, because believe it or not there are things that we miss once in a while (you know like a good old burger, Obama, a clean creek, a Republican or two, et al).... Any corky news, new babies??? Let me know, would loveee to hear from you.

Well that´s it about YOU, on to boasting about myself: All is really good here! I am actually in Brazil right now visiting my father for a short bit, and will be back off to Guatemala at the end of this month. It will be a year this month too that I have been in Peace Corps Guatemala! Can you believe it?? Time sure flies...

I think the culture shock here has hit me harder than when I came back to NY. Like Guatemala, Brazil is a latin country, which has left me perplexed when seeing white people, tall people, interracial people, and beautiful fru-fru neighborhoods. I suppose it shouldn´t be a shock since I used to live here but somehow I feel like I´ve returned as a stranger in my home. Brazil has grown and become very rich since I was last there, and the physical results are apparent.

On the Guatemalan front, work has been good, and always finding myself busy, trying to be a superhero and do a million things at once. But when you are dealing with poor indigenous communities, there are always things that should have been done better, a different way, a mistake, or more things that could be done. So I´ve been trying to calm myself down and be easier on myself, reminding little Esther that it is this way specifically because much of the work is new to these communities....

If not, I´m excited to continue on with the second halfish part of my service, which entails focusing more on construction projects here with poor families (letrines, cement floors, water tanks, stoves depending on the needs)... I´ll also be trying to do a mini project building with recycled bottles stuffed out of plastic garbage (I think we´re going to start small and build benches)... I know it sounds crazy but check it out, I think you´d find it interesting:

It would be awesome to do a mini project wherever YOU are too (I told you this is all about YOU)! It is so easy and really interesting too! It has gotten alot of attention here... Even Barbara Walters flew down to interview a fellow volunteer who built an entire school out of these bottles (at least that´s the Peace Corps rumor)!!

Anyway, I am really excited to build things here and get down and dirty!! I´ve also been thinking more and more to go back to school for Public Health and maybe International Devlp´t. I know a long shot from my original Poli Sci undergraduate degree right??

Since this is still about YOU, I think you deserve some pics:

Kids getting wild at the Dia Del Carbaval in February....

My dog developing a new compulsive habit of roof-climbing

Fellow pcvs enjoying the mountain view during a 4 hour hike.....

OK YOU, send me some news!!