Santa Maria Visitacion is where i live and Santa Clara La Laguna is right.next.door. It is so much bigger than my site and i go there just about everyday. It's got a humongous market on tuesdays and saturdays and is also the only place nearby to buy cat food. its a 10 minute walk max. thought i will continue to live in SMV, my new work site is now Santa Clara.
I have begun work in 4 new schools in Santa Clara, and for the most part. they seem really on board with the project. I had one big kick off taller (workshop) last week with the superintendent and all four principles. All four of my new directoras are women and here is why I am pumped up about that- Some women Ive met and worked with are an exception to this but Guatemala is still a super machismo culture. Countless times i have been speaking in a group of men and women of all ages, and about 90% of the time i have seen that the women won't speak up, contribute to the discussion, or express their concerns, doubts, or opinions, so long as the men are there. They tend to be shyer and pretty much they'll say ' what he said' or 'yes, we agree with him' if they say anything at all. I am so pumped to see these women in a professional position and hopefully we can accomplish so much together! i've not been one to acostumbrarme to this part of the culture. Now, we have five women heading up the Healthy Schools project in Santa Clara La Laguna and I am all about it.
More good news, is two of my schools are located IN THE CENTER OF TOWN! this is a first for sure! i've has to hike hours before and endure horribly crowded pick up trucks that fly down mountain sides to get to my schools in the past. the other two are in walking distance, half hour tops. AWESOME! none are in creepy lonely mountains or deserted streets..yayy for staying safe and robbery free! (knock on wood, havent been robbed since march 25th!)
Within the four schools, I have 545 students. So far in Peace Corps I have been able to work with about 3,000 kids. wow. is that right? some closer than others obviously but thats pretty cool now that i think about it. I was a little hesitant to begin with my new work at first, it is just hard and it takes alot to gain trust and integrate into a new community but then i realized i have been doing this now for 20 months! where was my confidence at? well its back and im stormin through.
My boss Dr. Sergio Mack paid me a visit today and I am super glad he did. When we went to visit our first school, Triunfo La Paz, he spoke with all the teachers for about a half an hour and then we were lucky enough to run into a padres de familia meeting as well, where he and i introduced the parents to the program. It is INCREDIBLE how much people respect him in this country. Today he did what would have taken me four or five visits to the school. Gained trust, introduced the program, and got everyone de acuerdo. Sometimes it is hard to get the parents to work with us, but it is definitely their responsibility to send the kiddos to school nice and clean, and as time is now working against me, I am happy those steps are passed right through so we can get down to business.
Dr. Mack and I decided that because my time is so short we will focus on two things. Each classroom will have their healthy corner, rincon de salud, and the kids will be practicing healthy habits. seems so basic but its not. This may be the first time some of those kids are hearing why its important to do so...motivating 338 kids in one place with one faucet. CUESTA.
|Handwashing station Cabrican|
speaking of one faucet. REMEMBER THAT FUNDRAISER I HAD?! i'm sure you do, favorite night of my life. well like i said my largest school has one faucet and 338 kids grades k-6. There are 12 teachers and classrooms. We are in the VERY beginning stages of constructing a hand washing station in this school called Pabaya and Chichiyel. YAHOO! We are looking to make our 'lavamanos' with 12 faucets. why not? one for each classroom. The price difference between doing 8 faucets (the requirement for a healthy school) and 12 really isnt that much different. We want this project to be sustainable, and I can only see this community growing in the future let's go for the gold. The project will look alot like the one we did in early January last year in my old site. Here's a pic to refreh =) I am sure I will be posting as the project gets underway but as i learned, we gotta have some patience...everything in guatemala moves about as fast as a turtle walking backwards. haha thats funny.
Stay tuned for updates! back to work and busy feels good!