Friday, June 26, 2009

hey all!!! it's been a while!!!

hey there lovely friends and family!! it's wonderful to connect with you all again, it's been awhile, oh man, i've been preeettttyyy prettty pretty busy.
katie, to answer your questions. the kitchen with the pretty pots, the lena, or firewood goes into a door on the right side of the stove. we light up the firewood beneath the stove and boil it all on the top. and as for my laundry, my homestay mom does some of my laundry, and i do some in the pila, the sink that you see in the pictures. it's the same sink for washing clothes, brushing teeth and washing dishes. thanks for your comments!! amor!!

i'm so sad to be leaving my homestay family in a few weeks, seriously. they have been so kind to me and we all get along so well. and it's gonna be time to get to know a completely new family, which is gonna be pretty difficult for me, since you all know i like my comfort in life. i like to be comfortable. but i'm flexible, i'll get used to it!

so we find out where we're gonna be living for the next two years on my birthday, for those who forgot, JULY 1ST!!! ahhhhh!!! estoy muy nervioso!!! i told them it better be good because it's my birthday. haha, but anywhere that i get will be perfect. it's all in attitude, it's all in perception. this job is what i make of it, all in all. i'm really excited for it all.

yesterday we all talked to someone from the US embassy. he came in for a couple hours to speak to us about what the embassy does and his role and the role of the US. it was really interesting, some parts of what he said hard to believe in my cynical mind, in terms of US involvement in the history and the present. a lot of it was pretty overwhelming with the reality of the situation here, the violence of the past with the civil war against the indigenous populations, 400 villages that were invaded by the military over the course of 35 years.. it makes my heart stop, honestly. i cannot imagine such violence for i've been so fortunate never to be so close. i cannot even minimalize the impact by writing about it for my words could never actualize what is still so real for so many people. this is where i stop.

as for the current situation, extreme corruption on all levels of society. families paying gangs monthly to protect themselves, bribery and deception of these peoples towards police to ensure territory and their interests for whatever trafficking they are doing. threatening their families to get what they want, paying off judges to favor their sway in court. 97% of the murders here go unsolved. no accountability by any means whatsoever. it's known and its expected, and people know they can do whatever violent act they want and get away with it. it all doesn't sit right in me. protests every week all over the country against the president and the mayors of towns. there was a protest in the city i stayed near last week, huehuetenango, because the mayor closed a negoitation for a private company to take care of the trash. he decided to take care of the trash himself, so he asked the government for 40,000 quetzales and only used 10,000 on the trash collection. and he tried putting the trash on people's land but they didn't want it there. they found out about his stealing money and now he's in hiding, it's been two months. there's trash all over the streets, outside of homes, all over the place, because there's no collection anymore. the mayor is nowhere to be found. so the people of huehuetenango had a protest a couple weeks ago with bombs and fireworks and set the police station on fire. people are mad, and for good reasons, it's completely unsanitary, unhealthy and horrible for the environment and he stole 30,000 quetzales from his people!!!

the reality of the situation here is unsettling. complete dishonesty, corruption, untruthfulness, disception, violence, lack of transperancy, accountability and justice on all levels of this society. there has to be a better way, it has to get better. it's no way to live, to grow up, to learn, to thrive. the positive thing about the people here is that they are passionate, they know what's right, they are willing to fight for what they believe in, they are by no means passive, they are incredibly active. the person from the embassy said that the best thing we could do is invest in programs relating to health and education. for with education and critical thinking comes action and the inspiration and desire to make things easier for ourselves and eachother. and with health, we live longer.

i really feel fortunate to work with youth, they are such a key group, the key to the future, to change, the future of their communities and families. we're gonna be working together on critical thinking, positive decision-making, health prevention, self-esteem, leadership, community projects, professional development.. all from a grassroots level, working with teachers and parents, with the community.. all of these things organizing from the bottom up. i find it all very inspirational. and although i could say so much that makes me unsettled about the reality of the situation, i could say so much more about how lucky i am to be working here and how much i look forward to working with these youth and learn from them and they will learn from me. and together, we can do great things, whatever they may be, i don't know, but it'll all be positive, and it will all be communal and collective. for together we can do so much more than apart. and with inspiration and a sense of strength and empowerment, we can do anything we want. and i really believe that.

well i gotta take the camioneta now back to my homestay family's house. tonight we're gonna eat dinner, probably play some uno. then early in the morning we are going all going to a wedding of the family that my friend robin is staying with. ah! my second wedding, how exciting! there's another one next week for my homestay sister! ah! and then there's a baptism for my homestay brother on sunday! today, there were probably about 40 women making tomales in the basement of my friend robin's house. all the women, for every grand occassion, wedding or funeral, all get together, all the women from the neighbor, to make food for the wedding, while the family provides breakfast lunch and dinner for them all! my homestay mom got there at 430 am and is still there right now! it's quite a process, it was really awesome to see all of them at work! so i got a big weekend ahead of me. and a big week next week with finding out my site on my birthday! ah!

i hope all is well with you all, thanks for listening. i didn't mean to be so negative about the situation here, honestly you wouldn't know it if you didn't know because everyone is always smiling and friendly. i love being here, i'm falling in love with this place more and more each day, and my job is becoming clearer as i learn more about the history and the challenges before me. there is a lot. one day at a time for us all is the best. i love you all, thanks for listening! take care!!! we'll talk soooooooooon!!!!!!!!
mucho amor, salud and suerte por todos!!!!!!!! love love love!!!!


  1. Whew! What startling and disturbing information. Sounds like you're geting a good backgroud in the history and a good base to work from in the next couple of years. So much celebrating!!! Will they celebrate your birthday in a big way, too? Love having the info and words from yoour mind and heart!!

    Lots of love to you,

  2. What a wonderful experience you're having. It's bound to affect the rest of your life.

    Before I sold my business two years ago, I had many people who came from Guatamala who worked for me. They were a very hard working, intelligent group and I'm still very close to two of them. I guess now I understand why they left to come to America.

    Continue to enjoy the experience and learn from it.

    Love, Cousin Sandy

  3. Goodness me, what a lot of information for you to impart and us to absorb. It's a shame that there are still so many countries in the world who have to deal with these same types of situations every day - God bless the people for their smiling faces and positive attitude. I hope wherever they station you (which you will find out on your BIRTHDAY, July 1st, in case we could forget!) will be someplace safe, because I can't help but worry about you down there with so much going on. But I love your can-do spirit and your positive outlook towards the challenges you and the people there face! I know that your contribution to the future of these people will be great. As always, we're all very proud of you. Thanks for keeping us in the loop so religiously and making us feel like we are there with you. Stay safe and remember you are much loved back here in the good old U.S. of A.!

    Love, Aunt Judy

  4. Hello Sarah,
    Well, pretty soon it is the eve of your birthday. So first off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!. Well in honor of your birthday I will be getting daisies, our happy flower. Remember your great, grand aunt, Aunt Mae it was her favorite flower.... Nana, Aunt Peggy, Uncle Larry, Aunt Kayci, Uncle Randy, cousin Sean, Rebecca, Paul and your sister and of course me wish you a HAPPY 23rd Birthday!

    Well, in regards to what is going on... After seeing the movie from the late 90's that I saw before you went, I knew that folks are still struggling. Be careful, stay in when suggested to... I am so glad that you have enjoyed your home stay family and hopefully you will
    have something similar. I am so glad that you are doing fine. I know that it is challenging and I admire what you are doing... I said good-bye to my lunch buddy who at age 7 left Guatemala. I have had fun with her this year and had spend a lot of time time talking about China since she had taken Chinese. Met her teacher who just returned to Bejing last week. Love, Hugs and Kisses, Mom

  5. Sarah,
    Forgot to ask, have you got your package for your birthday? Sent at least 2 weeks ago. Let me know... will send another one once you get it... take care, Love, Hugs and kisses, Mom

    We are all thinking about you on this special day. Well, as your Dad will remember also you were born 4:48 a.m. and it is little after 7 a.m. EST... how gorgeous you looked with those rose cheeks.
    Now look what you are doing.... take care, Love, Hugs and Kisses, Mom

  7. Ditto little person...I fondly remember the hours before, buying my first MAC, having chinese with Mom, playing with my MAC, Mom pulling me away from the computer to take hr to the hospital. Choices!!!..Guess I made the right choice!

    Happy Happy Birthday.,

    Love, Love,

  8. Happy 4th of July, Sarah
    Beautiful day in CT and hope all is well with you! Have been enjoying the daisies and every time I look at them I think of you. Love, Hugs and Kisses, Mom