Saturday, June 23, 2012

You'll always have a place in my heart...

Better late than never, but never late is better...

It has been 13 days since I last updated my blog... sorry for the wait.

Here are some things I've learned this week:

1.) I am much better at Spanish than I give myself credit for
2.) I really love mangoes
3.) While I often feel older than 20, my lack of life experiences can show me otherwise
4.) I really miss wasabi more than I thought I would
5.) I'm a good salsa dancer (according to a Guatemalan)
6.) I'm ALLERGIC to corn
         Note: I found this out after consuming a tamale of corn and later that night having an allergic reaction... Guatemala is not the place to be with a corn allergy since almost everything is made from corn (or at least corn flour)

On another note, I'm a little bit more than halfway through my trip :( . I hope this half doesn't fly by as quickly as the first half


Sunday, June 10, 2012

On top of Xela

These are a few of my favorite things....

While Julie Andrew's favorite things included "wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings", here are a few of my favorite things in Xela:

  • Greetings: Here, people always greet each other. Even if I don't know someone, they usually say "Buenas Dias" or something of the sort to me. Walking into the clinic, I exchange at least 10 greetings within my first 2 minutes everyday. I feel like it is a lot more friendly and welcoming than just saying "hi" or "hey", or even ignoring someone on occasion. My ABSOLUTE favorite greeting though is when my group and I walk into classrooms at the school, we get greeted by the children saying: Buenas Dias, pase adelante, COMO ESTAN?" It's probably the cutest greeting ever and the children actually seem so enthusiastic to see us
  • The relaxed feel: While I naturally walk faster than everyone in this country (seeing as I'm 4 inches taller than the average person), I love that people take their time to walk places and will wait in line without getting impatient. I feel like I'm so used to the hustle and bustle of being at Duke, or being in a larger city, that this is a nice change of pace.
  • The people: I have met probably some of the most diverse, interesting group of people that I've ever been around in my life. People ranging from the ages of 18-56, Guatemalan, American, Australian, doctors, teachers, medical school students, lab technician by day, physical therapist by night and various Peace Corps volunteers. It's so easy to get used to the same type of people and staying in my comfort zone, but everyone here has such an interesting story and are overall, great people.
  • THE FOOD: So, I didn't really like the food in Costa Rica because I really hate white rice. I thought it would be the same here, but it isn't at all. Xela is such an international place, and for that reason, there are so many different types of food here. Places don't use preservatives, and everything is so inexpensive and fresh. My most expensive meal here thus far has been $20 and it was probably some of the best food of my entire life.
  • The children: I'm grouping the children into a separate category, because I have never seen such happy children in my entire life. No matter what type of conditions the children life in, they are so happy and filled with life. Also, babies very rarely cry here which is interesting to me... Maybe it's because they are constantly being held or attached to their mothers.
  • The scenery: Xela is by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in. There are mountains and volcanoes surrounding the entire city, and they are easily accessible. Since the clinic is up in the valley, it is so easy to all of the mountains close up.
There are probably more, I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this.

Hasta la proxima

Week 2 in pictures

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Una imagen vale mas que mil palabras

The clinic!
                                               A super contemporary HIV poster

A house we walked past in literally the middle of nowhere

                                           Yummy fresh squeezed orange juice for only 5Q (like 75 cents)!!!
Child health education group!

Week one at the clinic!

This week at the clinic was not very eventful. However, as a part of the program I'm working with (child education), we travel to various communities that are too far away to come to the clinic. This week, we traveled to 3 different schools.

To get to these schools, we not only had to walk, we were HIKING UP MOUNTAINS to get to them. I probably walked/hiked 4 or 5 hours in 2 days of visiting schools. However, the view is breath-taking.

The beginning of one of the mountains we climbed up

The view from halfway up the mountain

Up a little higher

Children at one of the schools we taught at