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Primero Dios, Segundo Atole Blanco

Hi everyone! Remember me? Bailey? PCV in Guatemala? The girl who swore up and down she’d keep up with this blog thing? Yeah, I don’t remember her either… I’m so sorry y’all. But I’m here to update you on the past 6 months of my life here in my beautiful Guatemala. Please forgive me 🙂

Wow, I have almost been in Guatemala for 10 months. Can you believe it? I certainly cannot…

As of yesterday, July 4th, I have officially been in my adorable community in Quiché for 7 months. I have been so sick, so busy, so thrilled, so loved and so so so so amazed by the precious people I have the privilege of living with and working with every single day. I can honestly say that I do not remember the last time that I have felt so much love. People who didn’t know anything about me have dropped everything they are doing to hug me when I had a rough day, made me smile when I wanted to cry, sat me down and forced me to eat when they saw that I was losing too much weight, made me remedy after remedy for my never ending stomach and sinus issues… Ya’ll have no idea how humbled I am. I never imagined I would be worthy of receiving such love.

This past month I took my first trip home to see my family and to meet my precious and perfect baby nephew! He was born on June 10th, and I came home on June 12th. He couldn’t wait 2 more days so he came 2 days early. He is the most perfect, most precious baby boy… My little sister is already the best little momma ever and I couldn’t be more proud of her. It was so nice to see my whole family after 9 months of being apart. I will say, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done though. Saying goodbye once was impossible. Saying goodbye twice was that times 3. But knowing that I have a precious loving family to come home to in Guatemala made coming back much much easier.

So most of you are probably wandering what is it that I actually do here in Guatemala? Well let me take this opportunity to explain a little bit. Currently, I am working in 2 middle schools in 2 different villages near my community. In both schools, I have a total of about 90 students (50 in one and 40 in the other) and work with each school 2 days per week, so 4 days per week I am in a school (if the classes aren’t cancelled). The schools are very small, but I am fortunate to be in schools with great students who are very eager to learn! In Guatemala there are 3 grade levels in middle school (so our equivalent is 6th, 7th, 8th grade), and I work with each grade level in both schools for 45 minutes each class in both schools. In the Youth in Development project, I work with the students on different life skills such as mental health, sex ed., leadership, drugs and alcohol abuse, good decision making etc. I also have the opportunity to work with their parents in similar themes. In addition to working with those 2 schools, I have the privilege of working with a non-profit organization, Paz Joven, that is a national organization for youth around Guatemala. Paz Joven and Peace Corps YiD project are very similar in their frameworks and so a lot of the projects we do with Paz Joven are identical to the ones I do with Peace Corps. My work with Paz Joven has been so wonderful! I have a great work-partner who has welcomed me into her home and into her organization and for that I am sooooo blessed ya’ll. We have done several radio shows through a local radio station where we have done a 1 hour program on numerous themes directed to the youth in our area. It was one of the most exciting most intimidating things I’ve done. But so much fun! As of last week, our group of Paz Joven was invited to take part in a weekly television program here in my site where they will allot us 1 hour to tackle a theme related to youth! How exciting is that???? Also how scary is that hahahaha. But mostly I’m super excited to increase the amount of youth viewers so that this information that Paz Joven can be provided to more families and more youth and hopefully serve as a resource to the community as well. Also, this year Paz Joven is focusing on Sexual Education and so we also put on a series of  3 courses at the 2 schools that I collaborate with. We are currently on the 2nd course and so far both courses have gone wonderfully and the students have learned so much! I also have been collaborating with my teacher friend Noe and her 1st grade class in teaching a once a week English class. Ya’ll… These kids are the most precious humans I have have ever met… They have stolen my heart and I have only had 4 classes with them. So far they have learned numbers, fruits and veggies! Next week we start with colors! Yay! Working with little kids is a constant struggle, but I absolutely ADORE every second with them. So that is what I have been doing here in my cute little community 🙂 It may not seem like much, but to me it’s everything and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters!

So currently, I am sitting in my bed with the worst gripe (cold) that I have had in 9 months. I have been in total loss of my voice for 3 days now along with a horrible sinus infection. So I figured, while I lock myself in my house with my puppy, Luna, I will finally sit down, stop talking, and just type.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little update on my life in Guatemala! A ver when I get to the next one…