Sunday, May 4, 2008

First week

I’ll try to make this quick because honestly, there too many things to write about. I’ve been in Guatemala less than a week but I’ve experienced so much already. I just got back from misa (mass). Church in general is a distant memory and I kind of feel guilty going since my mom has begged me over the years to go with her but I am somewhat forced to know more about the culture and religion is a big part of life here. During lunch yesterday, my host father, Don Rodrigo, plainly asked, “What religion are you?” My host sister later asked me the same thing. And my bedroom has about ten pictures of Jesus Christ, as well as about 5 calendars. We were told to just say that we believe in God even if that notion of God is really abstract. I told him that I hadn’t been to church in ages but that I believed in God. My family is Catholic but right next door is an Evangelical church whose members meet every 4 hours, possibly every day. It’s nice because I know all the songs but they started to worship again at 10pm and I was already in bed. I guess I will have to get used to it since I will be living next door to this place for 3 months. On the bright side, the Catholic Church has livelier music than other masses I’ve been too.

Let me rewind though and give a run down of my host family. My host mom is Dona Eva who is in her early 50s. She is nice and bought me ice cream yesterday so she already partially won me over. She can be a little serious at times and sometimes looks sad and like she has a lot on her mind. She does many things: sells Avon; makes tablecloths and aprons to sell in order to gain funds to buy viveres (essentials like flour or toilet paper) for people who are very ill in the community; provides contraceptives and shots to prevent pregnancies. But she does not do abortions. She used to be a nurse back when there were no doctors or pharmacies in town. She also used to be a community planner, encouraging people to stay in their towns and build the local economy but according to her, she was no longer able to do that once the conflict started because people fled from their towns and it was too dangerous to stay around. My host father is Don Rodrigo. He is funny and very protective over his family. He is in love with his grandson, Mario Rodrigo, the baby of the family. Mario Rodrigo reminds me of the baby on the show Dinosaurs. “I’m the baby, gotta love me.” He throws things a lot and grunts. Pretty hilarious. I’m not sure what my host father does but I know they have terreno (piece of land where they plant crops). My host sister is named Flor. She is lives at home with her parents and is the only child. They had another child but died after 8 months because of leukemia. She is very mindful of her parents’ opinions. Then her husband is Mario. Also nice and hard working. He is going to school in Guatemala City, works in catering and in a factory. I have a large extended family but I haven´t met everyone yet. I miss the family that I was with for the first three days, the Castellanos. They were more outgoing but I´m sure I will get used to this family. I miss my real family especially. I miss hanging out with Bear and Rab. I miss my mama´s smell and GarBear leaving newspapers in my bathroom. And I miss Phillip not answering my phone calls. I love you guys. Hello to all friends (especially Roy, Apryll and Chris) and any Jr-Sr Scholars who may be reading this.

No comments: