In the big city

12 06 2007

One of my goals for this trip is to get myself to live in the present. Last week was ideal for that, both because I only learned the present tense in class and life was punctuated with simple moments that made me stop and just smile.

However, things are changing. It is time to develop my verb tenses, and with that comes lots of talk of the past and future. Oh well. The real trick is to keep living in today despite all the tenses that may come my way.

The rest of the week at the mountain school was just great…lots of memorable times with my family, fellow students, my teacher, etc. After class was over, I spent the weekend hiking. On Saturday, we hiked to a waterfall. It was a great hike, but there had been so much rain that the ground on the side of the river was incredibly soft, or actually downright unstable. We fell many times through deep holes and I ended up with scratches and bites and plant stings galore. Still, it was wonderful, and the three dogs from the school were ecstatic about the chance to play in the river.

On Sunday, we hiked up a dormant volcano which has a lake in its crater….Laguna Chicabel. It was a beautiful (and steep) hike, though switchbacks would be a welcome addition to the vocabulary of this country.

Now here in Xela, life is definitely faster. It is a city, and there is much more to do and see and digest. The school here has the same spirit as the mountain school; it is incredibly devoted to the community. The school was born out of a need for political and social change in Guatemala, and my tuition here funds both of these movements. Our orientation yesterday was a history of Guatemala, particularly of U.S involvement in the agriculture and government of the country. Just when I think I could not be more sad about the actions of our country, I get more fodder for the fire. I feel like I am constantly, both before, and now during this trip, trying to figure out how to amend for all these wrongs.

The school offers lectures, documentaries, and discussions about many aspects of Guatemala. Yesterday, we learned about military training at the School of the Americas, today we can hear about issues around domestic violence in Guatemala, and tomorrow, there is a talk by an ex-guerilla. All of these are optional, but it is nice to have so many avenues to understand the context of my experience. It is also a great way to learn Spanish–talking through issues that matter!

Gotta go do some homework! Working on the pics!

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