FBT - General Feelings

Sunday 2.21.10

I am really glad the girls in this group are cool. I know that I get along better with guys, but FBT has been a really good chance for me to get to know the girls here and start to change my perspective of the female race in general. I judge females I think on much tougher standers than I do males, and I know I’m much quicker to criticize and look down on women than men. Being around girls that I actually do get along with is great, and I think it’s because they have a more similar mindset to mine than most other females I’ve ever met.

I was asked in my interview with Flavio who my best friends are here. I told him that I couldn’t answer that question and while my response was partly true, I do already have a very good idea of the people here who I get along with really well and those that I don’t. There are a few people here, some guys and some girls, that I think I could form a really strong friendship with if given the time. I’m just a little disappointed now to know that I’m not really going to have the time to form these relationships. We’re thrown together for 11 weeks and then shipped off by ourselves for two more years; some people we’ll see more often than others, but there’s nobody who I’ll be able to see or talk to on a daily or weekly basis. It will be interesting to see how relationships form and change during the next few months when we’ll all be hours away from each other.

Aside from the great time I had with the people here, I had an even better time just observing my natural surroundings. Taking walks and hikes or just sitting outside our barracks was so serenely pleasant. I loved waking up every morning to a fog covered mountainside. Watching the fog clear and roll over the hills as the sun rose. Observing in amazement the dance of the fireflies at dusk. I also enjoyed interacting with the children of the town. They were just so overwhelmed with us but whatever the exact opposite of shy is, that’s what they were.

I could live in a small town. Almost nobody in my training group wants a town that small (800 people I think) but I do. I like everybody knowing everybody and I like talking with people that I meet on the streets. One of the reasons I came to Guatemala was to be involved in a small community and to really learn what being a part of that community means. I could think of no better way to do that than live in a town like Samac. I want the exact opposite of US culture. I don’t want to be minding my watch at all times. I don’t want parents to be worried about their kids playing in the streets or wandering too far away from the house. I want to buy my food locally. I want to believe in the education system. I want to have effect. I want to work in a small organization on small projects that effect the people that I care about and the world that we all live in.

I have doubted if Peace Corps is a good way to do this or not, and I have come to the conclusion that so much of it is in my hands that if I succeed I can take full credit for it. If I fail I can’t blame it on the Peace Corps. A lot of volunteers that I have met work hard for their full two years but still don’t have much to show for it…and they seem okay with it. I will not be okay with accomplishing nothing my next two years, and they key here is to define what “accomplishment” means; put it into context. Everything I learn is an accomplishment: it’s something I can remember and use later in life. Every good experience I have, every interesting conversation or walk I take or new person I meet could be an accomplishment. But those aren’t enough. I’m here to learn, so my accomplishments will come with the gaining of knowledge and practical experience. I’ve already learned a great deal simply about how to interact with a variety of people, how their brains function on a completely different idea of logic, and how their idea of religion is so different than mine. These things alone have given me incredible insights into exactly what it means to be of a different culture which is exactly what I came here to learn. I came here because I believe the US has it all wrong with where they put their importance’s and I want to figure out who has it right. If I can make any headway on that statement I will have made a huge accomplishment.

Charla Total: 20.5 hours. That’s right, nearly one full day spent together with charlas.

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