Today is the eighth anniversary of the school here, and because of that, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to participate in “buhyah”, the walking around of the town with firecrackers, fireworks, and whistles and just making a lot of noise. When my alarm woke me up at 3:30 I was so confused as to why I was waking up that early; I thought it was a mistake and I almost went back to sleep without a second thought until I heard kids already starting to make noise right outside my door. The walk was fine, although all the little girls wanted to walk holding my hand which didn’t really bother me besides the fact that we were walking in the complete dark up and down steep hills on unstable territory. I would have much preferred to have my hands to break the inevitable fall (actually, I didn’t fall but almost a bunch of times). We arrived back from our buhyah around town at around 6:30 to have a breakfast of rice and beans, and then I went back to my room to take a nap. I think between 7:00 and 7:45 I slept a good 42 minutes of sleep even though I woke up probably 7-8 times. I like those short periods of sleep where you sleep really deep, wake up for a second, then fall back into your deep sleep. Every time I woke up I had the feeling that I had a really vivid dream, which also made me feel like I slept longer, but I just can’t seem to remember any of the details.
I went into a meeting with some members of the organization APRODEFI: Associación PRODEsarollo de la Familia Ixil, and also some teachers and staff members of the school, where I learned a great deal more about my responsibilities and the town and the organization. APRODEFI is an “associación”, which basically has the same meaning as a small non-for-profit organization in the US. They have two major projects going on right now:
1) School. The school I’m staying at is a function of the association and their work. Developing an environmental education curriculum for the school and ultimately the community will be one of my primary duties
2) Finca (loosely, farm). The association recently purchased a plot of land which I’m going to see Friday on which they want to plant coffee, other crops, use for livestock, and which also has a forest they want to use for wood. They have a company that wants to come in a log all the trees in the forest and they are willing to pay just about enough to cover the remaining debt the association has from the purchase of the finca. Though, the president says that deforestation is their last choice and they really hope that together with my input we can find a better solution to keep at least some of the forest and also get them out of debt.
Here are the six things I learned how to say in K’iche’ (Kihk-chey)
1) Good Morning Buenos Días
2) Good Afternoon Buenos Tardes
ix b’e qíj (Eesh-pe-eecsh)
3) Good Night Buenos Noches
xok aq’ab (Shook-ap-ab)
4) Good Bye Adios
5) Response to “good bye”
6) How are you? Cómo está?
jas a b’anom (has-ap-anom)
I’ll be starting classes in K’iche’ during the next couple weeks. I’m glad it’s not absolutely necessary for my job (there are some people in my group where only 10% of their population speaks Spanish) because I don’t have the memorizational type of memory; it’s going to take me a long time to remember all the words and phrases, but I do feel extremely lucky to have the chance to learn such an ancient dialect.
I just can’t say enough about how beautiful it is here. Pictures are coming, though there’s no way they could do justice to how this feels and smells and looks in real life.