My training class, Bak’tun 9, and I have officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers, meaning that we’re no longer annoyingly referred to as “just Trainees.” We did it!
We’ve done 131 hours of Language and Culture class, 80 hours of Core training, 78 hours of Technical Maternal and Child Health training, 18.5 hours of Medical training, 16 Safety and Security classes; the large majority of us have gotten sick; we’ve lived with host families for two months; we’ve worked together in two languages; and we all made it to Swear in Day together — all 18 of us. We did it we did it we did it!
We are officially volunteers, and as volunteers, we got the opportunity to meet U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala Todd D. Robinson, and introduce him to his Nawal (Mayan astrological sign – you can find yours here).
We got to celebrate with our Language and Cultural Facilitators, who were there for those 131 hours of Language and Culture classes! Essentially they served as guides to both Spanish and the ins and outs of Guatemalan culture. They’ll also be with us along the Peace Corps journey to check in here and there to make sure we’re alive and well, and help us navigate sticky situations or questions during the next two years!
The next steps from here: Work Partner Day and then going to site! Work Partner Day is a day and a half of getting to know our work partners from our future sites. The idea is that they’ll be a combination of supervisors, co-workers, and co- facilitators of activities to improve health in the communities.
I’ll be living and working in the department of Chimaltenango!
A little about my site:
- Population: 13,976 people
- Altitude: 1769 meters above sea level
- Principal Economic Activities: Farming and Cattle/Livestock, Industry, Informal, Coffee, Commerce, Artisan (a little of everything, it seems!)
- Climate: “Cold” by Guatemalan standards, but for me it’s perfect 60-75!
- Languages spoken: Spanish and Kaqchikel
- Ethnicities: 75% Kaqchikel 25% Ladino
I’ll be the very first volunteer assigned to this site, working in the health center with a social worker, a Rural Health Technician (TSR), and with the Women’s Office to improve health in the area. I’m so excited to get to site, meet my new host family, and get started in the health center!
We move to our new sites on Tuesday: some of us will be 6-7 hours away, one of us will be on a two day trip to her site, and one of us is only 40 minutes away (cough, it’s me).