Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 08/20/2010

Connected again…

Hooray for worldwide connection!

Yesterday was a field trip to Antigua where we bought our cell phones in a supermercado (supermarket). It took the brain power of a group of us volunteers to understand the choices of phones, plans, and such…most of us were enamored with a snazzy blue phone with a radio. Cost: 200 quetzales, about $25. We got 50 minutes free with the phone…price to call the U.S. or each other: 1.90 quetzales per minute or 25cents (8 quetzales per $1).

So immediately we all called home…it was great to talk with family for a few minutes, surprising them with calls from Guatemala. After a week here (seems so much longer given all of the activity we have experienced) it was sweet to hear voices of loved ones. I used up 50 Q in one day! As volunteers it will be important to stay connected because we are a resource for each other…we also got unlimited text messages for the 1st month,  por supuesto (of course) we started texting each other right away!(in English for now)

My group of four volunteers wandered about yesterday to take in the sights of Antigua, a World Heritage site, knowing that many took us as another set of tourists…but we know that we have a greater mission here.  A funny coincidence…Carmen, from my group who attends Univ. of WA, ran into a fellow classmate from Seattle. The world is indeed small!

Our instructor informed us of establishments that will offer discounts to PCVs (Peace Corps volunteers). That will be very helpful because our budget is limited. Right now we receive 30 quetzales per day (almost $4) for “walking around money” while we’re in training. That has been enough for incidentals. Yesterday when I changed money to purchase my phone, a slightly torn $20 bill was refused by the teller…only perfect bills accepted. Hmm.

Today all of the muni group had a field trip to the town of Pastores. This morning the 15 of us learned of the challenges ahead. We will be doing a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of our towns (written in Spanish) to give to the municipal staff. Within the next few weeks we will also be giving a presentation in Spanish to high school kids. Those who thought this felt like summer camp are quickly learning that our work is beginning!

Tomorrow we are going to the police station to introduce ourselves…an official visit establishing who we are. Soy una planeficadora…that has a nice ring to it (I´m a planner).

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