Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 10/18/2010

Moving on and upward in the world!

Picture this, a grown woman neatly crammed into a large plastic bin for a warm bath…just like an overgrown baby. That would be me, of course. My host mother, Maria, very kindly offered to heat up some water for a warm bucket bath. She knew that today would be an important day, meeting my Guatemalan counterpart, Roberto, so she wanted to help me to look my best. Of course, the protocol is to stand up while soaping up and then use a scoop to splash water to rinse, but I prefer the rare sensation of a warm bath even if I do have to assume pretzel-like flexibility.

Hanging out at Cafe Sky in Antigua

Back to today’s meeting…each one of us will be working closely with a Guatemalan, who shall be our professional colleague to help provide entry into this society and our tasks. We, in turn, are responsible for providing training to our counterpart as needed, and help with their professional development…basically, work ourselves out of the scene. They will be the ones who remain to help improve the quality of life in Guatemala, not us, so the goal is to facilitate and promote, but not take the ball and run with it downfield. We are the coaches and cheerleaders, not the players.

All of us now know our destinations for the next two years. We received the news last Thursday after months of waiting and speculation.  Upon inquiry, most seem genuinely happy with their assignments, and I have to give credit to our program directors for attempting to match our interests and desires to the various site options…NOT an easy process. Apparently in past years some announcements were greeted by tears from volunteers. Thankfully, not my case!

Site assignments!

I will be in a small town of 2,000 in the western(occidente)  part of the country at an elevation of 7,000 ft., so flying high! Needless to say, the climate is moderate-cold. Well, I did say I didn’t want a hot location, so I’m fine with this. My town is mostly indigenous but speaks Spanish primarily (good!). A few other features. I am assigned to the DMP (direccion municipal de planificacion) and OMM (oficina municipal de mujeres), thus, both the planning office and the women’s office. I will be the first municipal development volunteer, so I will be trail-blazing for the round of two subsequent volunteers to follow after my act. An added bonus is that 2 other Peace Corps volunteers are at my site and plan a welcome barbeque for me. Sweet! Apparently, the nearest large city, Quetzaltenango is a pretty nice city and I’m not too far away from the beautiful lake Atitlan. Some additional features, a hot springs nearby…hmm, can you say the word “relaxation”? Oh yes, there are warm showers in the home where I will be living for the next 3 months…goodbye squeeze-play in the plastic tub!

Tomorrow (martes) I will head off to my new site along with my counterpart (who will help me trek my vast belongings). I have joked with my host dad that I would like for him to be macho enough to assist me with my luggage, then be a bit less so when we work together. After about 5 days of meeting people, I travel solo back to my current hometown on Oct. 23rd for one last week at the Peace Corps office and my current host family. Oct. 29th brings the BIG event day, swearing in as a Peace Corps volunteer at the U.S. ambassador’s house….then a well-deserved celebration and last night of togetherness before we scatter like windblown seeds across this diverse and interesting country! On October 30th, I head off to my new life and work!

Happy friends




  1. Wow/ Jan. Sounds great. I love the pictures. You look very happy. The updates are awesom… we so look forward to reading them. Be safe of your travels and enjoy the celebration for sure! Things are gong well here. My 21 year old neice moved in with us 3 weeks ago and it is going well. She got a temp. job in Golden and had a car accident last Thursday while coming home. No one was hurt! Her car is in the shop and I have been driving her to the light rail station to catch the train and then a bus to her final destination. We’re running into difficulty with her car… there wasn’t that much damage at all, but the guy is saying 1300.00 so far and maybe more. So, we’re looking into having her car towed to a different shop.
    Jake and Amber are doing well. We are on our first day of a 2 week fall break. They are super excited for bike rides, park, zoo trips and a trip to the pumpkin patch. I have been milling my own wheat and making bread, bagels, tortillias, cookies all with my freshly ground wheat. Yum. Smells good and is good for us.
    Steve is doing well… working himself too much as usual. He had some dental work done, but they just made it worse. He needs to go back b/c he is in so much pain. I have lost 10 pounds… I weigh less than before the kids were born. I have been working at our gym in Littleton 2 to 3 days per week, and volunteering at the school 1 day a week. I enjoy working better than I thought I would. Its been real nice.

    Well.. you take care and keep those fun-filled posts coming. Love you, Crystal

  2. Hi Janet,
    I have enjoyed reading about your activities and seeing your pictures. It sounds like your destination city was a happy choice for you. I know you will enjoy the challenge of being the first municipal development volunteer with both the planning office and the women’s office. Looking forward to hearing more about your Big Event, Oct. 29th. Enjoy the celebration.
    Enjoying a sunny fall here. Getting out in the garden and doing some fall planting.
    Love, Mary

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