Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 12/12/2010

Laughs from Guatemala

A quick post before I collapse into bed…after all, I spent 9 hours today traveling by camionetta from Zacapa back to my home (which meant the comfort or lack thereof of a former American schoolbus…remember, this is where all of our schoolbuses come for a second life and eventual death)…First, a little background info.  I got to attend a 2-day conference on food security in the eastern part of the country along with some colleagues from my town and other towns in this region; it was an exchange of ideas from my department (or state) of Totonicapan and the department of Zacapa regarding activities and programs to combat malnutrition. This intercambio (interchange) of ideas sparked some creative possibilities for future work in our municipio and surrounding towns.

That’s the serious part…now onto the humor. Yesterday the conference ended mid-afternoon and a lack of consensus meant that us out-of-towners just stayed back at the hotel instead of going off exploring neighboring sites. Many people in my group had never been to the oriente (eastern part) of Guatemala. There is not the internal movement and travel within this country ( like in the U.S.)  unless it’s necessary to do work or visit family. So the consolation prize of not heading out was to have some contests and dancing in the evening. Well, the contests never happened, but the dancing did. As we headed back to our room after dinner, one of my roommates, Melida, a very fashionable lady about my age of unknown marital status commented (in Spanish, of course) that we needed to go brush our teeth in case we might get kissed! I laughed so hard because that came out of the blue! Later, when there was dancing…Melida and my other roommate, Paula, decided to stay in the room watching horror movies on TV. Yikes!

Well, the kisses didn’t happen…but I got to play the role of dance instructor, giving lessons of merengue to men and women alike. One man near my age was quite a good dancer, so we danced together a bit and got photographed by the others. I had to sit out now and then due to the heat because now I’m not used to it anymore. So I kind of made a name for myself…Teresita the dancing queen.

Melida was a fun roommate and we gave each other affectionate hugs goodbye today. I hope to stay in contact with her when I visit Quetzaltenango where she lives and works. Yesterday at lunch she opened a sugar packet a bit too vigorously and sprayed Paula with it, some going down Paula’s blouse. “Leche dulce” she laughed (or “sweet milk”) referring to the resulting breastmilk. These folks are not as conservative as we were led to believe…so onto the last story.

Two young guys were sitting ahead of me on the bus. One of them, Francisco, promotes agricultural methods and such in our municipality. As I chatted with them, I mentioned that I also spoke French. Francisco’s friend perked up and said that he would love to learn some phrases in French….so he wrote his script in Spanish for me to translate. “Hello. It was a great pleasure to spend the evening with you. I’d like to give you a big kiss. I like/love you.” I obliged with translating so that he could romance a woman in the future with the smoothness of French…even though she wouldn’t have a clue as to what he was saying. I also laughed that he was putting all of this on his phone, so he would be using that like a teleprompter as he delivers his romantic lines! ….it was when he wanted me to deliver the lines to him in a “sexy” voice so he could get the full effect that the absurdity of the moment was maximized!! I did as asked. My request of him was a report back to me on the success of his efforts…. Just helping out in the name of love.



  1. So not only a peace corps ambasador but also a dancing instructor. Who knows how all your dancing will pay off in that environment. Love that you are having fun. PS: they are conservative, but very outspoken when making jokes with doble sentido.

  2. no pictures from the dancing event? pasala bien mi querida amiga. un abrazo

  3. Janet (or Teresita!),

    I’m happy you’re becoming known for your deserts and dancing, just like here in Seattle!

    Enjoying your reports!


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