11 marzo 2011- viernes
Happy International Women’s Day…yes, I promise this post to be more upbeat! My sitemates, Kiki, Claire (fellow volunteers)and I decided to aprovechar (take advantage) of the special occasion of March 8th and plan various activities throughout this week. Maria, my women’s office counterpart, had planned a half-day conference for women leaders in our community…surprising Claire and myself that morning with a request for an activity. Hmm…as with everything Peace Corps, it demands thinking on your feet, so we quickly proposed and led an activity that required no materials.
Wanting a festive activity that promoted visibility of girls and women
for March 8th…we also organized a foot race around the center of town with middle school girls. The school principal brought along a sound system which enlivened our event. Cheers went up with the news that participation earned extra points. Given that Tuesday was also Fat Tuesday or carnival, the top 3 winners were greeted with the Guatemalan carnival tradition of cracking confetti-packed eggshells on their heads!!
The week culminated with activities for elementary and middle school girls…emphasizing self-esteem, leadership, and cooperation. Girls had to figure out how to untangle themselves in a human spiderweb of clasped hands….trust their adjacent neighbors to form a human chair…and guess notable women’s achievements. The girls surprised us by articulating beliefs that indicated more equality and rights for Guatemalan women than what we volunteers have witnessed in actuality, but perhaps that is indeed their hopeful future. It was heartening to hear some girls dreaming to be different…wanting to be lawyers or a carpenter (most wanted to be teachers or nurses).
I am a grateful recipient of the girls’ enthusiasm…during an activity
when they were to write positive phrases on papers on each other’s backs, they included us, too. My list reads: eres una bonita como la dulce (you are sweet like candy), es muy hermosa (you are very beautiful), usted es una princesa (you are a princess), su pelo es muy bonito (your hair is very pretty), eres un angel (you are an angel), and eres bonita y muy adorable (you are pretty and very adorable). This list now adorns my door, so I shall read it whenever I need a boost for my self-esteem! All in all, a positive week and I hope we helped these girls to dream big for their future!!
Another notable event: today marks my 7-month anniversary in Guatemala!! Time seems to be flying by, and this already completes 25% of my 27-month service here. So much more to do!!