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Monday, January 5, 2009

Who, What, and Where

We have had quite a bit of downtime and internet access since arriving in Antigua so we are taking advantage of it with all these blog posts as I’m not sure we will be so lucky everywhere we go.

Yesterday was the first day that I actually carried around my pack on my back, fully loaded, for any length of time. We walked around town in search of the hotel we would be staying at to meet our fellow volunteers. My hip bones have the bruises today to prove it and it turns out walking on cobblestones in sandals for three days straight is a great calf workout. Troy’s pack must be lighter than mine as he saw no urgency in getting to our destination and instead insisted that I take his picture with people with guns.

Today we met the rest of the volunteers that are beginning their volunteer stint this week. They have all committed between 4 weeks and 6 months with Global Vision International (GVI). We met the coordinators here who are super friendly and passionate about the project so it was great to feed off some of their energy and learn more about what we will be doing, who we will be helping. All of the volunteers have varying levels of Spanish so some will be heading directly to the community in which we will be volunteering while others (including ourselves) will be taking Spanish lessons for a week first.

We will be teaching in the indigenous mayan community of San Andres Itzapa. The aim of the project is to initiate and sustain first-time and continuous education for indigenous families living in extreme poverty. The Indigenous Maya in Guatemala make up a huge percentage of the population and appear to be largely ignored by the government. GVI pays for the children to attend national school and gives them further learning in the GVI sponsored schools, providing them with a greater chance of success. Spanish is also not the first language of the Mayan people, however it is vital for the children to learn. As I understand it, we may be at the same level spanish language-wise (after some lessons of course) as the kids we are teaching! There will be several volunteer teachers in each class, which should help. We have been faithfully reviewing our list of Spanish words/phrases which essentially include such useful things as “Stop stabbing your friend with the pencil” and “Please tell me where to get off the bus”….
I will be teaching the ‘Zunil’ class (5-8 year old kids) who are currently learning vowels, colors, numbers, and art. Troy, on the other hand, will be teaching the ‘Tacana’ class (10-14 year olds) who are currently learning math, reading comprehension and geography! Troy is a bit nervous as he has equated his task with teaching rocket science in a foreign language. Should be interesting….

Our language classes begin tomorrow and we have signed up for the ‘Very basic’ class which is a step down from the ‘basic’ class. I think my French will help me out considerably but I couldn’t convince Troy to make the leap up to ‘basic‘. Guess he thinks it will be important to learn colors and numbers and stuff. He is probably right….though our current method of guessing and deductive reasoning allowed us to order lunch today and even buy a strawberry cheesecake (Quessa y fraises) ice cream cone :) .


  1. Heya guy! Marty wants to know if Troy is wearing "manpris" in that photo? Hee hee!
    Keep the posts comin! Love 'em! Love you!

  2. Nic & Troy - What fun and what adventures you two are going to have this year! Enjoy every minute of it. Nathan and Aileen are sorry you won't be around for their wedding in May but why not be in Uganda rather than Kansas?!

    Auntie Paula