Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Can Transform Ya

Sorry it has been forever since my last lengthy write-up, but here goes. My first charla went fairly well; a half-hour session in Spanish given to the local artisans and tour guides. I presented 'The Four Steps to a Happy Client', using a bridge and the steps to reach the destination over the water. Yes corny, but equally effective and clear in it's message. Each paso had an underlying message of communication, which was indeed the last step in the process. They were provided with phrases they could use correlated with each step, then focusing on the pronunciation and relevance of each.

Teaching English, despite many of my poor habits in the language, is something I thoroughly enjoyed and miss doing as I did at SHU (Woot Kealan). For my family or friends who are unaware, Kealan is a friend of mine who taught ESL with me/ is now teaching English in Cambodia with the Peace Corps. She has yet to get a shout out, but has been very helpful with this whole process (so since 2008?) and deserves one so here it is! Focusing back on ESL, it is extremley interesting to be on the opposite end of the spectrum as the learner. I have seen major advancement in my language abilities in just this month's time. Our group was just re-tested by a  local native on Monday and I am now at the Intermediate Level. Our class will now be split in half to further expedite the learning process.  Patty and I will be together.

This past Saturday all 45 volunteers went to the Mayan ruins of Iximche. We took part in an ancient Mayan ceremony, which included the burning various colored candles. Each candle represented a different aspect of life, i.e. red- love/ white- grandparents etc. The ceremony was fairly long, but interesting nonetheless. Another volunteer and I had to leave a bit early due to our bowel movements. Poop has actually become an extremely common topic of conversation here in Guatemala. Reactions to malaria medication, new or unusual foods and unclean water are just a few ways which can easily cause a rumbling in your tummy. Always a good idea to have toilet paper With you. A current volunteer accurately stated, "You know you're in the Peace Corps when you talk more about your bowel movements than your sex life." Here are a few pictures from the ceremony:

This coming Sunday the entire Sustainable Community Tourism group will embark on our week long FBT (Field Based Training) journey. In the midst of camping, lessons, and informational sessions we will also be giving another charla. Patty and I will presenting on Buyer/Customer Expectations. Our audience will be a group of women who do not speak Spanish, but one of the twenty-one indigenous languages here in Guatemala. We will be using a translator to communicate with the group, talk about a challenge! Either way we are eager to run it!

All these italics are references to Chris Brown songs, along with the title of this entry Transform Ya. I've often heard one of the hardest parts of being a Peace Corps Volunteer is returning to the States following service. "You will be a different person when you return after your two years." Just in my short month I can already see many perspectives, expectations and outlooks starting to transform. It has been said that it can be difficult to re-acclimate into a culture that may seem to turn a blind-eye to things happening in the world we live in, even on a level as basic as environmental consciousness or wasteful practices. A wise friend advised me that a good practice is to now, before changing much more, write down my current state (hopes, dreams, flaws, beliefs, corny interests etc). Sure I'll change, and so will you throughout a duration of two years, but being able to take a look back and see where you came from and who you were can help you stay grounded. On this night, before starting 8 hour Spanish classes with a new teacher, I am free and decided to take a little time and do this self-reflecting exercise (while eating hazella- nutella mas o menos). I used my new journal (Thanks Marissa) and came up with a fairly long list.

Starting with the fact that I still endorse Chris Brown could be flaw number one. He did break a simple 'All you need to know you learn in Kindergarten' rule of not hitting. Either way transform ya was appropriate! Other areas included everything from specifics on my hopes for grad school following service, current favorite foods, romantic feelings, and things I love in my life.. such as family. I tried to be honest as possible, evaluating current pros and cons of a bunchof aspects. Introspection is definitely a healthy way to gain a deeper realization of who you are and where you stand, something I have a strong feeling will continue throughout my two years here. As I'm hopeful that looking back "I used plastic Poland Spring Bottles when going the gym" will make me cringe, whether or not all the changes are positive I'm glad I took an amigo's advice to do this for myself.

Either way I can't blame anyone for having a hard time returning to the States, especially if you have siblings as cute as this:

And to my real sibling Garett, congrats on your license! It looks like it is time to Say Goodbye, Kiss Kiss (I enjoy this game too much).


Evan Dembkowski, PCT

Cuerpo de Paz
Apartado Postal 66
Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez, 03001
Guatemala, Centro America

1 comment:

  1. she is reading your blog....i will share it with my i received some peace core info in the mail :-) enjoy your adventure