After just recovering from a bout of Strep Throat on Sunday (October 8th) I moved in with my host family in Tecpan. My roommate for this new experience is the lovely Clare Mckenna.
Our family consists of:
- Our mother (I have forgotten her name…oops) who is the principal of the elementary school that is very close to where we all work everyday in the farms.
- Our father, Pedro, who is an administrator at the university here and works many hours. He starts his day at 4am and only comes back after nightfall to join us for dinner.
- Our oldest sister, Andrea, who is graduated from university and works with CCS so she accompanies us to our work sites everyday and takes attendance of all the TBB kids that made it.
- Our older brother, Pedro (Jr.), who is 23 and out of school as well. He runs the bike shop in the front of the house and is super athletic. In our living room he has a bunch of medals hanging on display to show that he placed in various marathons and such.
- Our youngest (but still older) sister, Isabel, who is 20 and in her 3rd (out of 5) year of university. She cooks for us and generally gets made fun of at the dinner table by Pedro (Jr.), I think, for reasons that I don´t really understand because they talk to eachother too fast.
- And of course: Ricky. The best dog. He always keeps Clare and me company and never shys away from being pet and loved.
Although I never saw myself as fluent in Spanish, I quickly learned that I could communicate well enough and understand most conversation. Thank goodness, because Clare didn´t know any Spanish having taken French in high school. She´s learning fast and I am finding that even though it is only our third day with them I am having to translate less and less for her. People are telling me that my Spanish is getting faster as well and I am excited to see the growth in all of us that is to come in that area.
Sunday evening (our first time being apart from the rest of TBB and our first hours alone with our host family) our host mother and father took us to the evening catholic mass. This was my first ever catholic mass and only like my third time being to church so it was interesting to say the least. Clare is catholic so although I understood what they were saying more than her, she definitley understood the mass and everything else as a whole way more than I did. I was the tallest one there. Everything about me attracted stares. From my purple hair to my out of place clothes. Overall it was the weirdest hour and a half of my life but an experience nontheless. The whole thing made me very introspective and contemplative about theology as a whole during the mass and for a while afterwards as well.
Tecpan is beautiful and so far the two days of work we have done here has been interesting and much more productive than in Guatemala City. I thoroughly enjoyed today´s task even if it was tiring. Seven of us dug a trench from a well and starting up this hill in order to run a water pipeline there and provide water to all the surrounding houses on and over the hill. At lunch my host mom told me that this water project has been in the works for about ten years but only in the past month has it really started to be worked on. It feels good to know that our work went into helping a whole community get water and we all learn so much from talking to the farmers we work with.