Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Final Post

It has been a couple months since I have last posted and a ton has happened since then. For the sake of brevity, I will just write about latest and not so greatest of news. I went home around the second week of November to visit my famiy for Thanksgiving. I ended up injuring my knee and as it turns out, I have a torn ACL. Peace Corps Washington insists I have my ACL surgically repaired, although I feel as if I can continue on with my duties in Guatemala. Surgery has been scheduled for December 19th and it will be a Christmas on crutches for me! Yay! That is exactly what I've wanted for Christmas since I was a little kid. it has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? "Christmas on Crutches!" What this all means is that I won't be returning to Guatemala, at least for a while. There is a possibility of being reinstated, but I don't know when that would be. The best thing to do is to take it one step at a time. Poco a poco. This may or may not be my last post. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It’s amazing to think that I have only two weeks left of classes. Where did the time go? What did I do? While I can’t say I have made serious progress with the Healthy Schools project, I can say that I have established something intangible. “Confianza” is something absolutely necessary in Guatemala if one is to get anywhere in his/her work. Unlike in the US, a business relationship simply does not exist here. You can’t go in with the US “lets get down to business” mindset while thinking you’re going to get a lot done in a little amount of time or people will resent you for it. The truth is you will get little done in a long period of time, but the journey is what matters most. Guatemalans place a premium on personal relationships and as is the case in most underserved countries, what they lack in material possession they make up for in kindness and hospitality. Either that or they just steal from your ass.

I was lucky enough to have a visitor from the US. My sister came down for a week and we had a great time. It was her first time out of the country and she held up pretty well. Not many people can say their first time abroad was when they went to Guatemala. Its usually Europe and traveling in any European country is pretty much Traveling 101. You may as well visit another state. Traveling around Guatemala is no easy task and the differences in culture can be daunting if not entirely overwhelming. Asia is like that too, which is probably why I love it so much. It couldn’t be more different than Ventura County. Visitors from home (although I’ve only had one) are great because you get show them how you have been living and they will actually understand what you are talking about when you’re describing Lake Atitlan or Antigua. The best way to comprehend something is through experiential learning. My sister will probably be the last visitor I have in Guatemala, as my friends back home are losers and would rather waste their money on booze at shitty places like P6 or Suki 7 or whatever restaurant/number is the most trendy in Westlake, A couple nights out will get you a plane ticket and the rest is just peanuts. My sister spent less than $100 in the week she was here, and we lived well. Saving money is a piece of piss but some people just can’t control their spending habits.

Besides going to my schools, I had the opportunity to participate in an HIV/AIDS workshop with sixty 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers from an area where another Healthy Schools volunteer works. The participating teachers were divided into groups of 20 and each group was lead by 3 volunteers. It went extremely well and it was amazing to see how little these people knew about HIV/AIDS and sex education. We are exposed to that material at an early age either in the classroom or in the halls. Young boys are naturally perverted and I have to admit I was quite the dirty perv myself, so I knew through hearsay about almost everything way before high school. The teachers were taught the basics: statistics of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Guatemala, how the disease is transmitted and how to properly put on a condom. The Latin American machismo culture of arrogance and ignorance prevent the men from having protected sex. If the women even suggested the use of a condom, they would be slapped and scolded as if the man’s masculinity was being challenged. The problem also lies with the influence of the Catholic Church and their medieval stance on “sex for procreation,” as well as its failure to advocate methods of birth control. Not only is such a stance resulting in a disproportionately high number of children to a family suited only for 1 or 2 kids at the most, but it is also failing to put a lid on the AIDS epidemic in Africa, one of the few regions in the world where the Church is seeing a rise in the number of patrons and priests. Instead of the Vatican electing a pope that would reflect modernity, they instead chose an old-school theologist in the form of Pope Eggs Benedict. Enough of that. It was interesting to learn that these people had no idea that AIDS could be transmitted through other means besides blood transfusions and regular intercourse. We had them anonymously write any relative question on a little piece of paper and the questions we got were pretty surprising. We got a few asking what oral sex was and what vaginal secretions were. I felt I was dealing with a bunch of elementary school students, not that their level of maturity reflected that if a kid’s, but just because these people have never been acquainted with things we think of as common knowledge. While I was surprised, my colleagues certainly weren’t, as they have had more experience giving AIDS workshops. In response to my surprise, my colleagues simply said, “Dude, we’re in Guatemala. What did you expect?” If there is ever a frustration with the people or anything else here, just tell yourself “Dude, I’m in Guatemala. What did I expect?” and you will maintain what little sanity you have left.

I would also like to mention I will be coming home for Thanksgiving, the 14h to be exact. Although there are many things/people I look forward to eating/doing/seeing, I must admit it will be difficult being home again, as it always is. I start to go stir crazy after being home for just a few days, feeling I should be anywhere but there. Reverse culture shock is something you hear a lot about in the Peace Corps. It’s pretty much self- explanatory. It occurs when people have been abroad for a while and find it hard to adjust upon returning home. However, I don’t think that will be the case for me. It’s just that being abroad has only strengthened my indignation for the rat race that is Southern California. The disgusting displays of excess. People living in a dream world induced by the money that surrounds them. People conveniently blinded by the lustful pursuit of material possessions. Fictitious beliefs in a Buddha propagated by the Hollywood elite/dregs (not that a belief in Buddha is wrong, but believing in something because it is trendy is disgusting). The Westlake Mom, fresh from a yoga workout clad in a sweat suit, parking her Mercedes in the handicap spot at Starbucks, then lunching at God knows where with her girlfriends whose lives are as equally important, then off to pick up the kids at school all the while on the cell phone definitely not talking about social injustice or economic disparity, then its out to an overpriced dinner followed by overpriced drinks with the girlfriends because Tom is working late and discussions definitely involve shit-talking their husbands who bankroll their pathetic excuse of an existence they know as life. God forbid they don’t get two hours or so in at John of Italy/The Hair Grove/The More I Pay for a Cut and Color the Better. Then it’s off to the million dollar home remodeled for $500,000 which includes Buddhist temple-like objects because remember, that is what is currently in, and other such luxurious self indulgences. These are a few of the vomit inducing things one would see on a daily basis. Don’t be surprised if you see me walking around town with a barf bag.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Women in Advertising

I wrote something for the GAD (Gender and Development) newsletter, so I thought I'd put it up. Some of this stuff was extracted from something I wrote a while back.

Glossy red lips protrude in a seductive pout while bright eyes gaze intensely into infinity. Her skin is flawless; creamy white, wrinkle free and without blemishes. An article of fabric posing to be a top exposes angular collarbones and a slimmed, bony midriff. Her left hand grasps a fashionable handbag slung over her shoulder while her right thumb tugs suggestively downward on her mini skirt. High heels make her slender legs look impossibly long. This Prada ad isn’t really selling purses. It is selling something completely different to a woman. It represents something impossible, something an average woman will simply never have; an unattainable ideal.
Everywhere we turn, advertisements let woman know what it means to be desirable. For a woman, the messages all share a common theme: She must be "beautiful." Advertising, of course, did not invent the notion that women should be valued as ornaments; women have always been measured against cultural ideals of beauty. However, advertising has joined forces with sexism to make images of the beauty ideal more pervasive, and more unattainable, than ever before. These images appear in all forms of media, inundating young women with false representations of what it means to be beautiful. They have been penetrating the psyche of young women around the world (yes, even in Guatemala) ever since waif thin French model Twiggy Lawson first appeared on the covers of magazines in the late 60’s; and their effects have been devastating. Not that advertisements advocating a standard for beauty didn’t exist before the 60’s, but it was the appearance of an underweight model at that time that catapulted the thin ideal. Advertisements instruct us to assume a self-conscious perspective; to view our physical selves through the censorious eyes of others. To those of us who grew up in the consumer culture, intense self-scrutiny has become an automatic reflex. A constant bombardment of these images has inevitably caused women to suffer both psychologically and physically in trying to achieve what is perceived to be beauty, and the effects of the two are intrinsically linked. Depression, low self-esteem about one’s image and a sense of hopelessness can inexorably lead to plastic surgery, extreme dieting and/or eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia and even suicide; all to look like the girl on the cover of the new Glamour Magazine.
In the portrayal of women's bodies, the gap has never been wider. The slender reigning ideal provides a stark contrast to the rounder curves of nearly all women's bodies. As an adaptation to the physical demands of childbearing, women's bodies typically have a fat content of approximately 25 percent, as opposed to 15 percent in men. For much of human history, this characteristic was admired, sought after, and celebrated in the arts. But the twentieth century has seen a steady chipping away at the ideal female figure. A generation ago, according to Naomi Wolf, a media critic, a typical model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman; more recently she weighs 23 percent less. The average actress, model or dancer is thinner than 95% of the female population (Wolf 472). In effect, popular media has decreed 95% of women unacceptable.
Tragically, millions of women sacrifice their health-and even their lives-to conform to the shape of what is “beautiful.” Roughly 80 percent of the 150,000 women who have breast augmentation surgery each year do so for cosmetic reasons, most often to enlarge their breasts. Recent revelations, which came to light despite suppression by implant-maker Dow Corning, suggest that silicone implants may cause immune-system disorders and death. In response, the Food and Drug Administration has sharply limited implants.
Surveys have show that 75% of women aged 18-35 believe they’re fat, while only 25% are actually overweight (the same percentage as men). 45% of underweight women think they’re too fat, and women cite losing ten pounds as more desirable than success in work or love. Yet, there is little evidence to support the claim that being mildly overweight causes poor health in women. On the contrary, recent studies have suggested that it may sometimes be healthier to be overweight than to repeatedly gain and lose weight through "yo-yo dieting." Unfortunately, few women can eat in peace. On any given day, 25 percent of American women are dieting, and another 50 percent are finishing, breaking, or starting diets. A survey by Glamour magazine found that 50 percent of respondents used diet pills, 27 percent used liquid formula diets, 18 percent used diuretics, 45 percent fasted, 18 percent used laxatives, and 15 percent engaged in selfinduced vomiting. While women have purged and starved themselves, the diet industry has grown fat.
In addition to physical insecurities and dieting, women are suffering from seriously harmful eating disorders. Over one million young women do irreversible damage to their bodies and psyches annually as a result of eating disorders (Wolf 181). The notion that this devastation was engineered by powerful members of our society is almost too ridiculous--and too evil--to conceive. Yet, somehow, young, women around the world have fallen victim to the unattainable ideal of someone else’s beauty. If history is any indicator, the epidemic will progress unrestrained. In the meantime, 150,000 American women will die this year of anorexia and bulimia nervosa . With a death rate of up to 15%, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate among psychological disorders. Those dying are not the poor and ignorant unfortunates from the slums and ghettos of the inner cities--they are the best and brightest of the young generations. They are the future leaders of this country, and they are, literally, wasting away. (Wolf 180).
The twentieth century brought remarkable technological advances, but it also gave rise to an attitude of unimaginable consequence. Young women are taught that exterior beauty is more relevant than any other aspect of their lives. Female role models teach that young women can achieve anything, if only they’re first thin enough to be seen in public. With all the ultra-thin media images in our culture today, it is difficult for women not to feel that their body is inadequate in some way. Jean Kilbourne, another prominent media critic, contends that Americans are exposed to 1500 advertisements a day. As we submerse our culture with ads negatively portraying women we remove any hope of social progress and gender equality. The solution is to change the philosophy behind advertising, a change that is occurring now. Unfortunately it is a slow drawn-out process as heads of companies are reluctant to change what has seemingly worked for the past fifty years. Little do they know that when women feel good about themselves, have realistic notions of beauty and health, that they will be serving both their companies, and the women of the future. Until ads depict women in a realistic way, women will continue to measure themselves against an inhuman ideal. And until they are released from the rigid confines of current expectations, women around the around (yes, Guatemala too!) will continue to seek commercial remedies and other drastic measures for imaginary flaws.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Schools and Gov't

I sometimes make the mistake of thinking the Socratic Method is appropriate for students who have only been exposed to nothing but rote recitation. Questions like “What do you mean?” and “How do you know?” only result in the emptiest of gazes. Why would I, the teacher, be asking the questions? I should just be giving the answers. Isn’t that what teachers are good for? Even the basic “Why?” has students looking like I’m speaking another language. The funny thing is, I am speaking another language but it is their language, not mine. Answers have to practically be spoon fed to the students or you will be met the passive silence these students are famous for. They were never taught to think analytically or creatively. Its just not part of the curriculum. One can only expect the obvious to be stated. I sometimes ask my students to think about the given topic and write (if they can) about it. (Their ability to spell correctly is absolutely dreadful). I recently did an activity where I distributed several cards that depicted healthy habits and unhealthy habits and had the students place them on the “las malas” or the “las buenas” side of the chalkboard. The students worked in pairs and had to come up to the front of the class and show the rest of the class their card, decide which side of the chalkboard their card belonged to and tell everybody why. Getting them to answer the why part was like pulling teeth. I then had them think about one of the habits ALREADY on the board, decide which one they don’t often do (given it is on the “las buenas” side) and write about how they can do it on a regular basis to live healthier. Judging by the looks on their faces, you would have thought I asked them to explain nuclear fission. I phrased the question several times and even put and example on the board. I wrote “I don’t usually wash my hands after I go to the bathroom. I will wash my hands after I go to the bathroom to avoid getting sick.” So what did all 25 sixth-graders write? “I don’t usually wash my hands after I go to the bathroom. I will wash my hands after I go to the bathroom to avoid getting sick.” That is the rural Guatemalan education in a nutshell. It’s to be expected when they put more emphasis on planning parties and playing games than actual education. Do I expect to change it? No. Do I hope to expose them to a new way of thinking and a new way of learning? To an extent, yes. It’s the least I can hope for.

As August comes to an end, so does the school year. Almost. Well, for me at least. I have a full week of classes next week, followed by a week of preparing for Independence Day, followed by a few meetings the next week, followed by 2-3 full weeks of teaching and then that is it. And when I say full week, I mean 8 AM- 10AM, Monday-Thursday. Pretty hectic schedule I have, I know. One the whole, the staff and students of the 3 schools I work with are extremely receptive to my presence, with the exception of a few subversives that are intent on destroying my Healthy Schools scheme. This kid, Benino, is probably the ugliest cute kid you have ever seen and his “chistoso” face is only made funnier by how dirty it is. I swear this kid sleeps with his pigs. For the little ones, the parents are to blame for their black teeth, filthy hair and bodies, soiled and torn clothing and shoes that should have been replaced 6 months ago. Part of my job is to educate the families, as well as the students. The parents were never taught that you shouldn’t shit and throw trash in the river and then drink from it when you are thirsty. They were never taught to wash their hands frequently to avoid consuming diarrhea producing parasites and microbes. They were never taught not to cook without a chimney in an enclosed house, inundating the entire family with thick plumes of smoke. No wonder the principle cause of infant mortality in kids under 5 is respirator related, followed by secondary complications from diarrhea. This lack of what we perceive to be common sense can’t continue forever, can it?

As August comes to an end, it just means Guatemala is that much closer to presidential, congressional and mayoral elections. Hooray for democracy! Hooray for corruption! Hooray for murder! The only thing a newly elected president and mayor means for Guatemala is there will be new pair of “clean” hands to pick their pockets and rob them blind. I’ve already explained what Guatemala should do to help itself out but I am pretty sure it will continue down this path of fraudulence and criminality for God knows how long. I would not want to be a mayor in Guatemala. Piss off your constituents and they wont hold a referendum to get you out of office. They will show up to city hall with torches to burn the place down and machetes to hack you up into little pieces as you run out. If your head isn’t chopped off, you will be hanged in the town square. That’s democracy! I’ll be sure to be nowhere near my town as elections come around. I just feel sorry for the “muni” volunteers, or, the volunteers who work in municipal development exempli gratia, city hall and the mayor. Bribes are given to the mayor for preferential treatment when it comes time to bid for lucrative construction jobs and sometimes volunteers are pressured into accepting bribes. If everybody in the office is guilty, then nobody is really guilty. I also want to point out that the mayor of my community has the biggest house. Accepting bribes and skimming off the top never hurt anybody, right? God, that guy and his shitty soul patch make me sick. My ex-site mate had to leave because of how corrupt the muni is. Nepotism, bribery and corruption exist in just about every form of government known to man, but it just seems to be magnified here. Anyway, time to go read about nepotism, bribery and corruption in The Economist. P.S. The Economist= best magazine ever.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Lookng Up

These past few weeks have probably been the most positive and productive I’ve had since arriving to site a little over 3 months ago. My ankle, up until about the 4th of July weekend, has impeded any sort of progress I could have made in my schools. While other had already built “confianza” with their teachers, I was arriving to my schools basically introducing myself to those who were unfamiliar with me. However, before getting started at my schools, I had the opportunity to see the band K-Paz de la Sierra. Now, I’m sure you have never heard of them but I can guarantee you that every Mexican or Guatemala will know who they are. “Mi Credo” is the first song I remember hearing of theirs and I have been in love ever since. The tickets were 150Q, which is roughly $20, a hefty price for any band in Guatemala. That was just for general admission. VIP tickets were 400Q and there were a surprising number of people who actually paid that. The time on the ticket said 8:00, so the four of us showed up at around 7:30 to try and beat the crowd. We ended up waiting in a sea of cowboy hats, belt buckles and cowboy boots for an hour and a half in the poring rain. That was just to get in. We ended up waiting an additional two and a half hours for the band to go on. No opening acts. No music. Just standing in the middle of a soccer field amongst a crowd of angry Guatemalans who cursed all Mexicans (the band is Mexican) and said the words “cerrote,” “verga” and “puta” every other second. That right there was my pre-show entertainment. The band finally came on at the stroke of midnight and opened up with “Mi Vecinita,” one of my favorites. Fireworks, light shows and dancers- the whole works. For a show in Guatemala, I was pretty impressed. My friends and I were definitely the only gringos in the whole place, which garnered us a fair bit of attention; both wanted and unwanted. My friends Dan and Meghan definitely get more stares because they are true blonds and get stared at wherever they go. He actually managed to have a few girls come up and ask him dance. Lookers they weren’t, It was still good to see Dan busting a move with a Guatemalteca. All I got was a bunch of wasted dudes coming up to me and practicing what little English they knew. That’s the standard around here. We didn’t stay for the entire show, as we were pretty beat from waiting for four hours, so we took off and headed home. It was a great way to start the week.
The following day I was back in my site and preparing to work. I held meetings with all of my schools that week to discuss the Healthy Schools project and what our roles would be exactly. Basically, my job is to co-facilitate health education classes with teachers to students and their families and provide technical support in sanitation and health project development. The goal is to certify each school as a Healthy School, something my boss is trying to implement at a national level through the Ministry of Education; something I belive is possible. Obviously we just need the cooperation of the government before anything else. There really hasn’t a big push for it lately since the current administration is getting the boot as soon a new one is getting voted in sometime in November. We just have to focus on our positions for the raminder of the school year, which isn’t that long. I have all of August and maybe half of September. The first week of September will be taken up by elections and the second week will be devoted to preparing for Independence Day on the 15th. So all in all, I will have only worked for maybe two months the entire year.
There is good news, however. My sister is coming to visit me for a week in September. I’m excited to finally have a family member visit me abroad to see what my life is like. My parents and my brother Tony are too busy, my brother Mason will probably never leave the state of California, so my sister seemed like a perfect candidate for a visit. It really is nice to have visitors and I’m looking forward to showing my sister what life as a Peace Corps Volunteer is really like. Needless to say, my dad will probably have a heart attack each day my sister is gone. That’s my dad. If only Crisitin could bring the Doxies with her…If she did, I think my mom would have a heart attack each day they are gone. That’s my mom.
Just letting you all know I will be going home for 2 weeks in November. I think it will by first Thanksgiving meal since 2004 and I am definitely looking forward to it. I was contemplating between coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Not only are flights more expensive in December, but I just figured it would be more hectic that time of the year with people going out of town and parties and all. I did manage to find a pretty good deal back home in November, which pretty much sealed the deal. So if anybody is interested, I’ll be home on the 13th. Until then, I will be keeping myself busy with work and life here.
I am giving a little presentation to the students this week so they can get an idea of who I am and what I like. I printed out some pictures of my family, friends and of course, the Daschunds. I also cut out ads from magzines to depict what I’m interested in. The following week I am going to have them draw their house and their family to get of not only who they are, but what is going on in their wee little minds. Obviously, it isn’t a good sign if a kid draws himself murdering his family and lynching his dog. It kinda tells you the kid has problems. It will also give me the opportunity to really see how well these kids take care of themselves. I’ll look at their nails, their hands, their hair and basic appearance to assess what percentage of the kids are practicing healthy habits. Two of my schools consist of mainly indigenous students and based on what I’ve seen, they (their parents) don’t really take much interest in personal hygiene. This obviously makes my job and the teachers job harder because there is a cycle of unhealthy lifestyles. If the parents don’t brush their teeth or wash their hands, the kids most likely won’t. Like my boss Dr. Mack says, “It’s the 21st Century and we’re talking about washing hands!?!” The reason he brings this up is because as simple as that sounds, its just not done here which leads to serious problems. The contrast between the germ freak American parent and the inidgenous parent who sends his or her kid to school covered in filth is huge. Little Billy and little Jorge are kids and kids get dirty. That’s just a fact of life. However, both Billy and Jorge should be sure to wash their hands before they eat and brush their teeth twice a day. Walking around with hand sanitizer in your little pants pocket or walking around with mud all over your pants is not so normal. Balance. That’s all I’m asking for.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I know I’ve been kind of slack on posting lately. It’s just that since swearing in on April 12, life has been relatively lethargic. A month of slight incapacitation due to having an unnecessarily large cast on from my toes up to my knee preceded by a month-long strike by the teachers has made for an uneventful and rather mundane time. It has almost been like a 2-month vacation, minus anything remotely fun one would find in a vacation. Let’s just say that I was given 2 months to become “comfortable” and “familiar” with Guatemala and the chance to “integrate” into my community. There is not much one can integrate while on crutches. I don’t stick out like a sore thumb. I stick out like a thumb that has been halfway cut off and squirting massive amounts of blood. First, I’m a gringo and second, I’m “broken,” as it translates from Spanish. Blending in is just not a possibility. I think If a dye my hair a little darker the stares might abate. Walking with my friend Dan is pretty funny. He is a true blond and he gets stares from everybody. I think they’re a bit shocked by the fact that the hair on his arms is also blond. What a freak!
I actually had a pretty decent past few days. We had an interesting conference on Friday at the training center. Frank la Rue, a well-known human rights activist in Guatemala and abroad spoke about the current state of Guatemala and what it’s potential is for the future. He gave many reasons why Guatemala is where it is and offered possible solutions to fix it like doubling the police force and stabilizing the country, increasing taxes from 12% GDP to 16% GDP, and a more transparent form of government. His ideas sounded viable enough to me. If you look at Guatemala, it is a country rich in culture and natural beauty. Yet it still has not lived up to it’s potential. I don’t think Guatemala is far from realizing it’s potential, but it must first make serious inroads in political, economic and civil reform before that can happen. After Mr. La Rue spoke, we were given several “workshop” choices where we would hear from speakers from different sectors: NGO’s, the business sector and USAID and the State Department. I attended the latter and found it very interesting. A representative from the US Embassy spoke of what her work entailed and also of what applying to the Foreign Service is like and what we can expect. Since this is a career path I have considered, I was able to glean some pretty useful information from that session. The following day was the all volunteer and staff 4th of July party, although it was held on the 7th. With burgers, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon, chips and chocolate cake, I really felt like I was back in the states. The committee I am treasurer of, GAD (Gender and Development), held a raffle and made a substantial amount of money to benefit young Guatemalan girls in poor, rural communities. The prizes were all donated and included free stays at hotels in Antigua and Xela, dinner and drinks at popular restaurants and even dinner at the country director’s place in the capital. The whole day went really well for all. It was great to see all the girls from my group and it was nice to meet other volunteers from different groups here in Guatemala. I visited with my old host family on Sunday and joined them for lunch. All 9 of them seemed to doing well and it was great to see them as well. Everybody left for their respective sites on Sunday, but I had to stay for a doctors appointment in the capital the following day. Unfortunately, this visit wasn’t for my ankle. It was for something else. For the past few months, I have been getting these painful, subcutaneously located little bumps on my body that appear for a week or two then disappear. I gave blood last week and the results were inconclusive. I gave blood again yesterday and will hopefully find out what’s going on either today or tomorrow. In the mean time, I have to wait until I find out, which translates into no work. Will I ever get to work? The answer is yes, but I still have to wait a bit. Monday the 16th is the most probable date and needless to say, I’m quite ready. Oh and by the way, my ankle healed just fine without your packages, thank you. I guess I didn’t need any after all. Although, I’m sure good chocolate and sunflower seeds and Trident gum would be good for my psyche. Just keep that in mind. What else can I complain about? Ah yes! Several of my friends here have had family and friends down to visit. I just wonder if I will ever get a visitor from home. You know, I’ve been abroad since March of 2005 and I have had one visitor, only because it took me buying his ticket to get his ass over here. He eventually paid me back, but still. If I were at home working and I had friends abroad, I would be visiting them so fast. I know my parents are busy and it’s just not possible to come and visit me no matter where I am, especially since they have two babies; a pair of dachshunds name Gunnar and Gracie. Those dogs live better than most Guatemalans. But when I have kids, whenever that may be, I am going to force them to do study abroad programs or volunteer programs like the Peace Corps just so I can visit them. Alright, enough complaining. I’m going to read one of the new Enconomists my mom sent me. Thanks mom.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A report on nothing

Still nothing much to report here. I really havent done much since getting this cast on. I will, however, have this cast taken off pretty soon. It will be nice to get back to work. It honestly feels like I havent done anything since finishing training in April. Anyways, hope you all are well. Peace.