Monday, November 26, 2007

A Day in the Life of Sara

I have 45 minutes to kill until I have to be at Brian and Aneth’s house for dinner, so I thought I would sit down and share a little about my day, because, as it turns out, I actually kind of enjoy writing. It’s surprising I didn’t figure this out after choosing journalism as my major, but after 18 years of swearing I hated English, I guess it was hard for me to come to terms with. I’ve determined my hatred of English must have developed as a result of being told I wasn’t a good writer at a very young age. Regardless, on to more interesting subjects!

Today involved the usual trying to drag myself out of bed and convince myself to go to work, where I am not appreciated and do not have much to do. I’m still struggling to improve the situation, but I am losing ganas, as they say in español. My APCD came out to visit last week and I finally ascertained that although my cooperative is a “cooperative” per say, it’s actually more of a corporation in disguise. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why the founding members were able to exclusively control everything, but my APCD explained that if it is written into the bylaws this is entirely legal. So, in fact, the remaining members are really nothing more than venerated customers. Needless to say, I am a little perplexed as to why I am in Guatemala helping people who aren’t people in need of help, as all 25 founding members are well off especially by Cabricán standards. (On a side note, the power just went out again. I wish I hadn’t lost my headlamp. At least I have Jack Penate to entertain me. Many thanks to my iPod and Andrea!) The point of the matter is; I wasn’t able to convince myself to leave the apartment before 10, at which point I had my Mam class. I was able to finish my book, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” and I highly recommend it.

In between my Mam classes today, where I learned such statements as “the dog has a lot of fleas,” and “My house has walls,” I intermittently worked on a brochure for my corporation in disguise and played too many games of spider solitaire.

This afternoon I opted to skip the gym in order to shuck corn with Juliana, Reina’s little sister. As the rain has finally stopped, (hallelujah!) the harvest has begun, and Reina, Juliana and various other members of the family spent all day yesterday collecting corn. Almost every family in Cabricán has at least one plot of land where they grow their own corn. Juliana has about 13 giant bags to shuck over the next couple of days. She figures since their mother is coming to help tomorrow, she should be able to finish by Saturday. Guatemalans use the corn to make tortillas, tamalitos (up the highlands they eat more tamalitos than tortillas, but there are always either tortillas or tamalitos served with every meal), and, on special occasions, chuchitos. They also eat corn on the cob, “helote,” and a million other things made with corn. (In writing this paragraph I realize that there is a lot to explain about corn and Guatemala and maybe I will make that my next blog post.) Juliana figures that the corn they harvest should last them eight months. They will buy corn for the remainder of the year. We tried to get Roberto to help out, but, being a mischievous six year-old, he declined in order to play fun games like: “mess with Sara’s hair,” “poke Sara in the back with sticks,” and “yell at Sara repeatedly until she responds at which point you decide you had nothing to tell her.”

I did have an interesting conversation with Juliana, even though it was reminiscent of almost every conversation that I have with Guatemalans about the US, revolving around the subject of September 11th and the question “why does the US keep deporting Guatemalans?” Generally speaking, I am all for immigrants illegal or legal (although I think the US should reform its policy so the immigrants can enter legally), but it’s really amusing to me that people here don’t understand that by entering the country illegally, “mojados” are breaking the law.

Anyway, my 45 minutes are up and I am off to enjoy a gourmet dinner cooked by my site mates. If nothing else, I really lucked out in getting placed with people that can cook!

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