Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010: Food and Some Info

I feel like this was the weekend I got to learn about Antiguan cuisine. Anita and I spent the morning searching for a breakfast place and we ended up at Dona Luisa’s, a place with phenomenal fresh baked banana bread, among other things. We shopped in an Artisan market, walked around Antigua and searched for places to stay when our friends arrive at the end of our field school.

At 3pm, we had a charity comedy show for Casa Maria, which we had been encouraged to sell tickets for and to help out at the door. So, Anita and I went and met with a group of other gero students. Sadly, there were very few people there and the only thing we could do was sit in the audience and wait for the show to start. None of us really wanted to see the show though since it was all in Spanish and we weren’t going to understand it. So Amanda, Anita, and I decided to leave after one hour. We came to help, offered our services, and then left when we could be of no more use. Some of the other students stayed behind and they said they regretted it because they didn’t understand a thing and thought the comedians were making fun of them.

 Maybe here is a good place for a bit of a dose of reality. Of the people in our group, there has been some dissatisfaction with the organization and management of our field school. I say this not to be negative, but to demonstrate that there are 2 sides to every story. Some people are struggling with our overall purpose here and they’re questioning whether the amount of money that has gone into it is really being recuperated in terms of knowledge and experiences on behalf of the students. It’s not cheap to be here particularly when you consider the field school tuition, Spanish school, homestay costs, incidentals and weekend meals, plane tickets, and school tuition for those getting fieldwork credit. So the question is, what are we really paying for and is it worth it?

So I can’t entirely answer this question for anyone but myself. This is a field school in a 3rd world country, and so there’s bound to be issues and blips on the radar. This comes with the territory. However, any issue that I’ve ever brought up has been promptly addressed like my toes, my homestays… I guess that’s it. Additionally, this experience is about exploring OT abroad as much as it is to learn about my roots, so my view is much more skewed than students with no ties to Guatemala. There are some other things that I wish were slightly different, however I will address those in a more private forum. Overall though, I feel like this experience is what we make of it, and no one can make things happen for you. There’s so many things to see, to learn, to experience here… it’s easy to overlook everything that we’re absorbing, but at the end of the night, we’re all exhausted from taking in so much.