Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010: Dinner with the Director

Once a week Gelya, our program director, hosts a Mix and Match Dinner at her house with students and faculty from each of the components. Tonight it was my turn along with 2 other gero students, a pediatric OT, the Med Anthro professor and her student, along with 2 women visitors from the Human Rights Foundation, based out of Washington DC.

The ladies from WA DC were so interesting because their purpose is advocating for human rights here in Guatemala by changing US foreign policy to affect change. They talked about femininicide here in Guatemala; the brutal killing of women that goes on here and that often goes unprosecuted. They also talked about the US policies that are intended to assist people, but often just enable a corrupt system to function and often unintentionally support corruption even more. There’s so many things going on here and people come in with good intentions, but intention isn’t everything and moves need to be made carefully here because the situation is so complicated.

So we got to talking about our experiences here, how our thoughts and experiences in Guatemala have changed us, and how we will look at things differently. It’s interesting to see the differences in people’s values, past times, work conditions, and child care… among other things here. Although life here is incredibly simple, people work hard to have the tiniest amount of possessions. It’s not uncommon to hear about people working 7 or 8 days a week (here they say there’s 8 days in a week, but don’t ask me what the 8th day is), and the simplest of tasks in the US is incredibly time consuming here. For example, washing clothes. No one has a dryer, and only the rich have washers, so most things are done by hand. Dishes- no dishwashers, and food is so complicated to cook here so there’s piles of dishes all the time. Anyway, my point is all this is to say that what we value is the US is so different from what people value here. I still don’t entirely understand how everything gets done, but I will say that my fiancĂ© is not marrying a true Guatemalan woman because I will never do as much at these women do.