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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ending 5

Velvet, Cecilia, and her daughter during waiting for their interviews. Look at that confidence! :D
Our graduating group.

Katherine, Cecilia and me.

We finished and I kept a close eye on Cecilia all day. She brought her youngest daughter with her, she’s about 16 or 17 I think. She enjoyed participating in the last day’s activities as well. Cecilia did great in the interviews and other practices. She and Velvet went for interviews yesterday and she said that while Velvet was received for an interview she, Cecilia, was turned away. However, she assured us, her self-esteem had been strengthened by what she had learned and done in the workshop and she was at peace with it, not devastated like she would have been before. Wow! Gospel principles in action, she is truly making changes in herself and becoming stronger!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Turns out Cecilia only met Velvet yesterday, but Velvet invited her to come with her to the workshop. How awesome is that? What great missionary work. Cecilia is doing great, when we talked about how to turn weaknesses into strengths today she used said one of her weaknesses is her lack of confidence, but she took this workshop which has taught her to have confidence with people and in herself. She told us that her kids noted a change in her when she went home yesterday and practiced what she had learned in class. Wonderful!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Workshop #5

Fifth workshop…We should be getting the hang of this, right? We’re having fun. This week we have a non-member in class, Cecilia. She is a super sweet, shy, single mother of 3 kids. She may be quiet, but she isn’t dull, she learns quickly and I’m excited to see how she progresses. She came with another participant, Velvet, and they seem to be pretty good friends. This is going to be a great week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Katherine and I went to the Museum of Natural History in downtown Guatemala City today. The layout of the museum was…interesting. There weren’t very many informative signs so we just kind of interpreted the exhibits on our own. We did a great job of entertaining ourselves. By the way, natives are charged 5 quetzales (roughly 62 cents) to enter and foreigners are charged 50 quetzales ($6.25). Crazy, right?

I swear I found a portrait that looks like Mel Gibson so of course we had to take a picture of Katherine kissing him. The kissing thing was her idea. It always is. Katherine agreed that he looks like Mel, but I don’t think it translated well into photographic form. I guess to understand you have to see it person. One of the funniest parts of the museum was seeing the height difference between Katherine and the vintage clothing. I also have an awesome video of her playing a marimba instrument that’s at least 200 years old. We should have been supervised…

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today we went to the cemetery for a class assignment. To be honest, it kind of creeped me out. I’m used to cemeteries and have visited some gorgeous ones through the years. I love the cemetery in Ukiah because of the big beautiful trees that make a kind of quiet shade for you to be alone. In the cemetery here in Guatemala there were not very many trees. It was all cement and crosses. Very forlorn and the spirit there was not welcoming. There were some elaborate mausoleums and gravesites. Those that can afford to, take very good care of their dead. It was also interesting to see all the different countries represented, we saw names from Korea, Italy, Brazil, and tons from Germany. Guatemala seems to be a popular place to die. Did that sound insensitive? Anyways, it was an interesting experience, but I prefer to visit my brother’s grave with the soft grass, birds, and deer in the shade of the oaks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finishing Fourth

We finished our fourth workshop, wow! They all did so great in the interviews, I was so impressed. I have to say Gustavo was one of my favorites, his little faux hawk and sweet personality just endeared him to my heart. I was super impressed by the professional demeanor of the participants and how sure they were of what they wanted in their professions and job search. They were a super talented group, I was really impressed with Juan (far left on picture); he has worked as a nurse and a bus driver among other things. He has a long list of accomplishments and just had such a kind charisma and nice, edifying things to say to everyone. Loved this group!

Sick. Bleh

I missed work today, I guess I had too much fun last night. Bleh. Katherine told me that another woman showed up today, another Sandy. She said it was difficult teaching the workshop alone, Juan, another participant, even commented that it wasn’t the same as the first day. It’s kinda nice to be missed, especially when I didn’t enjoy my day alone. Can’t wait to get back!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Workshop #4!

New week, new workshop! We’re getting into the swing of things; I love the unity Katherine and I are building. We have another great group. Isabel, from a previous group, returned with week with a friend of hers, Sandy. She stayed for the first day to help Sandy feel comfortable, she such a sweet girl.

Hermano Gomez, our Center Manager, invited us to his home for Family Home Evening. We finally got to meet his kids! They are sooo cute! They love Katherine to death because of her volleyball skills, she played outside with them for an hour or so while Heidi, Hermano Gomez’ wife, taught me how to make mole de plátano. It was…interesting. After making the mole, Hermano Gomez taught Katherine and me how to make pupusas, a traditional food in El Salvador. They are soooo good! It’s basically a tortilla with cheese or meat or beans inside. We put a tomato sauce and cabbage boiled with some herbs on top, it was delicious. My mouth is watering as I write.

After making the food we had a super quick lesson from Belén, their daughter, and played a game with the kids and Evelyn, Heidi’s sister. They took some flour and packed it into a cup then set it carefully on a plate and put a piece of chocolate on top. Each person took turns slicing a way a part of the flour without making it fall. Evelyn made it fall so she had to dig the chocolate out with her face. It was pretty funny. I’m pretty sure the flour wouldn’t have been as visible, if at all, against my white face. After the game we finally ate the pupusas and mole. Qué rico!

Pictures: Me and Katherine making pupusas with Hermano Gomez. Me and Katherine eating said pupusas. Evelyn and Belén (Belén means Bethlehem in Spanish) after Evelyn found the chocolate piece with her teeth.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

La Granja

Anita Rojas, one of our coworkers in the Center, invited us to her farm out in San Juan. Her son César picked us up at 4 on Friday afternoon and we arrived in time for dinner with Anita and her husband. It was great to see the moon and stars again, but I think the best part was the quiet. I slept so well.

We left the farm early Saturday morning, around 6:30, to go into town and see the market. The whole plaza was filled with flowers being sold, it was beautiful sight. We totally crashed a wedding. Well, technically, we crashed 6 weddings. We saw the church and went in, at which point we realized the priest was marrying 6 couples in a wedding ceremony. We decided to join in. Hermano Rojas took my camera and took pictures of everything, for which I was grateful, because I was not comfortable doing it myself. It was a fun experience, even though the couples didn’t look excited about getting married.

We spent another hour or so wondering through the market which sold everything. Hermano Rojas took us the school where he teaches science and we white girls caused a little bit of a stir. How unusual. After we got back from the market César took us around the farm and we met the different farmers. We interviewed the workers planting vegetables and the rose gardeners. It was pretty interesting, and the view was beautiful. I enjoyed being out of the city for a while. It was kind of hard coming back to the noise, pollution and crowds.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears...

We went to the zoo today! Wow, there were a lot of kids. JuanMa, my friend from the mission, explained that it’s a pretty popular school activity. No kidding! There were probably 15 school buses. It was fun to see all the little elementary kids, even if they did gawk at the gringas. JuanMa teased them and made Katherine and me wave to them all, which made them burst into giggles. Good times. Oh, and the animals were pretty cool too. Katherine, who is not at all fond of animals, even played with a baby monkey a little, I got it on video just so her children will actually believe me when I tell the story.

Afterwards JuanMa took us to his house just outside the city and we met his mom and sisters. They’re all so wonderful! We had a great time and enjoyed the beauty of San Carlos. JuanMa has been such a great friend, we really appreciate his kindness. His family is just as loving and sweet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trial Test

Someone decided to join our class for the last day today, too bad I kept forgetting his name. Today we did mock interviews again, but we decided to try something new. While everyone was doing the interviews in the main room I took two participants into Patty’s office and they interviewed each other in a real environment. It worked out pretty well! One participant, Sergio, was nervous when he first came in, but he asked the interviewer about her Bob Marley CD and after a small conversation about his music they started the interview and Sergio was all calm and ready to go. Great distraction technique! Everyone of the participants said seeing the video really helped them know how to improve not only their answers but their presentation. This is working out pretty well!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keep on Truckin'

We lost half the class, but Katherine and I talked about it afterwards, we’re not worried about numbers, as long as we can help them. We’re excited to help those that have come back and we have no idea what stopped the others from returning so there is nothing we can do, just hope that they come back sometime in the future to finish the workshop. We try hard to get them excited for the rest of the workshop and every time we end on the first day everyone seems eager to keep going but we lose several anyways.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Workshop Threeeee

Today after the participants found some information on the job they’re seeking we talked about long and short-term goals. I explained it to them and we got them started setting goals. Katherine whispered to me as I passed her by, ¨You explain that so well!¨ It was a wonderful boost, especially because I was feeling drained and low on energy today, at least I was able to do something well. It’s great to have such a great companion who teaches certain principles so well that I can’t but also know that I teach certain principles well. What a great complement and compliment!