Monday, February 8, 2010

Contacts, Contacts, Everywhere!

So much to report, but first, a drum roll please....

Our groceries cost US$8.30!  Congrats to the 42% of you who guessed correctly.

Now if you think that´s exciting news, hear this!  We spent last week meeting with various organizations...

Primeros Pasos
A wildly successful clinic operating in the Palajunoj valley (a 15 minute bus ride outside Xela).  More than 15,000 people live here, but somehow there is only one government-appointed doctor and nurse.  Primeros Pasos staffes a physician, dentist, lab director, and dental assistant, and sees about 8,000 patients per year.  They run health education, women´s education, and children´s programs, all of which are well-attended and/or received.  I´m hoping to take a page out of their book of successes, so we´ll be visiting the clinic at the end of this week!

A non-governmental organization that specializes in supporting other NGOs.  They link active Guatemalan-run organizations with resources and volutneers.  Don´t know exactly what you´re interested in?  EntreMundos can find the volunteer org. that´s right for you!  So far, they list over 160 orgs. on their database ranging in fields from development, health, and human rights to women´s empowerment, the environment, and indigenous rights.  Their database has been invaluable to us-- it´s like being handed the answers to your questions on a silver platter, without the middle man.

Somos Hermanos
A student immersion program for pre-med students.  After two months of homestays, immersion, and Spanish lessons, each student chooses an internship site to work at for the remaining 4 months of their stay in Xela.  Perhaps Manna could take some interns off their hands?  (a thank you must go out to the one and only, Will Hamlin)

Pop Wuj
A socially-minded Spanish school focused on community development!  Maddie and I are going with the school´s directors on a stove building project next weekend to introduce ourselves to the communities they work in.  Cross your fingers!

So, those are some of the very exciting connections we have made so far!  While last week was filled with meetings, this week will be filled with community visits!  Tomorrow we leave for Lomo Linda.  We´ve heard great things about the community from several sources, and have a meeting with the community leader in the afternoon.  We´ll report back soon.

Other various tidbits include my inability to stop salsa dancing, the hosting of our successful dinner party on Saturday, our travels to Los Fuentes Georginas, my first Spanish lesson today, and the fact that I´ve been on the internet for 4 hours.

Think sulfur hot tub...

A couple women digging for some nutrient rich clay.
More soon,

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