When my friends sometimes make remarks about how we are all getting older, I always respond that I’m really excited to age. Understandably this is not your typical response, but when you think about it, growing older is a beautiful thing. Aging comes along with new experiences, relationships, knowledge, wisdom, and personal growth. At age 24, estoy emocionada (now I can say my favorite English phrase in Spanish) about starting this new chapter of my life in Guatemala. As Dana previously mentioned, I am the newest addition to the MPI Guatemala team and I feel really lucky to work with such a wonderful and driven group of people. In my few days being here, I can clearly see how beneficial Dana, Emily and Cameron have been to the Sololá and Chaquijyá communities. They are well-respected by the students they teach and the people that they serve. More importantly, they have an understanding about the community they are serving, and work with their community partners to best address the issues at hand. Needless to say, I’m impressed.
Summer in Guatemala recently ended and the school year just began. I went with Cameron to his 6th and 7th grade English classes at La Escuela Central and enviously watched him engage with his students. “Facil, facil, facil!” he repeated, as he encouraged his class and gave them confidence about their English skills. Yesterday was the start of an after school English program in MPI’s other partner school, La Cooperativa. When we showed up for the first day of classes expecting no more than 40 students, we were surprised to see a giggling group of 80 small children flooding into the classroom. By the end of the day, the total headcount for both the Beginner and Intermediate level was 96 students. We are glad that the students are showing such a high interest for additional English classes, but we definitely need a new game plan about how three teachers (and only one fluent in Spanish) are going to handle 90+ students! Figuring it out is part of the fun though :)
I have a lot of “figuring it out” to do, but being challenged by a dynamic group of people, a new community, and a foreign language is quite invigorating. One of my favorite pieces of advice is “allow yourself to feel uncomfortable.” I believe this is where we learn the greatest lessons. As I walk the bustling, unfamiliar streets of Sololá, I remind myself of this and subtly smile, knowing that there is a whole lot to look forward to in the months ahead.
paz y amor,