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Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Town of 2500

My site is located in the borderlands of El Quiché and Totonicapán. I live in the cabecera (municipal seat), population 2,500, and usually spend my days working, chatting with my neighbors or enjoying the weather on the family balcony -- daily temperatures are usually between 75 and 80 degrees and don't change much from that. My site is a fairly sleepy town, by anyone's standards, but I enjoy the quiet and the opportunities to connect with my family and neighbors. My site is the 6th most impoverished of Guatemala's 322 municipalities, but a lack of some of the everyday creature comforts other municipalities may enjoy has not dampened their spirits or hospitality. 98% of the population here is ethnically and linguistically K'iche', which means the only Spanish I ever hear is when it's directed at me ;)

I love this place. One day this town will have high-rises and sky-scrapers and a population over fifty-thousand but for now I'll enjoy its beautiful big sky and amazing nighttime stars. This place is what makes me feel, truly, like a Peace Corps Volunteer. The people, too. I could make the journey from one side of my town to the other in a leisurely ten minutes, but it usually takes me three times as long, because of all the people coming up to chat, or to ask about my health, or to scold me about not wearing a sweater. I love it. I didn't think I would (being the center of attention makes me feel incredibly uneasy at times), but to my surprise, I do. And my host family...I often say they're one of the main reasons I've survived PC living this long. I've been in Guatemala almost one year (in my site 8 months) and, dare I say?, it's actually starting to feel like home ♥