Week 2: Panajachel & Antigua
Last week we had so much rain that the city pipes became clogged and our house, along with most of the city, had no running water for 3 days. No showers, no toilet, no cleaning up the dog shit in the garage(because the dogs I live with…do that), and no cooking. Rough days. That experience, along with a constant torrential downpour, illuminated how ridiculous my worries usually are. This conclusion may seem classic to the point of ad nauseam; white person decides that they want to do something good and travels to a faraway place, white person gets hit by realities of the rest of the world, white person gains perspective. Moments like these also bring up a question I’ve been playing with for a while: the morality of learning through other people’s hardship/difficulty/injustice/poverty.
In terms of work: all expectations I had before arriving have been obliterated. I no longer will be leading design thinking workshops, instead I’m planning a tech workshop that will hopefully provide some tools for the women to develop, publicize, and market their projects. Relating to anyone here is crazy hard- where can I even start? Our lives have been so contrasting that it’s nearly impossible to find topics to relate on. Although I constantly am the source of awkwardness here, the expectations are the opposite of concrete, and I’m constantly questioning my relevance here, I’m grateful that I get to be a part of this, however lost I may feel now; this was created for and by the people that directly benefit from it. Unlike the majority of the other NGOs in Pana, the one I am working with is not dependent on temporary volunteers to keep the operation running. I’ve accepted the lack of clarity and expectations of my position and I am trying to remain fluid and flexible to find how I fit and contribute.
I escaped for the weekend and found much needed fresh air. Earth Lodge, not far from Antigua, is a slice of paradise.