Week 2: Panajachel & Antigua

Sunset over the volcano Pacaya

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.

Calle del Arco, Antigua

I escaped for the weekend and found much needed fresh air. Earth Lodge, not far from Antigua, is a slice of paradise.

My bungalow
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