Another day in Xela

by tuftsigl
Aug 17
Nicholas Nasser is in the class of 2017.  He is an Empower fellow.
Tuesday, August 5: Went to school as normal in the morning and our first lecture was cultural competency which we have to learn before working in the clinic. Although it was mostly a history lesson about the westernization of the world, it was very enlightening to hear the Guatemalan perspective on service and why there exists a paradigm of expected privileged volunteers and expected help given to the indigenous. Likewise, our lecturer argued that the common practice of volunteers to try to contain and preserve indigenous cultures and to refrain from influencing them is actually racist because it is essentially saying that the indigenous culture is incapable of adapting.
Anyway, in the afternoon I had Spanish class which has so far been conversational.  My professor is very into politics so I learned a lot about the Guatemalan government and the civil war that just ended.  After that, we had a conference with a local indigenous lawyer and he gave us a very long but very fascinating lecture on the problems the indigenous have in accessing the legal system.
At dinner, another student arrived at our house named Andrew who just graduated from Denver and is volunteering for 10 weeks in a clinic. Around 9pm, Roger Andrew and I went to a bar near the central parque called Kings and Queens for trivia night. We met up with some of the other Pop Wuj students and actually won trivia. By that time it was midnight and we had to stumble home.  I had to wake up extra early to build stoves in rural homes so this morning has been a struggle. 
The top photo is my host family’s puppy named Whiskey. He’s my fav pup out there so far.
The bottom pic is the teatro municipal that is on my way to school. Other than the central parque, it’s probably the most beautiful part of the city.

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