“Ma’m, the programs that I offer through the Peace Corps are more aptly suited for adolescents,” I explained to Seño Virginia.
Since joining the Peace Corps and moving to Guatemala, I have struggled to understand the full scope and purpose of my project. Ambiguously named “Youth in Development” (YiD), the project encompasses a wide array of disconnected themes such as leadership, HIV education, self-esteem, cross-generational communication, and institutional development.
“Cyrus, he works with the kids,” is something that can all too-often be heard slung around town. Yes, I do sometimes play with other people’s juvenile offspring, but the focus of the YiD project in Guatemala is on teenagers aged 14 and up.
As I explained to Seño Virginia why I wouldn’t be very effective managing, let alone teaching, a room full of four-year-olds, I saw her face fall. Thinking to myself that I had just lost the opportunity to collaborate with a local institution on some aspect of YiD project implementation, my heart leapt when a smile danced across Virginia’s lips.
“But your friends, you have friends who are good with kids, don’t you?”, she asked with a grin.
Friends? What friends? Cristina? Connie? My site mates and fellow Peace Corps Volunteers?
“No,” continued Virginia as she thoughtfully looked to the ceiling, “the other girls.”
What other girls? The pickings are pretty slim in my rural mountain town. If there were other girls here I would surely know. But then it dawned upon me like Luke Skywalker figuring out Princess Leia is his sister (slowly and reluctantly). There are others here- a group of three Belgian women who arrived in town about two months ago.
Hesitantly I asked, “do you mean the ladies who work at the New Dawn school (Twilight book lol)?”
“Yes! Those ones!”, Virginia exclaimed.
Because we are all foreigners, albeit from different countries with dissimilar mother tongues, we are supposed to know each other and have a strong sense of camaraderie and of course, a functional collegial relationship.
Now I understood. Because we are all foreigners, albeit from different countries with dissimilar mother tongues, we are supposed to know each other and have a strong sense of camaraderie and of course, a functional collegial relationship.
It looks like I’m behind on networking here in Guatemala.