Peace Corps- Guatemala 2004-2006

Posting about my Peace Corps Experience in Guatemala from Sep 2004-Nov 2006

Find me on the map!

Ever wonder where I am living in Guatemala!! Well thanks to Google maps, you can now find me on the map!

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Can you believe it? They do not have a road map for this area. HAHA! But if you noticed on the Map there is a big green square with a lake in the middle near where I live.

The green square is The National Park Lachua, a protected area with a pristine lake in the middle. The organization that I work for again is Proyecto Lachua and its mission is to protect the natural forest of the park and to develop the 50 or so villages surrounding it in the areas of Social, Governance, Economic and Environmental with the ultimate goal of the people live happily with nature.

When I first saw this satellite view, I was amazed how definative the green line is, showing that our efforts are truely working to protect the natural subtropical rain forest.

But more about where I live, you will notice there are no major towns around, you can barely notice any population development. And for a sense of the adventure that I go through traveling to the nearest major town, Coban, you can follow a barely recognizable brown dirt road that twist and turn through the mountains.

So enjoy the adventure with me and virturally visit my village through the amazing technology of Google.

What time is it?

TIME what as strange concept. We are so tied to time, that we rarely give it a second thought when someone asks you "What time is it?"

This question has caused much confusion over here where I live due to daylight saving time change for the first time in Guatemala. This was enforced by the Ministry of Energy and Mine with the goal of saving over US$3 million yearly by taking advantage of the earlier sunrise.

This may not cause much problem for those people who are used to following their clocks and watches. But where we live, the people follow the sun and change their habits according to the sunrise and sunset. In the past, the watch was just a way to put a number on the position of the sun. But recently, people that are used to getting up when the sunrises to work in the field and eat dinner when the sun goes down, all of the sudden they cannot believe it when the sun just rised and instead of saying it is 6am it is now 7am. They think they are late and will be caught in working in the sun longer.

But this has not only affected the farmers in the village. I noticed that I now can't rely on my watch anymore. Leaving my work to eat at 7pm just does not seem right anymore. It seems to early, i am not hungry yet! But I used to have to rush to eat before 8pm as the local little restaurant closes at 8. Nervertheless, I reluctantly left my work before 8 just to make sure that I get dinner. When I arrive, I find that not only is the restaurant open, but it is far from closing as the streets are still filled with people. And why not, the sun has barely set. I noticed that the restaurant did not change it hours, it still closes a hour or so after the sunset and opens when the sun comes up -- regardless what the goverbment says the time is.

So now when people ask what time it is, they have to confirm whether it is the official time or the old time. It has confused the heck out of people. So simply, I now do not relie on my watch but simply follow the sun.

This leads me to think, how in the developed world we do really live in an artificial bubble, following a man made concept of watches, clocks and the concept of Time, when we simply can just follow the nature-ie the Sun. But then that is hard in the developed world when our schedules are dictated by the time people tell us. And conversely, there is no way to follow the sun, simply because we sit inside an artificial bubble, namely a windowless office..what other choices do we have except to simply follow the time that other people tell us.

Travel back in History with me

Below is one of the mass emails that I got recently that I thought was really interesting.  It was particularly interesting to me not as a reader but someone that seems to be mentioned in the email.  The email is suppose to be little tibits about history, but reading it seemed more like reading about current news for me.  

Read below! You will find it not only interesting but also have a trip back in time with me and get and understanding of where I am living now.  (my comments are added in ITALICS)

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Back in Paradise

I am back in what seems like paradise. I am sitting at home in the States looking out at the blue skies and the fresh clean air passes through my window as I type. I am back on a two week vacation as much needed break after a increasingly busy last couple months in Guatemala. The tilapia project which we have been planning and pushing for the last year has finally come to fruition with the planting of 10,000 fingerlings in river cages to be ready for harvest in Feburary 2007. The women's back-strap weaving group of 15 have increased to over 70 women working on various arts and crafts projects and giving classes in the areas of women's issues such as health and rights. With the increase in members and activities of the womens group, we have now begun the construction of a much needed building for the ladies to meet and work. Ironically, the job as a volunteer has taken on a schedule that is very similar to a regular job in corporate America. In a way that signifies the sucess that we have had, and something of which I am proud. But nevertheless, one needs a break once in a while.

So with the summer, my family traveled to the States like an annual migration of birds, to enjoy the beautiful Boston summer and to get away from the opressive heat of Taiwan summer.

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