Guat’s up?February 21, 2012 | Rachelle, POL, Uniterra, Guatemala
One lovely month into my internship and only 7 weeks left, I believe it is prime time to finally tackle this blog.
So far so good, and definitely getting better with time, I feel like I am falling in love with this area more every day. I am working for the non-profit, Canadian and Guatemalan government funded organization PROSOL in a town called Solola, the capital of the department by the same name. I am living in Panajachel, a very touristy town approximately three hours west of Guatemala City, on the beautiful Lago Atitlan.
PROSOL’s focus is on economic development of the through tourism, agriculture and small businesses. I am working as a Gender Project Assistant, so I have the opportunity to work with people in all departments, facilitating gender policies and equality between women and men in PROSOL’s work. I am specifically in charge of creating and giving a workshop directed at agriculture cooperatives on the subject of masculinity in Guatemalan society and a biodigester pilot project. Biodigesters are a technology that turns waste from pigs into cooking gas. We will be installing them in 5 households and hopefully have a significant impact on the quality of life of the women of these families. This internship is one of the most interesting, considerable learning experiences of my life. I am learning about how to teach Maya men and women about gender and alternative environmentally friendly energy technologies. I feel incredibly privileged to be experiencing life and work here in Guatemala.
I am working with an amazing team of professionals from all over the country and another intern from my NGO. Every one has warmly welcomed me to PROSOL and patiently endures my daily questions. I am doing my best to absorb as much of my coworkers valuable knowledge and experience. Through my coworkers and fellow intern I have had amazing opportunities to gain insight in other fields of work and projects taking place in this area.
Back in Panajachel, where I spend evenings and weekends, I have become friends with other North American volunteers working in the area as wells as some Guatemaltecos of my age. As Pana is the tourism hub of the lake, there is many “gringo” bars and much live music to enjoy for nightlife. I have spent most weekends enjoying the sun and view from the roof of my apartment building, making a significant dent in my reading list, as well as exploring the neighboring towns on the lake by boat.
I am falling in love with Lago Atitlan. Do I really need to leave in April?
Saludos de Guate,