Today everyone in our group got matched up with our respective teachers and I got to meet my Spanish teacher for the next 4 weeks! Her name is Annabella and she's very bright, bubbly, energetic, and funny so I can already tell that we're going to get along just fine! We started with reviewing preterite and going over its conjugations and uses. I really like the structure of the Spanish lessons. It's very relaxed and conversational and we basically just got to know each other this first lesson. She asked me a lot about my hobbies and the things that I've done in the past and just practicing talking in Spanish has been very helpful. Also, the structure of our lessons in the morning is pretty simple. Basically, we have a session from 8:30am to 10:30am, then a short 30 minute break, then a second session from 11:00am to 12:30pm. During the break, we visited this woman in the market right next to the school that sells doblados, which are pretty much tortillas that have been folded in half and stuffed with chicken and onion, sautéed/fried in oil, and garnished with salsa, cheese, and other delicious goodies. They are DELICIOUS and the best part is they only cost 4 quetzales (roughly $0.60 USD). That is insane.
Anyways, I also got some fried chicken from this place nearby called Pinulito and I think I can honestly say that it is some of the best fried chicken I've had. The skin is so crunchy and tasty and the actual meat is juicy, soft, and delicious. As I said in a previous blog, I'm definitely going to be eating a lot during this trip, especially since a big chicken leg and a doblado is only 12 quetzales ($1.60 USD). Again, that's crazy cheap. Following the break, we finished up the second session and I got assigned my homework which consists of listening to a song on YouTube on writing down all of the verbs that are in preterite. Katie and Mitchka are kind of mad at me because they got much heavier assignments, sorry :)
Following Spanish class, we walked over to the Somos Hermanos office right by Al Parque Central and we watched a brief documentary on the genocide that occurred in Guatemala after the United States sold weapons to the Guatemalan military. It was really difficult to watch because there was a part in the documentary where a man was trying to get his family to hide with him in the hills behind their village before the military came. His wife told him that he should be the one to go hide because the military won't hurt women or children. However, his wife was wrong, and the man's wife and three children were executed point blank. When the man returned, he found his family dead and he buried them and ran away. In the documentary, years following the genocide, an archaeological team came to the village to locate the bodies that had been buried. And the man watched as they uncovered what was left of his family. I can't begin to imagine how I would've handled that. To think that so many innocent Guatemalan people were killed at the hands of their own government's military is horrifying. But it really gave me an idea of the history of this country and the oppression that the indigenous people have faced. Definitely something to think about when considering the country as a whole.
Anyways, it's getting late and I should really get some sleep because we are waking up at 5:30am so we can start our drive over to Lake Atitlan. We were originally supposed to start our drive around 7:30am but apparently there's going to be protests tomorrow that block the highways in Guatemala, making travel very difficult. So we're going to try to cover as much distance as possible and avoid that. Wish us luck! -Scott