Bienveniedos! I found an internet cafe in San Bartolome where I am working, so I will be able to send e-mails more often, but this keyboard is pretty sticky and tricky so it is currently taking me a long time to type. This has been a wonderful week, and the more time that I spend here the more I know that this is where I am supposed to be. Earlier this week my group was introduced to Senderos de Alux, the park where we will be working. I haven't had a chance to take picture of it yet, but it is a beautiful forest with a cliff overlooking dowtown Guatemala city. The whole project i absolutely breathtaking. I am a little sad that it is my training project and I will only be there for the first few months. After that it is most likely off to the backwaters of Guatemala. However, I am sure that I will be just in love with whatever part of the country I end up in. The first few days with my host family were a little rough as my host family is very reserved and my Spanish is currently less than stellar (but improving rapidly). There were a few days that saw a loss of apetite and an increase in sleep, but yesterday was absolutely amazing and marked a new chapter with my family. First, when the group had finished with our daily 4-5 hours of Spanish class we decided to take the afternoon off and take a bus into Antigua (the Gringo city). I wasn´t terribly impressed with the city itself, but it was a good chance to see what it was like, get to know my coworkers a little better, and blow off some steam. San Bartolome is fairly small and as an American woman there are always people watching to see what you are doing. We didn´t actually act any different in Antigua, but not having to worry about it for a little while was a relief. Also, knowing that we could navigate the busses by ourselves was empowering. Maybe best of all, I got an amazing cup of coffee while in the city. In San Bartolo if I have coffee with breakfast it is instant coffee, and any milk is powdered milk. When I got home the trip to Antigua provided plenty of conversation that was within the limits of my vocabulary. With so much class it is easy to run out of conversation material fairly quickly. Another downfall is that as trainees we are hand fed, and my family is very careful not to ask much of me. I occationally have to sneek in to do the dishes or I am scolded off. However, last night after dinner Doña Eva began tortillando (making tortillas, litterally torilla-ing), and I expressed an interest. I am anxious to learn local trades like making tortillas and weaving. Not only did she teach me to shape a mean tortilla, we made chuchos together. Chuchos are like small tomalles. You flatten a round of dough (like you are making a tortilla) and place a cube of chicken in the middle (bones included, apparently people like to chew on them). Over the chicken you spread some tomato sauce and then close the dough. That is placed in a corn husk and covered with a little more tomato sauce. Then the corn husk is folded closed and tied with a string of corn husk. Chuchos may be my new favorite lunch! Incidentally, it also happens to be the word for the stray dogs that are so prevalent here. After that I was in need of a shower. As you might have guessed, a shower here is an adventure. We are fortunate to be in a moderately sized city with running water (no bucket baths for us), but there are VERY few places in the country where there is hot water. Instead showers are equipped with ´calentadores´ which are electrical heaters attached between the pipe and the shower head. At first, it looks like one would have to be crazy or suicidal since it is usually a mass of water pipes and electrical wiring, but I am told that they are very safe, and I have yet to have a shock. Since the calentador can only heat so much water at a time, the trick is to turn the water down until it is warm enough to shower (the water doesn´t really get hot here, it just gets less cold). Days when a shower fogs up the mirror are good days. Last night I was actually able to turn the water down low enough to get a HOT shower! I am getting to be a fairly heavy sleeper. My bedroom shares a wall with an evangelical church (here you are either evangelical or Catholic... I've opted for Catholic), and on the nights that I go to bed before 9 (which is all of them) I fall asleep to loud and slightly off-key Spanish Christian rock. It is also common practice here to set off fire crackers outside someones door on their birthday, and it´s usually done around 5 in the morning. I woke up in a cold sweat the first couple of times, now it just makes me smile. I may have to move in next to a fire station when I get back to the states ;). Well, that´s about it. I do want to say that reading over what I´ve written I have chosen not to change anything, but there are things that could be taken negatively. Please know that I adore each and every one of these experiences, and I wouldn´t change a thing! I am very fond of all of the people here, and they are bending over backwards to make me comfortble. Each of the challenges I have mentioned are things that I think about and smile. I hope that they will do the same for you. Vaya bien, Morgan

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