DESARROLLA GUATEMALA STEM EMPOWERMENT BLOG 2 | UNDERGRADUATE FELLOWS
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
I keep realizing that we have completed two weeks of our journey here in Guatemala, and every time, it only gets harder to believe. The amount of what I have already seen and learned is humbling.
Two things have become abundantly clear throughout our time in this paradise-looking school. First, that almost nothing happens as expected, but most everything works out in the end. “Go with the flow” has never been my motto, but in two weeks has become my lifestyle, and I love it.
Second, it was not until this week that I realized the joy these girls would bring into our lives. Before arriving at the Institute, I knew in theory that I would be forming relationships with the students here, but I didn’t understand the extent to which our team would be able to do so. On Monday, our team was sitting in the teachers’ lounge, entering data, and doing work. I looked up and saw girls milling about the campus. In that moment, I realized that while I was sitting on my laptop working, there were countless lively, young girls all around us, who I had not yet met. Eight weeks may sound like a long time to live in a different country, but it dawned on me that I only have eight weeks to learn these girls’ names, hear their stories, and become their friends. I closed my laptop, stood up, walked out of the teachers’ lounge with Libby, and spent the next two hours talking to any group of students we could find.
After that day, our team started interacting with the students much more regularly outside of the classroom. It started with some simple questions about English homework. We helped with translations and pronunciations. Soon, it expanded to teaching choreography and lyrics of entire songs to girls. We have played soccer, basketball, finger painted, threw a surprise party for a sister, play “verdad o reto”, and plan to teach a ballet class this week.
While hanging out with girls outside of the classroom has been incredibly fun, teaching a week of classes has taught us so much about these girls. We have seen how their minds work, how deeply they care for the world around them, and how brightly their curiosity shines. There was one grade in which this was particularly evident. We began each class this week with our names and a fun fact. In this particular grade, when the first girl stood up she told us about how her friends help her around and help her see. The following girls talked about how they enjoy learning about minorities, helping others, and learning new things. I was shocked. The girls continued to impress us as they asked countless intelligent questions about circuits and electricity. The desire to learn and understand was not only abundant in this class, but in every class this week. I loved the excitement in their eyes every time we told them they were going to build flashlights. Every group had brilliant questions. I cannot wait to see what the next weeks bring and how they will use their creativity in this class.
In other news…we have only almost had one small fire from accidentally tying together the ends of one battery pack. The toilet has only overflowed once, but don’t worry, the world now has three new plumbers. We are nearing 100 for number of collective bug bites. We only been charged by one rabid dog, but it’s okay because Libby has a rabies shot so we will sacrifice her if necessary. Isabella has eaten only one jar of peanut butter…yes, this is a good thing. We have no more bacterial infections, and have all discovered the beauty of Benadryl. Isabella has learned that Chevere is actually a word for hot dogs and not “cool”, but it’s too late because the girls at the school have already started picking up on this word. Libby has discovered that engineers really are that nerdy and really are that bad at telling stores. And lastly, we have only been locked out twice and have since learned of this school’s abundance of spare keys for our room. They were prepared for us.
Looking forward to more days in this beautiful place and more quotes for the quote book.