Friday, August 20, 2010

Safe Arrival

My trip to Guatemala was by way of Staging in DC.  Staging included filling out one last set of paperwork that officially changed me from a Peace Corps Invitee to a Peace Corps Trainee (PCT).  We also got a small start on learning each other’s names and had a little reflection on what brought us to this point. 

On the 11th I was up at 3:00 a.m. to check out of the hotel and be on the bus by 4:00, getting us safely to the airport a full four hours before our flight.  PC believes in being prepared, folks.  After attempting some naps in the airport, I pulled out of grogginess long enough to notice the sun was coming up (below).

We made it to Guatemala without incident having gained several new friends sitting near us in airports and on airplanes, all of whom wished us well and a few of whom actually served in PC years ago.  After a surprisingly simple pass through customs (having already been met by PC Guate folks, thank goodness!), we headed to Santa Lucia Milpas Altas, where PC Guate has its compound (PCHQ hereafter). 

Peace Corps immediately set about imparting paranoia for our own good.  Knowing we were exhausted, they gave us just a few tips before sending us to our first host family, who had us for the first three nights only (during the Welcome Event, before they figure out where our Spanish skills were and sent us out to our training communities).  So, if you find yourself dazed and confused in Guatemala, here’s what you need to know to not screw up too much the first few nights:  Don’t eat the street food, don’t drink the water, don’t put the TP in the toilet, and don’t go out after dark.  With that, I headed out to my first family with another PCT for company.  We had dinner and promptly crashed into our beds.

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