She Let Go
“She let go of all the memories that held her back. She let go of all the anxiety that kept her moving forward She let go of all the planning and all the calculations about how to do it just right.”December 2016
It was a time of quiet reflection when all the cameras had gone away, the eyes and ears of others on me were no more. It was just me, myself, and I. It was at this time, I had to truly face myself. There was no where to run, no where to hide, and I could focus on the good, bad, and the not so great aspects of myself.
I attended my first Posada’s for Navidad and church services with my family. On new year’s eve we had a picnic in the cemetery. This day was absolutely beautiful because my host mom and her family went to the cemetery to visit the tombstones of her parents. It was what she did every year, there were no tears. We smiled, laughed, and ate delicious food. What a wonderful way to spend the last day of 2016.
The biggest adjustment was the scarcity of the water in my community, Sta Lucia La Reforma is located on the west side of Santa Cruz, El Quiche. This department has been known as one of the highest levels of poverty in the country with low levels of water and sanitation. Due to Sta. Lucia’s location on the other side of the mountain it barely receives any rain.
Now, in my first month at site, the training wheels are off and we are out in the fields with our knowledge, skills, hearts, and backpack of skills filled with our previous work experience. I though to myself, “I think, I know what I am supposed to do but how?” What does is it supposed to look like? I went out and met few community leaders and started introducing myself to people.
I received my visit from my enlace, continued Spanish classes, and finished up community interviews.
After spending a month and a half in site, peace course ask that you return to headquarters and receive more training, known as EIST, Early In Service Training. So I returned to SLMA (Sta Lucia Milpas Atlas) and trained with Bak’tun 8. I did not miss the long structured days at all, but it was wonderful to spend time with everyone. At the end of training we celebrated officially being “real volunteers” on Lake Atilian in Panajchel.
At the same time, it was all bittersweet because saying bye to Bak’tun 8 was difficult because it was last time we would all be together as group again until mid-service training. I was learning that you can’t take anything for granted, you must cherish and savor each moment that you have with the people in front of you. We started to almost function as family. In this dysfunctional sort of way… so yeah… a real family. I watched as people began to support one another, as people began to support one another and pick up on one another’s strength and weaknesses. and find ways to operate and function as a team.
When I returned to site, I began to throw away all of these molds away on the things, I said I never do and started teaching English on the weekends to the facilitate the integration process. What is the definition of integration again? It was here I learned, “in the process of letting go you.. you will loose many things but you will find yourself.”
This month I began a consistent working schedule working in the two Schools the INEB, Telesecundaria, and the Muncipalidad in the center of my town. My experiences in these places were fun, and exhilarating, because it was new. At the same time, exhausting because I was learning how to function in this new environment. It was in these moments where, it all started to become real. How do we get our socio’s and the community on our side? It all felt messy.
Still struggling with Spanish, I was amazed by the power of connection you could make just the right body language. It was so raw so beautiful the connection people could make with just a smile, kind gestures, and acts of service. In these moments, I felt Guatemalans saw me, I saw them.
On this journey, I began to connect more with my jovenes, and explore more what my role as Seno Tatiana. I found that my journeys out to Sacisguan to the Teleseundaria was where I would find gold.
There were good days, and bad days. Every time I returned from teaching in this community, I returned a new person. The students, my socio, the staff at the Puesto de Salud all taught me something new. Some lessons subtle, some painful about the things I needed to change.
These moments served as a wake up call, what connection specialists call the dump truck at your door. According to them, we don’t have to wait for things to get devastatingly bad before we answer the call. What is the voice in the back of your head that you are ignoring? I invite you to accept the invitation to step into yourself…. and GROW!