Vineeta Singh is young American college graduate woman who in 2010 worked in Guatemala as an English teacher for a well-to-do private school. As she learned about the violent reality of Guatemala, particularly for women, Vineeta looked around for activities that she could get involved with. She found this website first then Lucia Muñoz, who welcomed her immediately. Vineeta quickly embraced the Hombres Contra Feminicidio Campain and soon became a co-facilitator. She returned to Guatemala in February 2011 to work with MIA for 5 months.
Yesterday I finished a whole month working full-time for MIA.
It feels like just yesterday that I met Lucia for the first time and she took me to the plaza central for an authentic atól experience.
At the same time, it feels like I’ve been working with my co-facilitators for a lifetime.
Most of this last month for me consisted of paperwork and legwork. Both of these things taught me that the only way to not go crazy working for an NGO in Guatemala is to cultivate a Zen-like tranquility and patience.
Lots of patience
I don’t know how many hours of my first two weeks I spent in waiting rooms trying to get in some face-time with this or that contact at the San Carlos University, how many times I told Lucia, “No I still haven’t heard back from…” But with patience and persistence I’m making sure all my chair-warming and e-mail sending gets me responses.
On the Feb. 11th, I finally got to show off my stuff at USAC when Paco and I facilitated a mini-workshop with activities from workshops 1 and 4 of Hombres Contra Feminicidio for everyone who works at the Unidad de Salud at the University. (Check out the pictures on the Facebook page!)
On the 15th, Edwin (El Colocho) and I started our workshops at La Escuela Primara Pedro Pablo Valdéz in zone 1 with boys in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. The kids are really energetic, and they’ve been makind. El Colocho and me work really hard to channel all that energy into class discussions. Some of them have taken workshops with other facilitators before and they’re really an interesting bunch with opinions all over the spectrum.
On the 18th, Paco and I started our workshops at instituto INCA in Zone 1 with girls in high school (I want to say they’re all sections of the 10th grade, but I might be totally wrong, they’re in 4to magisterio, and Paco and Jenny have explained the school system to me multiple times, but it just won’t stick.). More on them when I’ve had a chance to hear from them in class discussions.
Recently, I’ve been spending time training two brand new facilitators: Manolo and Carlos. Manolo is an old friend of MIA’s who used to work with delegations a couple of years ago and is going to make his debut as a bona fide facilitator on the 10th of March, when we officially start up at the University. Carlos is a “practicante” (intern), who’s working with MIA to fulfill his internship requirement for school. He just started with us this week but we hope to have him ready to facilitate on the 10th too.
I unfortunately have to be out of town on the day of our big debut, so Lucia is going to be the one to dazzle our students on Day 1 with Manolo and Carlos.
Looking ahead to the next week, there will be a lot of planning and rehearsing with the new facilitators to make sure they’re ready to shine on the 10th and last-minute logistics double-checking to make sure we get all our prospective students in the right place at the right time.
More to come in March 2011.