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ENTRE COMALES: MY LIFE AS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING

News Leader, Kent, Ohio 

 

Since August 2013, I've been living in San Juan Comalapa, a Guatemalan municipality of about 50,000 in the department of Chimaltenango. After graduating from OSU in May 2013, my life has revolved around serving as a volunteer specialist through the Youth in Development Project with the US Peace Corps mission in Guatemala.

Guatemala is a Central American country. I don't eat tacos or wear sombreros. Food here is not spicy, profanity is scarce, and indigenous Mayan culture is an integral part of daily life as it has been for centuries.

My initial months in the country consisted of intensive cultural, linguistic, medical, and technical trainings. These exercises brooded feelings of isolation and hardened my sense of self-determination. While it was a difficult process, I grew immensely and have been surviving alone, as the only US American for hours, in a sea of chapines, the term equivalent to "gringos" referring to native Guatemalans.

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