I took a full week to digest my new environment before attempting to write anything about Guatemala. Even aside the fact that the internet is an excursion every time and that I’ve been busy almost every waking second since arriving, I felt that my initial assimilation would be muddied by any internet exposure. Selfish, I know, but I wanted to completely cut myself off for the first few days in order to observe everything in isolation and find out exactly what I’m here for before trying to delineate anything in print.

So here’s a bare bones introduction –

For the next month and a half, I’ll be one of 26 interns working for Social Entrepreneur Corps, which creates the opportunity for college students to immerse in Guatemalan culture while simultaneously supplementing the numerous social entrepreneurship ventures of Soluciones Comunitarias, a Guatemalan NGO founded by two ex-Peace Corps volunteers.

The basic premise of our future Guatemalan endeavors: ¨Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.¨

For the first two weeks, the interns participate in a two week orientation in Antigua to equip us with cultural, lingual and business knowledge to prepare us for the field. We’ve been kept busy by Spanish tutoring in the mornings, and lectures and discussions concerning the MicroConsignment model employed by the parent organization in its various ventures during the afternoons.

During our time in Antigua, we all live with host families in small pueblos outside of Antigua. Each night spent with the family, trying out the language and Guatemalan dishes on for size. I am living in Magdalena with the Garcia Bautistas, with two unbelievably affectionate parents and 8 and 10 year old brothers who never stop moving.

I adore them.

Much, much more on them in later posts.

Next Monday we embark on the next phase of the program. The students will be split into four groups, and each will travel separately to the Guatemalan pueblos of Xela (Quetzaltenango), Sololá, Cobán, and Nebaj for six-day, rotating stints. During our time at each site we will be conducting feasibility studies for products and services to create healthcare solutions, and design and implement social entrepreneurship ventures for vulnerable rural populations. I’m pumped.

That just about covers where I am as I understand it. This will definitely be my most formal and impersonal post, and hopefully the last of its kind. I figure that context is never such a bad thing. Especially when I used the last few paragraphs to convince myself that I’m here.