Maya and Adrienne from Boulder, Colo., are working in Guatemala through the end of July as interns for Friendship Bridge. They love traveling, exploring new places, speaking Spanish and playing music. Both have traveled extensively in Central and South America. This is the first of several blogs as they share interaction with the clients of Friendship Bridge in reports for KIVA.
Bienvenidos a Panajachel!
Imagine sitting in a kitchen of adobe walls with a group of eight women bantering in languages that you not only can’t understand, but have never heard. The simple task of “taking notes” becomes very complicated in this situation. Our coordinator and mentor, Marta, leans over to us every 10 minutes to give us a vague idea of the conversation taking place. We sit there dazed and confused; however, we appreciate the little that we do understand. We take in much more than words. We understand their laughter, and we admire their perseverance to grow their businesses despite the obstacles they encounter.
We met a woman who, without local education, has not only raised two children alone but is also creating a successful business in cosmetics and clothing. She sits among a group of seven other individuals. Each of them come from different backgrounds and will advance to different futures. The common ground they share is that they each are motivated to improve their circumstances through this opportunity that is being provided through Friendship Bridge. They sit quietly as we ask them a set of standard questions.
Although it is slightly intimidating to enter foreign communities to meet these groups of women, we realized what an incredible opportunity it is to be invited into their lives.
Without this internship we would never have seen the amazing lifestyles of so many different cultures. We have only been in Panajachel for a little over a week but it feels like much longer. We have explored and learned so much as a part of Friendship Bridge and have become friends with the other employees in the office. We feel at home.