Go Peace Corps Guatemala!
Instead of celebrating Halloween by dressing up and going out with friends, I spent the night of the 31st with my host family making fiambre. Fiambre is a Guatemalan dish that is traditionally served on All Saint’s Day or November 1st. Fiambre is served cold and topped with hard-boiled egg and cheese. The actual fiambre consists of as many different types of meat that you can find including ham, turkey, hot dogs, chicken, longoniza, and chorizo as well as several different vegetables. Every family makes fiambre differently and every family will say their fiambre is the best. Both my host mom and host dad’s families make red fiambre (which means they use beets). The biggest difference between the two different recipes is that my host dad’s family uses vinegar while my host mom’s family uses mayonnaise as the base of the dish. For more information about the history and traditions behind fiambre, click here.
On Friday for All Saint’s Day, we visited the cemetery, flew kites and ate a lot of fiambre (host dad recipe) and on Saturday I got to try my host mom’s fiambre recipe. Although I was a little sad about missing out on Halloween celebrations with my friends, I really enjoyed spending time with my host family and learning more about their holiday traditions.
*saber: Spanish word meaning to know pronounced sah-bear. This word is commonly used in Guatemala pronounced “saaaah-bear” meaning “who knows?” The longer you hold the sah, the more clueless you are about the topic at hand.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page”
This week, the health center in my town opened up the new Espacio Amigable. The original inauguration date for the building was supposed to be October 11 but was pushed back due to the building lacking doors and windows. The basic goal of the Espacio Amigable is to help young people in the community lead healthy lives. This is accomplished through giving the youth in the community a safe place to come together and spend their free time and through different talleres, or trainings about different topics such as self-esteem or sexual and reproductive health.
The inauguration for the Espacio Amigable was this Thursday at 11am and I had serious doubts that the space would be ready in time for the event at 8am that morning. As I said, the original inauguration date was moved back because there were no doors or windows. As of Tuesday this week, the Espacio Amigable still did not have windows or doors and there was no paint on the walls. Wednesday morning, I showed at 8:30 am with a small paint brush in hand ready to paint only to discover that we did not have any other paintbrushes, only one roller and no paint. Two and a half hours later we were able to somehow come up with 4 paint rollers and 6 paint brushes. We finished painting at 6pm on Wednesday and left the space full of all the ladders, paint supplies and other garbage, and still no windows. On Thursday at 8am I showed up to the Espacio Amigable in my nice clothing ready for the inauguration to begin sweeping and mopping the Espacio Amigable. At 10:55am we are still setting up chairs at the Espacio Amigable, I finished making a short video about the space and we somehow finish everything in time for the inauguration. Even though this situation was extremely stressful and the American in me kept thinking “this should have been done at least a week ago” we somehow managed to pull off a successful inauguration ceremony.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”
*Buen provecho: phrase used in Guatemala after finishing a meal meaning ”I hope you digest your food well”.
This is said by all members of family, or group of friends who have sat down together for a meal. The first person to leave the table should say “muchas gracias” or thank you very much, and everyone else should respond with buen provecho regardless of who cooked the meal.