31 October 2006

Returned from my site

So, i just returned from my site visit and want to write a brief description. I am going to be living in the area of Tecpan, Chimaltenango (Español English) for the next two years. Tecpan is a city of nearly 20,000 people and another 30,000 in its surrounding rural towns. It is in an area where the dominant language is Kakquikel, but a large portion of the population (mostly the men) learn Spanish in the school system and for various transactions outside of their home. Tecpán is known by tourists for some great restaurants and as the home to the ruins of Iximche, the capital of the Kak'quikel empire for the 50 years before Spanish invasion. It also served as the 'first capital of Guatemala,' meaning the first capital of operations of Spanish invasion.

I am working with an organization called Utz Samaj. Utz Samaj is a well-funded organization with its parent organization headquartered in Guatemala City, which receives funds from USAID, various European aid groups, and members of its executive board. Utz Samaj has I believe 6 technical advisors who give charlas about improved agricultural methods, help maintain gardens at various schools, and help acertain funds for said projects and greenhouses.

My job is to fill the marketing side of the organization. Though farmers know how to grow things and have technical and capital to do so, they generally sell their products to guys who drive into town with a pickup or haul it in on the bus system and sell it in Tecpán on market days. My job is probably going to encompass a lot more than that, but you only learn so much in two days in the office.

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