Today, I went to work at Cojolya for the first time and it was really good, overwhelming, but good.
Yesterday was a big day in terms of settling. I met my upstairs roommates Ana and Lillie who work at Pueblo a Pueblo (Basically everyone I hang out with works at Cojolya, the Hospitalito Atitlan or Pueblo a Pueblo, the organizations that I’ve deemed the “Big 3” of Santiago). Ana rescued me after I accidentally locked myself in the bathroom after a shower and then made me a welcome to Guatemala breakfast of OATMEAL, my favorite breakfast ever. She also had this really great strawberry jam she made and has set up her kitchen upstairs very well. I definitely want to cook with her and have lots of questions about sourcing. She took me to the market and explained that Sunday, Tuesday and Friday are the big market days but the market is open every day and more vendors come on the special days. I got some vegetables and lots of supplies for my kitchen and got a little bit more oriented. Then I had lunch with Emma, another PiLA fellow from New York who works at the Hospitalito and spent the rest of the day catching up with people from home.
I’ll do a separate post soon about the food but for now, let me give major praise to the avocados here. They are abundant to the point that there are stacks of avocado sacs on the side of the street and so far, delicious and ripe.
Today I reported to the office a little after 9 and got to see the shop and museum. In the office, Celine, Carina and I work, alongside Nick, a college student (very odd to not be a college student) who is here for the month to work on videos. Antonio, one of the T’zutjil cofounders is mostly in the shop or working with community members and Maria, the master weaver, is there working too. Other weavers came by throughout the day to drop off their work. They don’t speak spanish so communication was limited but it’s nice to put a face to the products. The products I saw were beautiful and Celine and I are very much on the same page about how we want to improve things. My work computer needed some work so we had some time to walk Nick around the town to get some establishing shots for the video and we met the Pueblo a Pueblo team for lunch at a restaurant a little outside of town. Then we had a meeting about how the video will work, a meeting conducted in three languages btw, and planned how to coordinate interviews with the weavers. Celine and I talked about the new banners we need for the shop, which recently moved from the second floor to the first and next thing you know, it’s 6:30 pm and raining. I took a tuk tuk home which is only 3 quetzals and only slightly nerve wracking.
It’s going to take a little while to see how work routines develop but there is definitely less advance planning/greater flexibility than in other offices. The small size means we can have a meeting whenever and the nature of the work means lots of field trips. Tomorrow we’re going to visit Tomás who does jaspe, this very cool style of thread dying that I will be able to explain more once I see it. I’m also being drafted into the expat soccer game which I am only mildly dreading (just kidding, I’m very anxious about it but want to have friends).
I’ll keep you posted.