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Clinic and Class

I like to keep the things I treasure closest to my heart and it takes awhile for me to talk/write about them.

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View Guatemalan Medical Trip/Language Immersion on dredayhurray's travel map.

I've spent the past two weeks with my Spanish teacher Mynor. Mynor's age is hard to tell, because melanin is magic, but I would place him at around 50. He studied environmental engineering, but decided to be a teacher instead. He worked as an elementary school teacher before joining Pop Wuj (the spanish school) 30 years ago. Everyday, we meet, just the two of us, for four hours of Spanish after clinic or conferences. He leads all of the activities involving building structures or stoves and conferences on plant medicine. We bond on our love of plants and animals.

Learning a language is surprisingly intimate. When learning a language in front of someone, your thought-processes, reactions, and word choices are all on display. You quickly run out of small talk to use in conversation when talking to the same person everyday for four hours, so conversations get deep, even with limited words. It takes me awhile to trust people, I'm a natural skeptic, and I found my first response to him when he would correct my spanish to be "really?" Today I noticed myself doing it, and I joked with him that I have decided to trust what he is saying because "you know, you've been speaking this language awhile." Mynor's response was, "I know you Andrelita, don't worry."

Today, I went to work at a girl's school in Xela. We walked as a group to the site with our scrubs and doctor bags. I was on consulting, meaning I was the doctor of the day. All the decisions were mine, and I did not have to ask for permission to prescribe unless there was a question. The 30+ girls were so charming, very extroverted and open to talking with us in choppy Spanish. They seemed excited to see us and it made me happy to be there. We saw everything from anxiety to pain in the shoulder after a fall. I did osteopathic medicine and objectively saw improvement in my ability to communicate the sometimes intricate instructions of the manipulations.

When I came back to school, Mynor and I started our typical first hour of conversing. For the first time in awhile, I had feelings of doubt about improving my Spanish in 2.5 months. It had been difficult to understand some of the patients while consulting at the school and I had to use my friend at times to translate. "Poco a poco" Mynor said. "Traquilla Andrelita." "Mynor, I thought I would be fluent in 2.5 months." He laughed and said "I know you did." Then I laughed at my own perfectionism. Mynor looked at me seriously and warmly and said, "thank you so much for telling me your worries." He said the words so meaningfully that I could barely squeak out a thank you.

Posted by dredayhurray 17:52 Archived in Guatemala Tagged spanish school days heart clinic guatemalans

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