Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guatemalan "Time"

Most people realize that the United States operates on a slightly more OCD-type of daily schedule than much of the rest of the world, especially when it comes to work and school. We like our deadlines and our quotas, and we like punishing people when they don't make theirs. We value punctuality and organization, and tardiness is frowned upon. We like when our companies run like well-oiled machines, and we probably don't even mind the pressure it creates.

Well, the country of Guatemala does not operate this way. It's not that this fact itself surprises me. I knew to expect it, and I experienced it in Greece too. What's hilarious, is just how unorganized this nation is sometimes. Here's our (all the American volunteers get a big kick out of it) favorite example so far:

The 2010 school year "started" yesterday. Note the quotations around "started."

As of this past Friday, NPH's school hadn't finalized the schedule for English classes. Nearly all 350 students here are required to take English classes, but somehow the schedule just couldn't get put together. Apparently, three months of summer vacation isn't enough time to figure it out. So, no big deal, says Guatemala. We just won't have English classes Monday.

Or Tuesday.

Or Wednesday.

We'll let you know tomorrow (Wednesday evening) if Thursday is a go.

After talking to our Volunteer Coordinator, we learned this is standard in Guatemala. Nowhere in the country is the first week of school expected to actually include schooling. It's sort of just a free week. Teachers needn't worry about having classes ready, and students needn't bother with showing up and expecting to learn.

Oh, Guatemala. (But aren't the kids just adorable in their school uniforms??)


Georgia said...

Carrie! These kids are adorable! I wish I could come visit you. I'm loving your blog, so keep posting! Miss you! --Georgia

Mallory said...

LOVE the photos!! Thanks so much for sharing them! Miss you!!

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