Language and Lots of Little by Little
Hello everyone! Since I have not posted in some time, this post is going to be a general update about our progress in Guatemala. I will be writing a ‘general update’ post every month so you can get a better idea of what we are doing here and how we are doing it.
First, I need to review where we are in our mission so you can have some context for what I am doing.
FTF has two broad phases for working in any country. The first phase is the immersion phase. This lasts for 6-8 months and involves learning the local language, understanding cultural nuances, forging authentic relationships with our neighbors and partners, and learning how to live simly without western style comforts. The second phase is the entrepreneurial facilitation phase and lasts until the 20-month mark, and likely further. In this phase, we begin to identify brilliant local entrepreneurs with whom to work. We then assist these entrepreneurs to create, finance and implement long term entrepreneurial endeavors. Finally, we create detailed portfolios that introduce our best clients to investors world-wide through our web site.
Having arrived in late February, I am still in my immersion phase and expect to transition into a full-time entrepreneurial facilitation phase by late October or early November. So what am I doing right now as a part of my immersion?
First, I have been focusing on developing our relationship with our local partner, Hogar Rafael Ayau, the Orthodox monastery and orphanage that invited us to work in Guatemala. Four of my working days are occupied as a part-time laborer, working with Mako, Manuel, and Jolie, three of my favorite people of all time. They maintain the grounds and all of the monastery’s gardening, aquaponics, and farming projects, and are teaching me more Spanish than I could ever hope to learn on my own. In addition, I recently became the head of the rowing program at the Monastery, and am taking the older boys and girls to a local rowing club four times a week for wome brilliant morning exercise. As far as language goes, I speak Spanish all day every day. Right now, as cheesy at it sounds, the world outside my house is my classroom. I learn street Spanish straight from the streets, listen to Spanish music as if it were my job (because it is), and am taking an additional four hours of lessons a week in a professional classroom. My head hurts as I squeeze this Spanish thing into my already crowded mind.
As for our FTF entrepreneurial facilitation phase, I have three very strong leads to help introduce our organization into rural villages. In my next post I will introduce you to some of the folks we are learning about and learning from as we begin to identify entrepreneurs with whom we hope to c0-create with here in Guatemala.