Saturday, May 18, 2013


Cultures are so varied throughout the world in so many aspects but one huge variable that changes drastically is girls’ place in society and how they function with each other. On November 11th The Mighty Fingers Facing Change team arrived in Quetzaltenango Guatemala to get the project started. Throughout the four-day project I had the opportunity to ask them questions about friendships in their country. Based on their responses, Guatemala has many customs that seemed relatively relatable as a teenage girl from the US. They also had a few that seemed very foreign. The questions that were asked to each girl were:

1. What do you and your friends like to do for fun?
2. How do you choose who to be friends with?
3. When girls have relationship problems/friendship difficulties/drama in your  
     country, what is it most often about? 

When a fifteen-year-old girl was asked, “what do you and your friends do for fun?” she said that most everyone smokes and drinks as teenagers. Smoking and drinking is illegal under the age of 18 in Guatemala but the use of both is popular among minors.
            “I try to stay into good things, because many kids smoke and things like that.” The girl said. The “good things” she was referring to was mainly education. Children tend to have less of an opportunity to go to school in parts of Guatemala because of the high child labor rate. Many young girls are working full time as waitresses or selling goods on the streets to help support their families. Something like this makes going to school nearly impossible.
In regard to the question “how do you choose who to be friends with?” a girl
Said, “I see how they dress because I don’t like girls who dress too crazy.” As simple as a piece of clothing may seem it is used as a determining factor for friendships in many parts of the world. Generally girls who spend less time on their appearance have less friends. Even though many girls use appearance as their tool to choose friends in Guatemala there are many who also just want to be friends based on personality and similarities.
            One girl said, “I see how they act and express themselves.” When people grow up this seems to be the more common way to choose friends, so some girls are just one step ahead.
            The third question was, “When girls have relationship problems/friendship difficulties/drama in your country, what is it most often about?” Many girls agreed that the largest disagreement among Guatemalan youth girls was determining the “leader” of their group. Much of their culture is built on dominance. One person in each circle of the community must be at the top of their group.
            “When girls get in arguments it is usually because one is jealous.” A girl explained. Girls get jealous of the leader of their circle and will often try to rise above her. There is a quiet but constant battle among friends as they all try to be the best.
            Dominance, jealousy, friendships and struggle are all key factors in all communities, it’s just the way we handle these things that set us apart from each other. Studying these different cultures is incredibly interesting to me and I am excited to see more. 

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