May 16, 2013 – Chichicastenango and Chontala
The market today was quite an experience. Far from quiet, it was overcrowded and just about everyone had a purpose for being there—locals and tourists alike. The way people move in such a large crowd is amazing, with really only room for one way to move, people smooshed together to get where they were going and fast.
Bartering was another interesting thing to experience. As a white person in a sea of latinos, I stand out. I am a target. I know that had I been born and raised here as a Guatemalan, it would have been quite a different experience. Either way, the act of negotiating for what works for me and what works for them in terms of price and what I get and they get was quite interesting. I don’t mind paying more because I have more, but they expect a bargain and the price to be lowered. It’s their way of living. It would not work well in the United States.
Watching the Mayan woman on the church steps on her hands and knees, gray hair shining in the hot sun was purely breathtaking. She chanted her prayers to the Gods, swinging her incense back and forth, letting the smoke drift to those around her. She was completely unaware of the transactions and businesses going on down one step from where she sat. To have that focus, action, devotion and intention in all our prayers would change how we seek to relate to God. God as something to be fully devoted to and focused upon while the rest of the world is in chaos—one small piece of faith in a storm of doubt.
There was quite a bit of talk today about action and prayer. Prayer is an action, but it is a passive one. The focus of these communities seems to be to do something to fix the immediate problem. But I wonder if they are so focused on the immediate problem of starvation and poverty (physically and spiritually) that they can’t focus on the long term or bigger issues.
Where is help coming from?
Are there ways to become self-sustainable as a community, city, and country?
Are there policies that need to be changed to make this more accomplishable?
We heard about some people protesting in Xela, but rarely does it seem that the families we are meeting with consider these things. Do they ever see them as options? Do they see them as working? There is obviously no black and white, no guerrilla or soldier—there are only people and Guatemalans. So what do they do, or what can they do, to get those who see a different in peoples to no longer see that difference? These are questions that have certainly been asked, time and time again.