This trip has been an amazing experience and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it. Though testing at times, I have learned a lot about the indigenous Ixil people, Guatemala and even myself. Yesterday, after learning about an Italian MNC called Anell and the Ixil region’s struggle to get justice from the construction of a new hydroelectric dam, we came home to a room full of Mayan people, and our host mom, Anna. :). We had a bowl of broth with tomatoes and potatoes and a cup of coffee, plenty at this point. After dinner, Anna asked us if we wanted to tash ‘llavar’ en espanol. I had heard about the ‘tamascal’ experience from the other classmates and was actually excited to get clean. Anna, I and Sara all basically bathed together and Anna even washed my hair. You can definitely tell she is a mother at heart and is used to taking care of people. After the day, I was initially dreading going back to my host family but it was actually much more comforting than I thought it would be after such an intense day. I am truly amazed at the Ixil people and their generosity. I am extremely frustrated in hearing the story of their struggles and the meeting and hope I can somehow make a difference in sharing my experience. Today at the bakery, Raoul said something that blew my mind and seemed to come at the perfect time. ‘Like fireflies, religion needs darkness to shine.’ -Schopenhauer. It was as if the message was sent from above at the perfect time, though extremely confusing and frustrating at times, I feel so fortunate to have had this experience and been able to push myself to new limits in the experience of the past few days.
I think my favorate part of this trip- other than the waterfall- was the discussions we had with members of the comunity. While knowing about a damn being constructed by the Italians in Guatemala may not affect me, or my life directly, it is still important to have these discussions.
Part of my dificulty in living here for the last week was my inability to communicate with my host family, or with others in the comunity. It was really nice to be able to talk with leaders of the comunities we were living in about issues that affect them. This open comunication appears to be what many of the people are looking for, someone to take the time to see learn what is important to them, and to recognise that their needs and wants may be different than what we assume.
I appreciate their willingness to open their lives to us, and help us to understand more of what it means to be Guatemalan.
One of the most memorable moments of the trip had to be the choo (chu?). I heard about it before the trip and after a few others had experienced it and was excited to try it. I was excited when our host father asked us if we were up to try it, of course I was. It was a long few days without a shower and thought it would feel nice. After climbing through the small opening I realized it was much like a sauna. Awesome. After a wash with extremely hot water and some more time in the stream we got out had some cold water and relaxed to sleep. Kind of.
One of the most memorable experiences I have from this trip is Erica and trying to tell Juana that we needed towels after our chu and she wasn’t understanding. Erica and I went into the room and tried to find her wash cloth and once Erica found hers she put on her and muy grande and she got it. We all laughed! It was an exciting moment! After she left our room we could hear her telling her husband about and laughed. This is just of the many experiences that made us really connected with our family and made this experience an absolutely wonderful one!