Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life

Textures of Guatemala

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Guatemala is amazing for people who love textures, cultures, languages, people, and landscapes.

I made my first trip to Guatemala to attend the annual teachers’ conference for IGA (El Instituto Guatemalteco Americano). Incredible, incredible, and …. incredible.

Huiples made by Josefina and Paula – each a piece of art.

Exquisite handwork and beauty of texture, color, and pattern.

One of the many highlights – The young woman, Paula, in the picture below and her mother, Josefina, and her sister, Silvia. Paula is 14-years- old and showed me all of her work and and told me about how she beads and sews each night. She and each of her sisters specialize in a particular art. Paula’s art is beadwork. She taught me about the different patterns on the huiples—Josefina embroidered her own and it took three months. Paula’s own took two months.

Josefina, Paula, Silvia

Paula – with huilpl and faja she embroidered.

Dolls made by Paula’s sister, Araceli. I was trying to figure out how to bring 20 back in my suitcase. Each was unique and seemed to have its own personality.

I went to say good-bye and give hugs and Josefina, Paula, Silvia, and Araceli served me atole, a hot corn drink. When the women spoke with one another, they spoke in the Mayan language, Kaqchikel (http://guatemalanmaya.org/featured/mayan-languages-our-diverse-culture).

And the patchwork quilt of crops covering the land. The terraced steppes with tiny villages perched on the slopes, accessibly only by donkey. Every inch of the land is thought of and known- the land bejeweled with crops, mountains, volcanoes, and lakes. Crops of corn surround houses, with inches between the stalks and buildings.

Photo by Lauren Zaira. Thanks, Lauren!

Other memories include careening down the mountain on a tiny road, with colorful buses coming up the other side, men standing in the middle of the road selling birds, and a steady stream of women and girls with baskets of grasses and fruits balanced on their heads. We drove by Lake Atitlán surrounded by three volcanoes Tolimán, Atitlan and San Pedro and twelve towns named like the twelve Apostles. Look at the village nestled there in the folds of the mountain.

And the teachers and students – their dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to learning was humbling. They teach in every environment. As we drove to Xela (Quezaltenango), German (my host) said to me, “See that corn field right there? There’s a school right behind it.” The laughter, the smiles, and the learning are the memories I hold of our time together.

We got rid of those rows and created groups in circles immediately!

Now we’re in groups – and can breathe and learn. This group was so full of joy and learning.

These young women were amazing. They made all run smoothly – and saved me and my presentations many times!

Ivan, one of my hosts, and teachers.

This group of students kept me on my toes – every time I looked at them, they started laughing!

Historic and grand hotel where we stayed.

La plaza de Xela

Hosts. Presenters. Friends.

Dawn Wink, Jeff Puccini, Kevin Giddens, German Gomez – German, our wonderful IGA host.

My memories of Guatemala are filled with the textures of language, of people, of bold colors, of landscape, of heart – and the beauty that comes from the uniqueness of each. These are the threads that weave us together.

Fajas

Special thanks to Kevin Giddens for letting me use his iPhone to take these pictures when the battery of my camera died. The beauty of Guatemala – where you do not want your battery camera to fail. Without Kevin, the textures of Guatemala would’ve remained only in word.

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Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the beauty and tensions of language, culture, and place.

10 thoughts on “Textures of Guatemala

  1. Pingback: Touchstones | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  2. Pingback: One Year of Dewdrops | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  3. Hi Dawn:

    I love all the vivid colors of Guatemalan fabrics. I would love to get one of those dolls for my granddaughter. I suppose they are not readily available?

    Connie

    • Hi Connie – I love those dolls, too. No, they are not readily available to order. What we can do is if I’m lucky enough to return to Quezaltenango, I’ll let you know and I’ll get a doll for your granddaughter. I really was trying to figure out how to bring 20 back in my suitcase. Next time I’ll get creative!

  4. What beautiful fabrics and colors! Great new blog! Welcome back to WWW.

  5. Love the new blog Dawn! I’m intrigued by how you interweave texture with experience. While I read I began to see a connection between the patchwork land and fabric and the richness our day-to-day experience in Guatemala. Thanks for capturing this!

    You can borrow my iphone anytime 🙂

    • Hi Kevin, Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Yes, interweaving texture with experience – I look forward to playing more with these ideas in different contexts. Thank YOU for sharing your ideas and experiences with blogs and encouraging me to start one.

      And you completely saved both the blog and me with your iPhone. 🙂

  6. Beautiful photos…reminds me of my trip to Nicaragua!

    • Thanks much, mamawolfe. I loved taking the photos – thinking about what images might best convey the richness of the fabrics, colors, land, and people. Turned taking photos into an adventure in itself.

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