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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like to subscribe to Dewdrops, please click on the ‘Follow’ icon in lower right-hand corner of the blog’s screen and ‘Confirm Follow’ in the email you receive. To return to website: www.dawnwink.com