Monday, December 1, 2014

Hola from Kathy!

Read how Indigenous Guatemalans are creating a political platform for 2014

It’s the 23rd of November and I want to write a note about yesterday and today.  Each was very moving in its own way.  Yesterday my ‘goddaughter’, Sandra Sofia, and her Mum came to help me in selecting new traje (traditional clothes) for Sandra's birthday present.  We went to a few little places and finally found all she needed:  corte (skirt), huipil (blouse), faja (belt) and cinta (head band used only in San Antonio).  Her shoes (a plastic sandal that all the girls and women wear) still looked to have some life in them. 

Not her new clothes, they have to be altered.

After this little adventure, I invited myself to her house as I was really curious to know where they were now living.  Up we went, and up and up till we got to a steep stone stairs and continued to go up, where finally we arrived at their high, one room, rented adobe ‘house’.  The view was stunning but nothing else about it was, except perhaps the poverty of it.  The family now consists of 5 children, the oldest is 9, the Mum is 25, and the Dad seems to be having success with staying away from alcohol!  The youngest is 4 months.  Their home has no fences where there are precipices, and running water is available for half an hour twice a week; electricity is occasionally borrowed from the owner.  They have a tiny yard and are growing a few small things there, but mostly the yard is owned and used by the owner of the house.  The Dad is feeling so stuck with very little hope of change.  He gets very little work as a day labourer, and when he does, he is paid very little.

They would be awfully interested in owning a piece of property which they have been offered for 20,000Q (about $3000).  I start thinking about crowd-sourcing but know so little about it...any takers?

On Sunday, we took a trip (that I have wanted to take for years) to an archaeological site called Iximché.  Almost all of the becados,  the directiva, and a few others came (about 24 in all) in two vans.  It is a 2-hour drive from San Antonio (but about 15 miles as the crow flies) and I think we left at 9 a.m. – only an hour later than planned.  We arranged for a guide ahead of time who met us on site.  With us we brought a Maya Sacerdotisa or priest who has been working with the scholarship students, and some other interested people regarding the Cosmovision Maya.

Iximché was the last Mayan city to be built about (1478 (AD).  The Spanish, under Pedro de Alvarado, came around 1524 and the first capital of Guatemala was built in Tecpán (where Iximché is found) by the Spanish.  There was war, first between the Quiche and the Kaqchikel who joined the Spanish (who won) and then with the Spanish, who were treating them as slaves, only interested in digging for gold.

After a tour of the site we ended up in a special area used for Mayan ceremonies.

Our Sacerdotisa proceeded to prepare a circle which required an amazing number of ingredients…… everything from candles, incense and flower petals to cookies and honey. 

Many heartfelt prayers of gratitude and well being were offered to  ICO and our many wonderful donors and the work you/we are bringing to San Antonio. 

And we each had the opportunity to focus on something personal before offering a candle to the fire.

And the fire slowly burned down

By this time we were all rather hungry so a picnic was next on the list and many had brought food to share.  The area was huge, there were picnic grounds outside the gates of the protected area and we settled down under a shade tree with our lunches.

We brought 2 soccer balls and many of the young people stretched their legs and exercised their skills (or lack of) for a good half hour after lunch.

And the last thing on our list for the day was a visit to the museum of Iximché.  Pretty bare but what was there was interesting and the students were interested.  All in all a successful day and a quiet 2-hourhour drive home!

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