What this is all about

Being a December graduate, I have decided to keep an open schedule and mind.  I have no definite plans for at least 5 months, and even then, nothing is certain.  This is all very new for me--I've always had a set plan of what I'm doing next.  Now, although I know the general direction I am heading, I am allowing opportunities to come to me that might have otherwise been lost if I had already made plans.
Join me for the ride as I begin to Learn By Living!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

day 4: Field trip to San Andres Xecul

K’iche’ is continuing on nicely, besides the everlasting sore throat which I am just going to have to accept! Today’s after-school activity was a trip to the nearby town of San Andres Xecul. We started a block away from school and got on what is referred to as a camioneta (for outsiders it’s known as a chicken bus…imagine a U.S. school bus painted with vibrant colors, a man collecting tickets hanging out the front door yelling the various destinations, and lots of merchandize on the roof). On the camioneta, there were several merchants selling their goods--everything from candy and sodas to natural remedies (which the selling point was that dogs ate grass to heal their stomachs, so this mixture would help humans too). We then transferred to a pick-up truck that originally was going to charge us 30 Quetzales (Guatemalan currency) for the three of us, but then our guide (one of the women from the school) said thank you but we would wait…we ended up getting it for Q 2.00 each! We got into the back of the pick-up truck and it took off just as I grabbed on to the raised rail on the side of the truck. We stood for the entire 15 minutes at 120 miles/hr ride to the center of San Andres Xecul (see video below). This town is known for its market (which starts at 5AM, like just about everything else in the town), and its colorful church and matching calvario (start at church and process and stop at stations of the cross along the way and end up at the top of a mountain at the calvario which represents where Jesus was crucified). Right next to this, there are Mayan ceremony grounds set up. I asked what the relation ship was between both religious beliefs and I was told that for many Mayans, both traditions merge and are thought of as one. We went inside the church where there were several women in traditional dress (traje tipico) kneeling on the alter praying the rosary. Other women were sweeping, flipping the heavy pews, and making sure everything was ready for the next mass. These were the women of the church, I did not see a single male inside which surprised me because even until only decades ago women were not even allowed to step foot on the alter even as helpers. I was happy to see that in this town the women seemed somewhat in charge. On our way back we sat in the back of a pick up truck carrying freshly died cotton thread used for weavings and a K’iche’ speaking older gentleman. I asked him how he was doing, was able to answer his questions, and then I asked him what his name was…or so I thought. He looked at me a bit strange and then gave me a hesitant answer. I repeated his answer in my head, trying to figure out what that name translated to. To my horror, I realized that the name was in fact a number. I then realized I had asked this older gentleman how old he was!

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