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Journal 5

February 10

They say the pace of life is slower in Guatemala, but time seems to be
flying by. This past week included our first round of Spanish exams, one
month anniversary of being in Guatemala, hearing firsthand stories of torture
and persecution during the 1980’s, two birthdays, a weekend trip to Chichi
and plenty of explosions.

This past weekend we were privileged to be able to watch several cultural
events. First we were able to observe two traditional dances of the bull.
It was an exciting 15 minutes waiting for the random sets of fireworks
to go off that lit up the bull and flew over our heads during the second
dance. Saturday, we had the rare opportunity to watch a Mayan ceremony
which included a thanksgiving sacrifice of candles, candies, canned
vegetables (that exploded in the fire) and a chicken. Church Sunday
morning was a beautiful mix of Catholic mass and Mayan candle lighting,
rose petals and prayers.

I am continually amazed at the resilience of the people we have met and
talked with. We had the privilege to eat lunch and talk with the widows
who run the Ruth and Naomi Project (a producer for Ten Thousand Villages).
Maria (one of the widows) is an amazing woman. Not only did she lose
her husband but she has had to live close to the man she knows killed her
husband, leaving her children fatherless, for almost twenty years. Yet
she has moved on and made a living for her family by sharing with the
world her beautiful handiwork on the loom. It is these people who have
lost so much, suffered the trials of living in a war torn country, and
know what it is like to go to bed hungry and wake up unsure if there will
be food for their children, that I have found to be the most generous.
They have freely shared with us their homes, food, stories, and smiles;
asking only in return for a listening ear.

As we start a new week and make plans for service learning and free
travel, it has dawned upon many of us that soon we will be moving on and
saying goodbye to our Guatemalan families here in the city. Fortunately
as with the goodbyes at the circle over a month ago at EMU these goodbyes
will lead to new hellos.

- Lynette Nussbaum

Photo galleries:
(from most to
least recent)

Gallery 7

Gallery 6

Gallery 5

Gallery 4

Gallery 3

Gallery 2

Gallery 1