February 6, 2013
What words can describe the loss of thousands of human lives? It is a good thing that the FAFG, Forensic Anthropology Organization, are doing in giving identities to those lost to the terrible tragedies that occurred here in Guatemala just a short couple of decades ago. The emptiness left in each family and village is weighed by hundreds of boxes stored in areas of the FAFG.
What is life? Why is it so sacred to us? How can we so easily extinguish from a fellow human that which we hold so dear?
Within us all there lies a spark. Properly cared for it grows and enflames us- consumes us. It all began from One- a Holy Fire. So why does it ever change and become cold inside? That which thrives is that which is fed. Do we feed the fire of God’s love that is sparked in us and then spread it to others? Or do we grow cold and extinguish the flame- cutting off the Breath of Life and thus extinguishing more flames? Where does it end? How does it heal? Sometimes ashes create a land most fertile. Sometimes a way to rebuild and renew can start with a single seed or another spark.
The following poem is in response to our visit to the Forensic Anthropology Organization.
Boxes boxes of the dead,
At the feet of living spread,
While the living hope and pray,
That they might have food today.
- Colt Duttweiler
February 17, 2013
Last week we were paired up with students from K’ekchi indigenous families who attend school in Copan. We visited their homes and experienced many different ways of life through their families and their hospitality. The following is a reflection on one of those experiences.
The visit to the village of Leticia was such a good learning experience and view into a life completely different from my own. One of the things that most stuck out to me was the open curiosity toward Randi and I. The children were the most open about their curiosity and in some ways the most interested in us, as could be expected. When we unpacked our bags for the night they stood around us, following every move closely. If I sat down in the yard somewhere it wasn’t long before they crowded around me laughing and crawling onto my lap or sitting close beside me. They were also very excited to act as our tour guides, leading us to their gardens and animals and watching our faces to see what we thought. It was really fun and kind of an honor to spend time with them because they were so interested in us.
The adults, I think, were just as curious toward the pair of gringas in their village, but their age made them more cautious than the kids. When we walked into the small Catholic Church, all eyes immediately went to us, examining our clothes, skin, faces. Never in my life have I been such an object of fascination, and normally this kind of an experience would be really uncomfortable, but the open curiosity of the people was more innocent than menacing. It was such a neat opportunity to share friendship with the children and people of the village (whenever I caught someone looking during the service and smiled at them, they smiled really warmly back; it was fun) and to take memories and a good look at a vastly different lifestyle and way of living. I will remember these two days for a long time. I connected this experience to how Columbus and other European explorers must have felt upon arriving in Central America, but will never be able to understand how someone could ignore the beauty of a new culture and opportunity for friendship and learning in the face of greed.
- Katie Eckman