Comfortable?

Comfortable?

Are we comfortable?
Being so far away from friends and family
Not understanding half of what is going on
Struggling to communicate what we are thinking?

Are we comfortable…
Staying with families who don’t have hot water and others who do
Living in a gated community with guards
Getting catcalled in the street?

Are we comfortable…
Seeing kids working in the dump to earn $3-4 a day
Eating at a McDonalds that is nicer than the ones in the states
Having an indigenous maid our same age

Are we comfortable…
Saying no to the kid who asks for a few coins
Walking in the street after our phones were stolen
Enjoying hot springs after a breathtaking hike up a volcano?

Are we comfortable…
Sitting on the toilet for the 7th time in a day with a trashcan in front of us
Sticking out no matter how hard we try to fit in
With the countless effects our country has had on Guatemala

But…

Are THEY comfortable?
With our awkwardness
The history of our country
Our money, our power?

Are they comfortable…
Hosting someone they hardly know, a stranger
When we need so much help and attention
When we just don’t get it

Are they comfortable…
With our Spanish blunders,
Sharing life with us,
Inviting us into their family?

Are they comfortable…
Talking to a bunch of look-like-tourists,
Having people take pictures of their ordinary life,
Sharing their lives and stories with people they will never see again

Are we comfortable here?
Are they comfortable with us?

-Sarah Beth Ranck

K’ekchi Village
A Weekend in a K’ekchi Village

The civilized are just like us
The uncivilized are just like us
We find ourselves the same place
Enjoying the same things: conversation,
Food, and fellowship, the presence of laughter.
We are brainwashed with the reality
Of wealth and happiness, yet we can
Never stop or even slow down and enjoy
The various presences of each other and
Our qualities.

We create the stigmas and stereotypes, but
When a pure two year-old screams at
Your sight, you realize the almighty white person
Was a stigma all his own.
WE pushed them to the margins
Without listening or seeing.

They have JUST as much to offer.
Probably more.
We just need to slow down.
Strip away the electronics, brand names,
The English language, and the stigmas.
In this moment, when we are no more
And no less than them, we realize
We are all the same.

-Emily Clatterbuck