Guatemala: To be Mayan


There are many things I’ve learned about the Maya, many things I’ve seen and felt and read. To be Mayan is to carry weight. Literally, Mayans carry weight all the time — baskets on their heads, bundles on their backs. But, in another sense, there is a greater more permanent weight that Mayans carry. This is a historical weight. This is a weight of rich culture, of back-bending harms done, of stories told and not told, of traditions lost to modernization.

In some ways, the Mayans I have seen carry this metaphorical weight more visibly than the baskets or the bundles. It is in their stature, in the way they walk, in the way they avert their eyes and choose their words. It is the physical legacy of societal harm done and continued

And where is the beauty of this culture? They carry that too. And too many times it’s the only thing we see.