Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday, May 15-James Dilts/Lindsay Langhals

We started the day by traveling to a nearby town to see their market. We all got into pickup trucks and traveled through the mountains and saw some beautiful scenery. One thing I noticed was the political signs and slogans painted on the rocks and trees along the highway. On the way, we stopped at a government clinic and observed their training for midwives. Most of the women there did not speak Spanish or English. Instead, they spoke Q'iche, a local Mayan dialect. During our discussion, we needed to go through two translators to understand them. However, we were able to see their joy and passion through the language barrier. The average age for these women was well over 70 years old, and the oldest midwife there was 90 years old.
When we got to the market, there were so many different sights and smells to see and experience, some good and some bad. We walked through the streets and passed many little stands that sold various foods and some crafts. There were a lot of beautiful beaded bracelets and bags, as well as blouses and other cultural attire. However, most of the food was of poor quality and covered in flies, and there was a lot of trash and stray dogs in the marketplace. Many of us found it difficult to see this, and we had a good discussion tonight about it.
After we left the marketplace, we visited some of the widows of Guatemala's civil war in the 1980s. The mission has helped them to find meaningful work by weaving bags to sell in the market and in the United States. It takes about one month working a few hours a day to weave a bag, for which the weavers will earn $25. The widows live in houses that are about 10 feet by 10 feet, and do not have access to running water or any type of clean sanitation. They seemed very happy to see us, and we enjoyed seeing the talent needed to make the crafts by hand.
After we got back to the mission, we visited the local cemetery, located in the ruins of a colonial church that was destroyed in the 18th century by an earthquake. Most of the graves are located above the ground in a type of mausoleum. They were brightly colored and contained messages written about the deceased. The graves were obviously well loved, and there were flowers everywhere. As we finished walking around the area, it started to rain, and we were soaked. It was enjoyable to walk back town in the rain. Finally, we finished the day with mass held in the chapel in the mission.

James Dilts-Lindsay Langhals


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