Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back in the City from Baja Verapaz

We returned yesterday from Rabinal. In the morning we visited the local cemetary that houses many colorfully decorated crypts and three monuments to the three mass graves in the site that date from La Violencia in the early 1980s. Of all my traveling companions, I am the least knowledgeable about that time in history so I am learning a lot. Many campesinos were killed by the military. The region we visited was particularly hard hit.

That same morning before the visit to the cemetary we saw Paulino who makes tablecloths and placemats with his wife Mariana at Chuaperol. He was checking the pattern for a sample of cloth they will produce. He told us his father was one of the campesinos killed in 1981. As a result, he fled the countryside and spent a lost decade in Guatemala City until he returned and met Mariana.

It makes me think about the importance of security in all of our lives and on what that depends. We norte americanos at least most of us are so fortunate not to have to live in a daily state of fear or hunger or insecurity. Reliable income is necessary to overcome that insecurity and create solid communities. Mayan Hands helps to provide a steady, predictable income to women and families in some of the hardest hit areas of this ruggedly beautiful country.

Today we visit Upavim, a women´s cooperative here in the city. We leave for Pana in the afternoon and will meet Teresa and Juana, fieldworkers for the programs in the highlands.

I will post photos when our schedule slows down a bit! Mark Van Wormer, husband of Anne Kelley and traveling companion is taking some amazing shots. I cannot wait to share them with you.


  1. it all seems so interesting. having fun speaking spanish?
    have a very exotic thanksgiving.

  2. Thank you Sylvie! The Spanish is flowing and the holiday is sure to be exotic though we will have a turkey roasting.

    Most of my traveling companions are vegetarians and they are not having a hard time finding good things to eat. The food is basic but some of the tourist areas have really nice offering and lots of fresh juice made from tropical fruits like tamarind.

    Love to all and enjoy your Thanksgiving.