Monday, November 30, 2009

The Legendary Market of Chichicastenango

On Saturday we arrived in Chichi (as natives call it here and it means place of the stinging nettles) a beautiful city in the highlands at a higher altitude than we had previously visited. My traveling companions were rested and refreshed after their adventure out in Morales overnight. Our host in Chichi, Juana, was making sure at every step that people were rested, well fed, comfortable. Thank you, Juana.

On Saurday Juana brought us to a sacred Mayan altar high on a hillside outside the city. We had purchased candles for our intentions and to honor the energy of the day (the sign of water ... one of thirteen days in the Mayan calendar). A local shaman was using the site for his own prayer. We lit candles and placed them on the altar.

We were all grateful to Juana for sharing her belief system and teaching us about this ancient tradition. She also welcomed us into her gallery located in her family home where she told us about the groups of women who make paper and then paint tradition symbols onto the paper to earn an income. Juana has just started as a field worker with Mayan Hands though she has many year of experience with groups.

Everyone was setting up for the Sunday market and it seemed the town did not sleep!

Waking up early on Sunday and walking the whole market, the local and the tourist, was lots of fun. Colors, textures, vendors hawking their goods, abundant flowers for sale to offer in the churches, local fruits like granadilla...

Please come back. I will post a photo that will transport you there.

Travel home tomorrow and visiting some sites today nearby and getting ready for the transition home.

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