Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friday: Trip to San Antonio

Friday, May 28, 2010

At 1AM on Friday, the reporter was found dead, huddling over to protect his camera and the footage was shown on T.V. My teacher Aurora said that you could hear the reporter screaming and praying the whole time. I have yet to watch the footage.
This morning I rushed to school and I cried to my teacher, I could not concentrate, my head hurt, I was sleepy, my stomach hurt A LOT and I just wanted to go home!!! My teacher decided to cut class short, after I took my exam she and I walked around the school and finally sat down in a couch. We then talked about the volcano and she also talked to me about life and boyfriends and just gave me some good advice.
After lunch, the group got on two different buses because we couldn’t all fit into one. The trip was not very long but we stopped along the way because there was a nice view going down the hill of a small town. Many people got out of the car to take pictures but I just stayed inside the car and took pictures from there.
Figure 1 Inside the car. It was drizzling outside!


Figure 2 The town on the slope of the hill
When we got to San Antonio one of the ladies started talking to us about the traditions that they had. For example when a girl is 8 or 9 years old they start to learn to weave, because it is through weaving that the indigenous people make money. The lady talked about how ridiculous it would be for a girl to sell an item she herself did not know how to make. I think this made perfect sense but I feel like in the United States that is what happens, there a millions of sales people but how many of them know how to make the product they are selling, even in restaurants. By the time a girl is 14 she needs to start working on a guipilde, which she will give to her mother-in-law in the future. In addition once a girl is engaged she starts working on pieces that she will wear in her wedding and pieces to give to her mother-in-law, father-in-law and husband as well.
Figure 3 The machine used for weaving this one is often used by 9 year old girls.

After the lady explained the weaving and how it worked and the ages of girls who learned to weave, she went on to talk about the clothing. A Mayan women often weaves he own clothing and it is bright colors. All of the clothes are usually made out of cotton and washed by hand. The skirt is a very long piece of cloth and it is tied with a belt. In addition Mayan women have excellent balance because they are able to walk around with baskets on their heads. As for men, she mentioned that they do not wear the traditional outfit as much as women because of discrimination. When a man goes to the city to ask for a job they need to look very classy and professional and the traditional wear is not what people want to see. This made me sad because I think about it and this is a part of their culture, of who they are yet they have to hide it because they need to get a job, and people are so judgmental everywhere that your clothes always have to look great so you can make a great first impression.

Figure 4 Traditional outfit of a Mayan woman

Figure 5 Traditional Wear for a Mayan Man

We were able to participate in a Mayan ceremony while we were there and I was able to be a part of that. I was extremely excited because I thought it was a cool idea. I was the mother of the bride and we were able to learn a lot about the customs. For example one of the pieces that the bride weaves for the mother-in-law has to be worn by the mother-in-law though the duration of the wedding or else it means that she does not like her son’s wife.
Figure 6 In the wedding ceremony I was the mother of the bride

In addition to the Mayan ceremony students were also able to make their own tortilla, cook it, and then eat it with Pepian the traditional food of Guatemala. This food is often cooked during holidays. Some students also took the opportunity to grind coffee beans and then got to have some delicious coffee. The Pepian was my favorite, however, even though I was still sick to my stomach it tasted AMAZING!!!
Figure 7 Students were able to grind coffee & make a tortilla

Finally the last activity was to allow the students to do some shopping. There were many cute, beautiful, and colorful items. All of the guys bought a poncho or sweater but in different colors. While many of the girls opted for bags, scarves, or jewelry. I myself got two bags because I really liked the work and they were beautiful and unique. One of my bags even had the Mayan calendar on it!!
Figure 8 I really liked this bag and it was hand made for 80Q, which is equivalent to 10, US$

Figure 9 Danny got one of these sweaters but a bigger one; actually all three of the boys bought these

Upon arriving back in Antigua, Danny and I headed back home. I had again another stomach cramp and was exhausted. Once we got to the house I was able to take a small nap and then asked permission to go on the roof. We have an amazing view from our house. I could not resist and took a picture leaning off the roof.

Figure 10 The view from the roof of our host family's house

Figure 11 Leaning of the roof of the house!!

During dinnertime the host family and I spoke about Maximon, this saint/devil who some people believe in. When we go to Lake Atitlan we will actually get to visit Maximon in a home. It all started because we started telling scary stories and then it led to this. I still have not learned much about him except for the fact that he is in way usually associated with black magic.
It rained all of Friday night!! This was when Storm Agatha hit Guatemala and where many people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed!!!!

If anyone is interested in donating any money please let me know and I can get you in contact with the right people! The people of the small towns in Guatemala definitely need it!!

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