March 7: Day 7
Feliz cumpleaños, papa! I hope he is having a good day back in Ohio!
Today was our last work day. Where did the week go?! We filled in the trenches we dug with rocks and cement today. It was hot and we were exhausted from the week, but we had fun. The best part of today for me was my talk with Miguel. I asked him if he could go anywhere in the world, where would he go? He said Peru, to see the ruins. He also wants to go to the United States and asked when would be a good time to go. Of course I told him he had to come to Ohio to visit us, and in October, in the fall when it is beautiful and the weather is cool. He said that is a perfect time because the weather in Guatemala is dangerous then. I think maybe he meant from the rain and mudslides.
Miguel then sat down where I was working and began talking to me about his religion and beliefs. It was so interesting. He said he was raised in a Christian household and still prays to God, but he feels the Mayan running through his blood. He is 75% Mayan and 25% Christian he said. He feels such a connection to nature, the sun especially. He wants to be reincarnated as a tree, so he can give off oxygen for his people to breathe and provide food for birds.
He said that each region (San Juan, San Pedro, San Pablo, etc.) has different skills. Some can read fire and tell the future, some have midwives who can complete ultra sounds with their minds and he can feel people’s energy and tell their character. He said Jenny is sensitive, Hayley is full of wisdom, Rach is a free spirit and JB gets stressed easily, but can talk herself through tough situations. He apologized to me and said he didn’t want to tell me my energy. I laughed, asking if that was a bad thing and he said it was because my energy was too strong and it would drain him of his energy. He reassured me that it was a good thing though.
Miguel also said that if his kids (one girl, 4 years old and one boy, 16 years old) are sick, he can use his energy to take out bad energy from their bodies so that they feel better. He said some people have very bad, negative energy. He explained that even though they may not be trust worthy, we still need those people in the world. Everyone has a job and everyone is needed for different things. The Mayan people rely so much on each other. Community is everything to them. That is one aspect of Mayan culture I wish we could take back with us to the United States.
We gave Miguel a photograph of us as a little going away present and he was so excited. He said this week was so much fun for him and that’s more than anyone could give him. I love the relationships we’ve made with the people here more than anything.
Tonight before dinner a few of us girls got to attempt to make tortillas with Petrona. It is so much harder than it looks. She said if you don’t know how to make them correctly, you get smacked with a stick on your hand. That’s just the custom and how it is. She began making them at age seven, and is going to teach Perlita, who is five, very soon.
Petrona has 16 brothers and sisters, who all live in San Juan! I have two sisters and one brother. One lives in Texas, one in Akron, one in Warren and I live in Alliance. I am very close with my sisters and brother, but that goes to show how extremely valued the closeness of family and pride in your hometown is in Guatemala.