by Caroline Black
As Caroline Black enjoys her “cultural appreciation” at the beautiful Lake Atitlan, she reflects on her final day of service in the Ixil region. Below are her thoughts.
Thursday marked our final day of service in Guatemala. Our crew spent the morning at a school in Batzul (outside of Chajul). We played games with the students all morning, reviewing basic plant names and parts taught last week during our two visits. Additionally, to further explain why we made organic pesticides last week, we played a game where we (Aggies and the Batzul kids) were all divided into three teams: Plants, Pesticides, & Insects. Depending on your assigned roll, the “plants” were protected by the “pesticides.” If tagged by an “insect” the “plant” died (squatted then stood up again), but if the “pesticide” tagged the “insect” while protecting the “plant” the “insect” had to run back to a base and start over again… I was a “plant” and I must brag on my “pesticide” Victor… he did an awesome job keeping me alive!
After playing our games, the students made mini lombricomposturas in dixie cups, for the students to take home to their families. I hope at least one kid will teach his or her parents the information we shared with them…That would be awesome!
During the morning’s activities, I met a little girl. Her name: Elda.
Elda quickly became my friend and wanted multiple pictures taken. She handed me her workbook and had me write my name down for her. She also showed me the las gatas (cats) she had drawn… my response, “iMuy bonita!”
Before we left the school, I heard someone yell “Carolina, Carolina” and it was Elda. She reached out her hand and presented me a little plastic nob — her gift to me. I was startled by her act of kindness and immediately asked “for me?” Her answer was a grin that read “yes.” I wish I had had something to give to her in return, but all I had was a hug and we took another picture together.
A plastic nob — maybe a piece from an old hair pin? I’m not sure — but she willingly gave. It was pretty humbling, if you ask me.
Elda serves as one of many examples of the culture we’ve been a part of over the last 20 days. It’s the individuals like Elda who have made this trip priceless.
These people have given all that they have to welcome us into their homes, schools, offices, and even futbol games to share their smiles, friendship, love, life…and culture.
I’m very thankful for the Elda’s of Chajul. I only hope I gave half of what they have each given to me…
Tantiuxh Elda, Tantiuxh!
(Tantiuxh is “thank you” in Ixil)