Everything in life has a start, a culture, and a source of pride. When visiting Chajul, or even Guatemala for that matter, I had no idea what to expect. I went into the trip expecting the worst, such as a community so smokey that I wouldn’t be able to breath, children walking around as malnourished as the ones in the aid to Africa commercials, and half eaten cats and dogs running around in the streets. In reality, though some of those statements were true, what I observed on my trip was something that no one could have even begun to describe to me.
In Chajul there is a source of pride, a passion for their culture that we no longer get to enjoy in the states. From the traditional dresses, weavings, and extreme source of family unity, I was in awe of their entire way of life and how it seemed to start from infancy. Women coming back from their daily trip to the grinder would carry their traditionally dressed infants in a blanket on their backs while carrying maize on their heads. Men would head to the fields early in the morning with their machetes on their belts, hoes over their shoulders, and their sons by their sides. Although everyone had their duties to preform, they always had their children by their sides. This is what stood out to me the most on our trip to Guatemala. Everything I heard before I left prepared me for the worst, which in turn helped me to accept the bad and be blown away by the culture that I didn’t expect.
I am so blessed to have been accepted for this experience. Sure, every culture has their problems, Chajul may even have more than others, but I just wanted to take this small amount of time to focus one the side of Chajul that people rarely get to hear about.
Thanks & Gig ’em
– Brittany Jesson