Something that very much interests me is the Guatemalans’ perceptions of the United States. Of course, we came to Guatemala with many preconceived notions about what the country was going to be like, which is inevitable. Although, we got our expectations from classes, books, the Internet, etc. Many Guatemalans, especially those in rural areas, do not have access to any of these resources, so their perceptions may come solely from what they hear from others, or see from travellers
Lizzie Baliozian got the opportunity to speak to one man about what he thought America was like. He explained America to be a place of the future, a place he could never imagine to be real. When asked to describe it in one word, he chose “incredible” – hearing that, gave me the chills. He said he would love the opportunity to go to America simply to see if it really exists.
This perspective is vastly different from the women we spoke to last week at the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute. One woman heard that the United States is who supplied the guns that killed many people during the Guatemalan civil war. She also knows that in the United States people have a freedom to marry and divorce. She almostseemed a bit resentful of this, because of how unfaithful herhusband was, but she also disagreed with our customs, because of her religion. She wanted to make it very clear though that she does have a lot of respect for us. It is truly amazing, yet slightly concerning, how these two are on such different sides of the spectrum.
Today, I also spoke with a Limitless Horizons Ixil worker who actually visited America. I asked her what came as the most shock to her and I have to admit, her answer was not the first one I was expeting. I come to Guatemala and the first thing I notice is the difference in living conditions and the poverty. To her, it was the family dynamic. She was shocked to see couples that did not have any children. What a perfect example of how relationship-oriented people truly are here.