March 17 Aybek
Today we went to the market 15 minutes from our homestay, the day before we went to a church with our family, the dinner that night we all sat around the dinner table and enjoyed and laughed with our her family. What all these have in common is the power of culture. This city Pachaj has a very strong cultural feeling to me. Much more than I have ever felt in Canada. Here in Guatemala the culture makes everything meaningful in the moment. In church it was an amazing experience mainly because of the cultural essences. They played many Spanish hymn songs, everyone clapping along and having a good time made it wonderful. Especially with Mayan language it holds a more meaningful feel to the country with a history that long. It builds many stories to tell like the Keyk mountain. When we traveled to the market I was first and living the moment of an average Guatemalan that goes to the market and bargains, veggies and seeing people try to sell their items. In Canada we have a square one and the Eaton center. It was great to be down there living the life of an average person and walking around seeing all the beautiful needed dresses. It felt different and it felt like I was getting the full Guatemalan culture affect. Another example of how the power of culture change my thoughts of this trip and made it so much more worthwhile was when I found us three amazing boys from Canada sitting around the dinner table and seeing Allan, Dani, Yoshua, Alec, and Dona Salvadora eating with us. It was a beautiful time just chatting with them and seeing them talk to each other and being so happy with what they have with his family. I would say the most important thing in life is family. Many Canadians work to live but here they live to work. They enjoy everything they have and they don’t need as much money they can wish for, to be happy. That’s what I love about this culture, many people think Guatemala is a sad depressing “third world” country. Although we have only been here for nine days, it has a curd to me they are much happier here than us back home. Don’t get me wrong this is my opinion based on what I saw so far and that may change. If I were to stay for a year here in Guatemala it might be different. As we talked before many countries are having different images when they are actually different. The culture along with many other things is what makes the country of what am I a beautiful country. With the love of soccer to my in history it all has an effect on everything in someway, whether it’s how nice people are here or how they enjoy life to its fullest. Culture is a key component in life, it is what build you up or makes in the first place.
The afternoon started off with a major reflection activity led by Mitch and Lisa. We listen led to a Ted talk entitled “The Danger of a Single Story.” The speaker, Chimamanda Adichie who migrated to the UK from Nigeria, talked about different views, perspectives, and stereotypes of a certain race towards another. Each of us jotted down personal notes and thoughts while listening. This simple talk brought us all to think and reflect on our original and first views on Guatemala. The following activity was a group discussion, where Lisa scribed on a big piece of paper two categories: our thoughts before coming to Guatemala, and after being here. Because none of us students have ever been to Guatemala, we all had a pretty similar opinion we all judge or pre-judge this country based on its stereotypes we heard from the media, right off the Internet, or even from statistics. These preconceptions included things such as thinking Guatemala was a Third World country, being very underdeveloped and poor, full of drugs in poverty, and having bland food. Realizing then how little we knew, reflecting on what we think of what I’m on now totally opened up our minds further. It wasn’t that our preconceptions were incorrect; rather, we are so far only exposed to just so much of Guatemala and only in eight days especially being in rule areas this far, therefore as humans we automatically make these judgments and opinions. Guatemala is in fact, a country full of friendly people, beautiful nature, intelligent workers, and is definitely a country in the “developing” state. Something that completely blew me away after coming to Guatemala is how much alike it is with my home country Indonesia. The lifestyle, roads, houses, and infrastructure are also similar-definitely an unexpected surprise that came from my biases. Since I’ve never been to anywhere in South America, I never gave much thought of how life is like here. I would not have thought how this country would be so colorful and culturally infused, even in the generation today. To end of the day, we went to a nearby gymnasium to play a friendly game of soccer with some local kids. It was very refreshing and exactly what we all needed to finish the busy day.