Friday, April 8, 2011

Hasta luego, Guatemala

We're on our way home after our amazing two month adventure. Before signing off and getting back to our old life, I need to acknowledge an amazing discovery we have made - the Guatemalan people.

Life has not been easy for Guatemalans. Surviving a 36 year civil war, they are now mired in a cycle of corruption, crime and extreme poverty.

And yet, they are some of the kindest, gentlest, most considerate people we have ever lived among.  They are always quick with a smile, speaking slow and patient Spanish for our halting attempts at communication.

One of my cherished experiences - I was walking alone through Antigua and passed an old man who was obviously down on his luck - unkempt, unshaven.  I decided to be Guatemala-friendly and chirped "buenos dias" even though it was the middle of the afternoon (requiring a buenos tardes).  He smiled and said "buenos tardes" back to me and I stopped and acknowledged my mistake, saying "buenos tardes."  With this he launched into a long speech (in Spanish) on when you use "buenos dias", when "buenos tardes" and when "buenos noches."  I stood dutifully listening, even though I was well aware of my mistake.  When I finally said I understood and turned to go, he put his hand on my arm and gently said "poco a poco."  (Little by little!)   What a kind gesture from a perfect stranger.

So here are some wonderful faces from Guatemala.   Viva Chapines!

1 comment:

  1. I hope your adventure was everything you had dreamed it would be. Next year, maybe you can stay for 3 months......and then 4....and then 5.....poco a poco!