“Ah, those ‘gringas !’ They know so little ! ”

There is a silence in this family that feels like resilience. But this silence is also in harmony with this majestic land. It is so spectacular that on my way to Totonicapan’s market, I fall into a small ravine. I lost my footing while my soul had escaped me ! I can still remember the worried look on Auntie Rachel and Maria Guadalupe’s faces, changing quickly into a conniving laughter. “Ah, those “gringas ! ” They know so little ! ” Something for them to talk about around the fireplace, or perhaps something to remember me by, with a smile.

Created by Ixehel, goddess of the moon

Like her brother and her sister, Johana weaves the traditional skirts and typical fabrics whose patterns indicate from which regions and cultures they originate. The children have learnt that this work and art was created by Ixehel, goddess of the moon, and that during the Mayan era, the task of a woman was to weave, while for the man, it was to work the land. A piece that takes four days to make will bring in 4$ from the peddler.

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He prays and talks of God

Grandpa Nicolas Crispin, disappointed by the Catholic Church had a vacillating faith and was converted by the Jehovah Witnesses. He prays and talks of God. 

In Papua New Guinea, I saw all the people of an entire village change their religion in a single day. What has become of faith in a country that has been betrayed so much and so desperately needs to believe in its own culture ? I have learned to remain silent on the topic of God. Must we all do so in order to live side by side?

Wanting to know

Have Velasquez Pérez’s children continued on as weavers, now that so many women have already opted for western-style clothes ? They “castillianised” themselves too much as they say in the family, just like Johana’s own sister, a nurse in the city. Have they been able to preserve their culture ? 

And, more importantly, are they sheltered from the violence that targets it ? Aunt Rachel’s husband has been murdered: by whom? “Quien sabe ?” (Who knows?) is the only possible or safe answer. nobody is talking and that has been going on for 25 years. Could she tell about it today ? 

I am wondering if Benjamin was ever able to fulfill his dream. He was working for a rich landowner in order to save enough money to buy his own piece of land. Already selling for 4000$ an acre, how much can it cost today ? 

This country is, for me, the most beautiful of the Americas. Its Majesty never leaves us once witnessed. Why so much determination to crush this culture? What is the place of the Mayan heritage in our lives today ? 

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It’s an adventure, it’s awakening, it’s human