10 noviembre 2010- miercoles
Tomorrow marks my 3 month anniversary of arriving in Guatemala! Interesting paradox….seems like I’ve been here forever, but everyday there are challenges to remind me of my newcomer status. Here is a poem I wrote last Saturday during the 2 hour bus ride (in between bumps) to Quezaltenango (nickname Xela) which is the 2nd largest city in Guatemala.
Journey to Xela
Lurching along packed dirt roads past fields of corn,
Sentinels to the life-giving food, smoke curls up from homes
Where likely a woman clad in tejido tends the noonday meal and fire.
Hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder on this bus,
A pair of dark brown eyes peer at me from beneath a knitted cap.
The future of Guatemala examines me, a pale face amongst the brown.
Other babes sleep peacefully, snug in colorful slings upon mothers’ backs.
Bent but dignified older women with folds of fabric upon their heads
Peer out the dirt-streaked window, perhaps visiting family today.
Pine trees line the highway, some reddish brown and struggling with disease.
In the distance I spot the perfect cone that is Volcan San Pedro,
Its large and silent presence protects Lake Atitlan.
Pueblos of concrete block homes and metal lamina roofs
Are sprinkled along the highway, amongst a checkerboard of cornfields.
We are stopped briefly and I see a woman beneath a bright colored umbrella
Patting out her tortillas at this roadside stand announcing “papas fritas”.
Family groups trudge along the highway with sturdy women
Carrying bundles in colorful cloth in dignified balance upon their heads.
Boys and men are bent over in the strain of carrying leña (firewood)
In huge quantities, the straps pressing upon their foreheads.
My fellow bus passengers sit stoically, lost in thought,
Perhaps contemplating their intended activities in the big city.
Such is a typical Saturday morning here in Guatemala
As we bounce along listening to the strains of bachata music on the radio.