The Catholic connection

IMG_6258IMG_6246IMG_6295IMG_6291IMG_6294IMG_6310IMG_6332IMG_6338 Once upon a time in places far from here I was a Catholic and Michael was a Baptist. Our cultures were very different and in the Mayan world of the indigenous of Lago Atitlan the Catholic faith is doubling laden with mysticism and a link with ancient traditions. The Evangelicals think the old ways are lacking but I see them as rich, oppressive to women but doggedly holding a culture together. Young women are definitely shifting. Often they don’t wear their cortes and they wear comfortable blouses almost all the time and almost no one wears their hair in the old ways. My teacher’s daughter whines when she has to wear her corte because the faja, the sash that holds the skirt up, is too tight around her tummy. I think this generation is the last. The men already mostly wear “modern” attire and it is cheap and flooding the market.

Still, Mary follows Christ through the cobbled streets around the Catholic Church and market place in San Pedro. The little boys use up huge amounts of noisy energy spinning these wooden cracker things. Each day of Semana Santa is devoted to a different  focus or group… to fertility, to the children.. always reflecting the suffering of Christ and the Love of Mary.

I like the old woman entering the church, greeted by the pope. I can’t imagine the level of devotion and the depths of traditional commitment the past and current generation have against all odds but I respect them deeply for it. My heart resonates with Love for them and respect for the beautiful traditions that bind them.

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Very far away

My first morning in San Pedro. From our roof.

My first morning in San Pedro. From our roof.

The view down our street.

The view down our street.

Orien on the right. Headed to San Pedro Spanish School.

Orien on the right. Headed to San Pedro Spanish School.

The water of the lake has consumed many properties-- of gringos.

The water of the lake has consumed many properties– of gringos.

Miranda and Diane

Miranda and Diane, dear and generous friends who live in San Pedro.

The beauty of the children

The beauty of the children

Mi maestro, Andrea

Mi maestro, Andrea

OK. Now write something.

Orien paid for my trip. I already think I mentioned the insane hunt for the passport and the long journey to Las Vegas for the flight… The last struggle was getting through Antigua and finding Orien but after that it was two weeks of idyllic bubble. Great people, good food, lots to see, Spanish to learn…. I stayed a week with Orien’s host family (Magdalena and Jeramias) and then moved over to stay with Diane Gilmore, who is from Chico… she most kindly hosted and fed me and hung out with me. It was all very easy and fun.. just the meanders down along the lake (where I got the photo of the little girl in the barca and one of the many places consumed by rising lakeIMG_6193

Indian Nose, where Orien texted me a photo from this morning... great place for the sunrise.

Indian Nose, where Orien texted me a photo from this morning… great place for the sunrise.

water,) to wonderful restaurants run by ex-pats of various countries, to beautiful birds and plants and volcanoes with ever-shifting clouds. It was all ideal and then I had to come back… or maybe I didn’t, but I did. I was so tired last night when I got in and went to the wrong terminal for my baggage claim it was painful.

I have fantasized about travelling more widely but it only works for me when I am rested and well. Yesterday I was up about 3am and didn’t get into the hotel room, (again Thanks to Orien!) until after midnight. Perhaps I can, definitely I want to, but I really need to pay attention to avoid that horrible fatigue. My Love reaches back to Guatemala… where even yesterday was magical… a complete eclipse of the moon while we slowly progressed up and out of the bowl of the lake and up onto the highlands as the morning light was oranging up the sky on the trip to the airport.

April Orioles

April Orioles

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