The Land of Guatemala
Guatemala is green, like really green, even in the middle of drought this place is green. But in my short time I’ve spent there, there is one thing that truly stays with you, more than the climate, more than the food, more than the breathtaking landscape, more than anything else, it’s the people.
In north America we are very good at building fences. We live within an arms length of many people but we don’t even know them. In fact many people rather live alone with their immediate family than risk the chance of having to talk to anyone else. Guatemala is not like that. Sure there are fences, yes I’m sure there are people that keep to themselves, but the overwhelming impression I received was that of hospitality. People that have nothing compared to myself, they gave what they had to make you feel welcome. People that would invite you into their homes, just because you knocked on the door. People that saw the importance of community, and relationship. Yes a dozen white people walking through town is a spectacle, the people stared at us, but they didn’t throw rocks, they didn’t try to kidnap us, they didn’t even yell at us.
Like I said maybe not everyone is that way. But I would wager to say that if we were to take a cross section of us vs. them, they would win. As I’ve thought about why this is, I feel it’s because we hold onto what we have much tighter then they do. And because we are afraid to lose that, we refuse to share it. In reality what the people of Guatemala have is much more valuable simply because they have much less of it. Yet, they are much more willing to let go and give out of what they have.
Maybe we should decide to open up our hearts to people a little more often, obviously. But fear has corrupted us in this so called “safe” place. It’s funny how the pendulum swings, once it was fine to let your kids sit in the car while you went to get some groceries, once we could drink milk right from a cow, at one time even neighbors baked pies and knew each others names…
So which country is more impoverished? Hey I am extremely thankful I live where I do, there is no place better, we have it REALLY good here. And in no way do I want to diminish the actual poverty that many of these people live in. But I need to ask the question “Do I REALLY understand what I have?” or am I more concerned with taking more for myself rather than giving from what I already do have?
The people of Guatemala are a treasure. They are what remains when you visit that place. And they are why I would go back! Go back and read Part One of my recent trip to Guatemala!