G is for God’s Own Guatemala
“God’s Own Guatemala,” is the oft-repeated phrase of one Wycliffe Bible Translator that gave me a place to stay when I visited Guatemala. Some drawer or hidden nook contains a sketch the translator gifted me with that phrase scrawled at the bottom in her handwriting. I’m stricken that I can’t find it now.
When I arrived, I met three linguists with clear goals in their hearts: translating the Bible into various indigenous languages. But they did more than than translate in a house in the center of the city. They reached out. They knew the locals.
God’s Own Guatemala.
I felt like a gypsy visiting other gypsies, though the house had several rooms and looked established.
It was the young women, I mean, language experts, dressed in typical, belted, multi-colored cloth- with baggy white cotton leggings that looked so impressionable. I envisioned them scooping up some tortillas de maiz, enfolding them in a cloth knapsack and strapping it on their backs to reach a needy soul.Just my imagination, I suppose, based on the way the young Wycliffe translator whispered, “God’s Own Guatemala,” in a tone that clearly meant she had a heart for its people and her work.
I wondered what it would be like to live in a country with such a big economic and cultural disparity and so many local dialects.
My friends and I tossed our bags in a closet there, taking a smaller backpack for the rest the week. We set out to explore the city and outlying villages. Since it was Semana Santa, Holy Week, we saw some processions in the. I love this photo of the Guatemalan boys.
Inexpensive bus fares took us to the villages where we could bargain at the markets, and find a room for a few quetzales. The villagers were accustomed to seeing foreigners as they made a living selling their wares to
travelers. As a primary school teacher, I was drawn to the children I met and tried to speak Spanish to. Oftentimes they only knew a little Spanish and chattered to each other and me in their local dialect.
In the villages, I felt like I’d stepped onto the pages of National Geographic.
We three tourists sat at a table in one of the small villages and drank a cup of cacao, strong chocolate made from natural cocoa beans.
Back in the city the morning before we were to leave, I couldn’t resist eating a fruit salad sold by some street vendors and covered with thick white yogurt. It looked and tasted heavenly. I was careful not to eat any fruit that didn’t have some kind of peel. What I hadn’t counted on was the dishwater they’d washed the dishes in.
I became light-headed, dizzy and nauseated in a matter of minutes and had to lie down, alternating between sweats and chills, unsure I’d be able to well enough to fly back to Costa Rica, where I lived. I had to miss out on the activities on our last day in the country.
I somehow recuperated enough to fly home. But I longed to return to God’s Own Guatemala!
When have you been tantalized to try something you know you shouldn’t but did it anyway? What was the result of your decision?
You have just read “God’s Own Guatemala” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright April 8, 2015. You can see who else is participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge HERE.