Day 7  of  The A to Z  Blogging Challenge

G is for God’s Own Guatemala

Girl with a half-eaten mango staring at me curiously as I pass
Girl with a half-eaten mango staring at me curiously as I pass

“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.

Easter week - two Guatemalan boys in the city
Easter week – two Guatemalan boys in the city

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

Some children outside their home.
Local children

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.

Simple but difficult work awaited women = somewhere near Lake Atitlan.
Simple but difficult work awaited women = somewhere near Lake Atitlan.

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.

Chichicastenago
Here I am in Chichicastenago

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.

G is for God’s Own Guatemala
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2 thoughts on “G is for God’s Own Guatemala

  • April 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    God bless those Wycliffe Bible translators! They have reached so many people over the years with the Word of God. It’s a shame you became ill on the last day of your trip. My daughter’s first boyfriend was from Guatemala. And one day God gave me the privilege to lead the young man to His Son.

    At age 15, PCP tantalized me to try it. Big mistake! Four years later it caused me to hit rock bottom in a jail cell. But as I look back, I know God’s hand was on me even then.

    Matt

  • April 12, 2015 at 2:16 am
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    Matt,
    I know! After I met them, I really wanted to be one of them, too! You know how much I love languages and have a heart for others! I have another story for you on the topic but you’ll have to wait until the correct letter comes up! Keep reading!
    Wow! You have led a lot of people to the Lord!
    Amy

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