Monday, September 14, 2009

Spending a few days in research on the Maya in Guademala

I went on a trip to see and understand the native people of Guatemala. It was an interesting journey, and also one full of fascination and a unique culture of people. It was a trip that will remain with me for the rest of my life.Native women in their Maya style dress ready to sell whatever they can carry on their arms, backs, and heads.
We stayed with a Maya family. They cooked traditional foods on a wood fire.
Pretty much breakfast lunch and dinner. Hygiene is not a high order with them. So one has to be quite careful with everything you ate and drank.
A Maya woman in a Maya temple praying for the dead
A typical street scene
Some very bizarre religious pieces we saw. In this case it says that Jesus came to the rescue of the women who was being attacked by the doctor. But I would think it has more to do with the woman with the broom than Jesus!
Many of the great churches and cathedrals built by the Spanish in the 16th century are being reclaimed by nature. In the days of the Spanish, there was no choice for the natives. Either you were Catholic or they killed you. The church was the state and the state was the church. Fortunately many of these churches are being reclaimed by nature and the horrors of the religious persecutions by the Spanish in the 16th century are part of the past. Never to be revisited.
Volcano's surround the region
Way up in the mountains where we lived with the Maya family

Here is the family with me. 3 generations of them.

One of the major ways to to travel there is by chicken bus. Chicken buses travel at high rates of speed and go up and down the mountains. It is scary as hell to travel on them. One thing I found fascinating was how much they tried to dress up the buses. All of them had their own design. People would hop on and off of them as they were moving and while stopped. I was so impressed with the driving prowess of the native drivers there. I think they should teach others how to drive. As they did things I would not have thought possible, and perhaps were only possible now and then.
Here I am comfortable in a Jesus chair. There is much religious symbolism there and to be honest much of it is a little frightening. Just like this silly Jesus chair. It was funny so I had to take a picture in it.
Here we are climbing the side of a mountain to get to an ancient Maya burial cave.
A Maya ceremony at a local church. It seems that they have mixed the religion and gods of both Christianity and the Maya.
Three little kids I got to know there in the mountains. They are of Maya decent and are part of families that have lived up there for multiple centuries
This is me nervously inside a chicken bus. Just wondering what kind of ride it would be.
Finally down the side of the mountain to a burial cave for the Maya. One side is mountain, the other side is a thousand foot drop.
Were we were staying up in the mountains. The clouds come passing by as the mountains scratch the heavens.
An interesting use of the cross there. In this country they keep Jesus in a glass box. As I mentioned before some of the religious activities there are pretty bizzare. Most religions are a bit bizzare but I thought the Jesus in the glass box pretty creative.
One of the many street sellers there. She was there with a baby on her back.
Two kids I met there and chatted with. They were smart and clever. It was a very fascinating trip. It was a most unique country.