Let’s go mija, we’re are going to be late…

mother and daughter strolling

According to the entry on Guatemala on Wikipedia, 40% of the population of Guatemala is Amerindian. I believe the figure to be closer to 60%, yet you would not know it by looking at the pictures in this site. I have try to skip the most obvious photos and that is why just last week a gave you a hint of Calle del Arco; Antigua’s most prominent strip. The same with photos of the indigenous people which is what most tourists photograph. Nonetheless, I have posted some photos and a bits and pieces about them.

Warning, extremely politicized side note (you may skip the reading):
Recently I came across the blog of a person who had just visited Guatemala and commented that life was simple for the people that live in simple houses with their simple living, blah, blah. In just a paragraph this person use the word simple or simply six times. Well, let me tell you there is nothing simple about Guatemala and its people. How can it be? In such tiny country there are 21 Mayan languages, Xinca (Nahualt variant), Garí­funa (African mixed with Maya), along Spanish with a population divided among Roman Catholics, Protestantism, Evangelicals, and traditional Mayan religions, in a landscape broken by 37 volcanoes and two mayor mountain ranges that provide the most varied climates. Nothing can be simple about this country that has two Nobel Prizes: one for Literature while most people are illiterate and another for Peace in a land that still suffers the struggles of a 30 years of civil war after a successful overthrow of the freely-elected Guatemalan government by the CIA coup “Operantion PBSUCCESS” in 1954. It is difficult to realize all the complexities of life in Guatemala on a short vacation, but I would recommend doing some reading; especially if you are a teacher. Even travel guides have ample information about the intricacies of this tiny northern Central American country.

© 2006 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • You take great photos. I enjoyed your political sidenote. I think some people say a country is simple as a wierd form of flatery without realizing how this can sound insulting (and in this case so uninformed).

  • Hi Rudi. Your sidenote was definitely heartfelt. I know sometimes people can be stubborn and ignorant. We just have to know how to deal with them 😉

  • I think that comments such as those you quote are commonplace among visitors. And, I’d bet that many of us are also guilty about making assumptions based upon limited exposure to a culture different than our own. It’s very human, which is not to say that it should not be criticized and corrected. My exposure to Guatemala has also been too short to make a definitive comment, but it’s probably just as limited as the person you quote, Rudi. Thanks for your comments and explanations on all of your posts!

  • Love the photo! Their aprons are so beautiful. My mother, who was born in Guatemala, always called me “mija.” For those of you who don’t know Spanish, it is a contraction of mi ija and means “my daughter.”

    I agree with OC and Kate. I enjoy your cultural and political writings very much, Rudy.

  • patsy poor

    ok, you got me i had been silent because i didn’t want to give information . but i give up because i want something from you. i am interested in the intigenonus people of you country and how they live. i would like to see more photos of the american indian people and their lives if possible. this is not for any reason for profit or anything like that i just want to know how they live and how they dress. also what work they do. also i like to see photos of the plant life. i have never even seen a coffee tree with fruit. thanks. i do enjoy your blog.

  • Great Photo! I love the color and the political side note was well written!
    Wendi

  • AMEN!!!!! Thanks Rudy. When I went to Guatemala on vacation in 2001 and didn’t leave until 2005 one thing that I heard over and again were comments about a “simple” life… If by simple you mean walking is preferred to driving, you get your produce at the market, and there are better things to do on a Thursday evening than “must see t.v.” then Yes, give me the simple life! Simple people, simple existence, simple history, simple future? That’s America, not Antigua….

  • Wendi: Thanks for visiting. Last place I lived in the U.S. was Las Vegas. My Mom still has a house there. I will visit you often now.

    Turbiville: Welcomed back, it’s been awhile since your last visit.

  • Patsy: I promise I will do a more extensive coverage of the indigenous people of Guatemala and their culture. Just be patient, I will research the subject a little more. In the mean time, you can see the photos and what I have written already by clicking on categories indigenous and market, the tags indigenous and market.

  • Patsy: I posted a link to a gallery of Finca Filadelfia, a coffee plantation just outside Antigua before a long with a field of lettuce, but just in case I give the link so you can go see a coffee tree with fruit.

  • Sally

    Great comments. It’s about as insulting as the old “stoneage” label to describe the highly complex societies of Indigenous Australians (well Indigenous people everywhere…)

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