Lessons in Quetzaltenango

22 Dec 2007 6:06 pm

After spanish lessons I walk home to Sandra´s house for lunch. Lunch is served at 1pm and is the main meal of the day.  Sandra serves traditional Guatemalan food which is rice, black beans, meat at plenty of bread and tortillas. Beverage choices are hot tea, instant coffee, and orange ´drink´.

Sakribal arranges a daily field trip for the students. One day we took a bus to the town of Salcaja to visit the oldest church in Central America. We also visited a local family who weaves ikat cloth and also makes a homemade brandy from fermented fruit. The market in Salcaja is typical and really fun. It´s right out in the street at everything from machetes, to radios, to cloth to vegetables and live animals is for sale. My favorites are the foods, especially the vegetables I´ve never seen before. 

 Tonight a family came to eat at Sandra´s comedor. Near Sandra´s house in Xela, there is a safe house for illegal immigrant children who have been deported from the US. This family is from the campo (country  farms) and they have come to Xela to pick up their 16 year old son who  illegally immigrated to the US and was caught by US authorities and kicked out. This is especially not a surprise as this child looks 13. The family does not look well off at all, so it easy to imagine his motivation for immigating to the US. As the family sat and ate a meal made by Sandra, I spoke with Maria and Sandra about the extreme poverty issues in Guatemala that drive children to attempt immigration to the US. I also tried to explain to Sandra and Maria that children in the US are required to go to school until they are 18. If this kid was walking the streets of the us while everyone else was in school, didn´t speak English and didn´t have any documentation, he really didn´t have a good chance of success. I asked if the family had bus money to get to their home. Sandra asked for me and they didn´t. I gave them 100Q (about $14) for the bus. Then I started to cry because this kind of money means nothing to me and everything to them in order get home to the rest of their kids.

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