Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guatemala Missions Trip • Joan Hust

I went to Guatemala four times with the Guatemala Task Force team.  We went to many of the K’ekchi villages. The K’ekchi are Mayan Indians living in Central Guatemala in the lowlands and highlands.  They raise corn and beans.  It is their staple crop.  I went into their houses. They are built with thatch and poles, and do not have windows. They sleep in hammocks for their beds.  I would watch them weave and use the back strap loom. We sang, gave our testimonies, and explained The Evange Cube.  We were taken to the villages by truck but we did a lot of walking.

The K’ekchi is the second largest indigenous group in Guatemala.  There are over one million.  Most of them live around Petén.  They are a wonderful group of people to work with and are open to our visiting them.  They are most kind, and I really appreciate not only their kindness, but they are a lot of fun. They teased me a lot.  Their church services are alive and they really made me feel at home.

One time I was carried up the mountain by two barefoot K’ekchi men in a hammock made from a fishing net, and another time I was helped over a pile of rocks in the road that was wider than the road and three times as tall as me. It was a very hot humid, sticky day.  I felt clammy, and had drops of perspiration all over me but what bothered me the most was the perspiration on my nose as it kept building up liquid drops so to speak and made my nose run. When I finally made it to the top of the mountain and was helped out of the hammock everyone cheered.

After a nice lunch of fresh tortillas straight out of the mud oven with the K’ekchi ladies it was time to go down. I did not want to leave quite yet as they were still making tortillas, and they let me join them.  Oh, it was so much fun trying to make a tortilla. They make them by taking a ball of dough and slapping it from hand to hand to flatten it out.  I really tried to make a tortilla, but I did not do so well.  Everyone was laughing as I was trying my best to shape the tortilla so I could put it in the oven.

I was looking forward to walking back down the mountain carefully and taking my time, but the K’ekchi men were right there with the hammock waiting for me. I had no choice as they were so nice and a couple of them helped me to get in the hammock sideways. I straightened my plaid skirt made of K’ekchi fabric, and they lifted me up while they at the same time were adjusting the poles on their shoulders.  The path was very narrow, and steep.  It was scary to look over the edge. There was not even a foot of extra space. One of the medical doctors in our team assisted them, and would step in and give them a break. He helped adjust the poles on their shoulders from time to time.  He was very physically fit and strong, but I am sure he was relieved when someone would take his place when he had the poles on his shoulders.
There was a truck waiting for us and it was a relief to get in the truck.  We were maybe ten minutes down the road, and we were stuck in the mud.  Everyone got out except the driver and with huffing, puffing, pushing, and following the directions of one of the team we were back on solid ground and on our way.

It was a privilege and a blessing to work with the K’ekchi, our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

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