Today was Guatemala immersion day, or at least Antigua and Maya education day. After a hearty breakfast served in the courtyard of our hotel, we headed out to meet our tour guide in the central square. We spent 3 hours walking with Elizabeth Bell, a local tour guide, archeologist, and expert in life in Antigua past and present. We felt an immediate connection with the city as she explained how the past mayor had been jailed for corruption, and that the Internet and Facebook were making significant changes to a country that had been isolated for centuries. The current mayor is a woman and is really cleaning up the corruption in the city government. There is a strong sense of community here with people committed to looking out for each other that is a longstanding characteristic of the Mayan people. 6000 years of history is a lot to cover in 3 hours, but we all felt we got a good glimpse into the culture and history of the area complete with an introduction to the Mayan calendar. Antigua is a surprisingly old and beautiful city that had been abandoned for many years after a devastating earthquake. Evidence of that past destruction is still evident in the ruins throughout the city.
After lunch and a little downtime, the education continued and the team split up between a cooking class and a Mayan Sacred Fire for a glimpse into Mayan spirituality. We got a few extra prayers of thanksgiving for our project.
Oh, and David carried an umbrella all day that successfully warded off the expected rain, although we did hear thunder in the distance toward the end of the day. Hopefully good weather will continue during our journey.
Words for the day. Peace, community, goodness, caring for God’s creation.