My friend Maria, who blogs at Another Cup of Coffee, has been reminding of my tardiness in updating my blog. Her recent post for the Weekly Photo Challenge over at dailypost.wordpress.com has spurred me to action with this week’s great topic: Humanity
From 2000 to 2009, I took almost a dozen trips to the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, mostly with groups of students from the Newman Center at the University of Tulsa, but a few on my own.
I love visiting that region, particularly the town of Santiago Atitlan on the southeastern shores of Lake Atitlan, a natural lake formed amidst dormant volcanoes. Incredibly beautiful, it is surrounded by indigenous Mayan villages that in many ways are holding onto distinct parts of their traditional cultures despite the influx of modernity.
Trapped by varying levels of cultural oppression, poverty, lack of opportunity, poor health and poor education, the people there are nonetheless warm and friendly once the innate wariness of strangers is overcome.
Most of my trips there involved working with the local parishes on construction projects, such as homes, clinics or coffee processing areas. These were great opportunities to work shoulder to should with the local people and to learn first hand from them.
The children, always curious, always friendly are the memories that come to mind first. Always the first to greet us when we walked down the dusty roads, the humanity of the world is written in their eyes.