Recent Entries

August 11, 2003

Day 1

When I arrived in Guatemala, I was very happy to see Regina, whose sister Rebeca has been one of my best friends in New York.

She and her husband, Ricardo, picked me up and took me to their house, which, like the homes of most people in their social class in Guatemala City, is in a sort of gated compound. We had a bizarre drink that Ricardo likes to make - it's basically bloody Mary mix with beer, so it's all fizzy and foamy. I needed a drink after that kid screaming at me and punching me for five hours straight, so I liked it.

We went to another couple's house for lunch, again in a gated sort of mini-village in the hills overlooking the city center. The people at lunch were very warm and lively, and their kids were delightful. I asked plenty of questions about the sitation in Guatemala but I really only learned a little of what it's like from the perspective of the upper classes. Regina is preoccupied, naturally, with the safety of her kids (she has two - they're with her parents in San Salvador at the moment) and she worries about crime. Everyone is frustrated with the level of corruption in the government.

Regina and I had an interesting talk about racism in Guatemala. We agreed that everyone has the capacity for it, and she said a social and political system like Guatemala's encourages and fosters it - there are few opportunities for people like Regina to connect on a personal level with indigenous Guatemalans (who make up 75 present of the population here). The Indians rightly resent the fact that many of them have very hard lives, and no political power or self-determination, while the white people (or Ladinos, as the Indians call them) feel that resentment and become defensive, often criticizing the indigenous people when they call for better social services on one hand, yet refuse to pay taxes on the other. Ladinos are also often suspicious of Indians, feeling that they are always trying to take advantage of them or rip them off.

I hope I can find out more about the history of the country and the progress it's made since the 1996 peace accord with the guerillas - it's a pretty interesting place.

Posted by Sarah on August 11, 2003 10:21 AM
Category: Guatemala

Nice to read your comments from Guatemala. Perhaps you come back again to this great country some day. About El Salvador, the border problems can be avoided if you're clever enought ;) Best regards.

Posted by: Christian Van Der Henst S. on January 5, 2004 12:00 PM

Designed & Hosted by the BootsnAll Travel Network