Day 14 - San Juan La LagunaFebruary 10, 2020 in Guatemala ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C
Today we took a ferry to a nearby resort that was lake front. We relaxed under the sun and swam in Lake Atitlan. In the afternoon we took the ferry to a small Mayan village called San Juan La Laguna. The locals who live in the village dress very traditionally and typically hand make all of their clothing. We toured the village and visited a shop that hand makes scarfs, sweaters and bags from cotton trees within the village. All of the merchandise is dyed with colors that are extracted from different plants. We had the opportunity to watch one of the ladies stretch out the cotton from the tree then dye it and begin to weave it into a scarf.
Our next stop was the natural medicine clinic where natural plants are used to heal different types of ailments as there are no western physicians available in the community.
We then headed to an art gallery with paintings made by the locals. Most of the paintings were of traditional Mayan people in different settings such as picking vegetables and fruit in the crops to making clothing. The paintings were very unique with many vibrant colors.
Our last stop on the tour was a chocolate plantation where we watched the process from start to finish. And of course we couldn't leave without buying some!
After the tour of the town was over, we split up into groups and went to different homes where families hosted us for the night. Chelsea, Christie and myself were paired with a wonderful family that cooked us a delicious meal that included chicken, vegetables, rice and tortillas. The father worked on a farm which was an hour walk from their home and that is where they got all of their produce. The mom and daughter had a shop where they sold all of their handmade clothing. Both children also went to secondary school from 1-6pm each day. The parents hosted tourists at least 2 times per week through the Planteterra project so they could save up money for their children's college. Both parents did not have the opportunity to go to school beyond the primary years. The house was very basic, but was comfortable for the family. They only had enough electricity for lights and did not have any electric appliances. After supper, we played cards together and visited, which included some challenges as the entire family only spoke spanish and a Mayan language, but we were able to communicate with the little amount of Spanish we knew.
It was a very eye opening experience as this family lived the way many Guatemalans live with little water, electricity, no vehicle and limited food and other basic items for daily living such as toilet paper.Read more