Garbage village day it was…
Yes the name says it all. Some people actually live and work in the garbage city. We prepared sandwiches to give to all the people living there and also handed some soft toys to the children. I must say it wasn’t a pleasant situation since we had to walk through filthy debris and soil. The rain didn’t help either.
More work was carried out in the morning. However in the evening we attended a concert at the parish church of Stella Maris. Unfortunately it was meant to be held at the Guatemalta arena however due to heavy rain it wes held indoors. The group was called Kyrios and they came from the diocese of Jalapa. Fr Anton knows all the members as young kids so it was a very special moment for him. We got to know they all come from very poor families. Despite all the difficulties they managed to form this wonderful group to évangelize through music.
At the end a token of appreciation was presented from the Tv station Stella Maris crew to Mark Cremona, who was one of the first people to fundraise money for this project.
This village visit is most probably the most difficult one so far. Whilst the boys stayed on site finishing some works i accompanied Fr Anton. Early in the morning we were advised that due to heavy rainfall at some point we are going to be unable to drive further. After an hour’s drive in the usual rough terrain, we walked a steep incline for a further 30 mins in pouring rain.
At some point we were met by locals to transfer us to their village. At the back of a pick up truck covered in black plastic to shelter me from rain, today i imagined myself ‘kidnapped in Guatemala’. Unable to see were we were going, feeling like i’m on a real life 5 D stimulator ride i could feel my intestines tossing and turning inside me. 5 men speaking in their native Kekchi language ( which by the way it sounds like the quacking of ducks, i was counting the minutes until our arrival. That was not enough. We had to struggle and sink up to our ankles in soil.
Well somehow we made it to church were 6 couples were waiting to wed and about 30 teenagers to receive the their first Holy Communion.
Today in particular i noticed more than ever more in detail the behavior of the Kekchi tribe. They are the Mayan indians of central Guatemala. Kelchi’ means living in darkness. Six couples stood before me. Emotionless they all waited for their turn to go to confession. Mostly they all had children, who waited and played impatiently in front of them making sure that all corners of their bodies were covered in dirt.
I continue to notice all that was happening whilst i wait. One of the brides was given her baby most probably by her elder sister to breastfeed. All this was done in a very robotic way. Not one muscle in her face moved. During the wedding ceremonies both the bride and the grooms keep their eyes fixed to the ground. Not even one smile for the end of celebration photo.
They really and truly live in complete darkness. Lunch was served at a local family and our expedition back home was to be repeated. One has to keep in mind that Fr Anton goes through this ordeal to celebrate mass to these village tribes on a regular basis. 8 hours later we arrive home tired and exhausted.
After the usual Sunday 8am mass at the parish church, a village visit with another 10 kids for the first Holy Communion, this afternoon we witnessed an adult baptism at our parish church Stella Maris. This time with a full immersion in the water. It was yet another emotional experience.
Another week has passed from our last day off. And today is Monday once again . This time a 30 minute boat trip took us to Livingston.
This town is noted mostly for it’s unusual mix of Afro-Caribbean, Maya and Ladino people. In fact in recent decades , Livingston has developed a large tourist industry.
With a heavy heart we bid farewell to you Fr Anton Grech , these awesome people and this amazing place….. its been a wonderful journey…. thank you for all you did ….until we meet again … Muchas Gracias xxxx Guatemala it’s been a pleasure…..