Guatemala Blog: Presence

June 4, 2022

Blog Day 4: 

As I sit here in the deep backcountry of the Guatemalan interior I find myself struggling. I’m navigating through waves of emotions that rarely seek to express themselves concurrently throughout my day to day life. Guilt, shame, sadness, hope, inspiration, crippling irony are just a few that come to the forefront this morning - and it’s not even 10:00am.

I’m not being very present in this mornings meeting, and sneak away for a moment by myself. I’ve  begun describing these breaks as a form of “emotional respite”, a kinder, more protective description of being an emotional wreck while present in ones surroundings. This morning has been heavy, but so too have the previous three and I can’t help but think the subsequent days to follow.

I’m in the near darkness of Miguel’s home. The only light available is that of the sun shining through a battered tin expansion acting as a roof, siding, and door. He and his family are in the garden sharing their story to the rest of our team. Their voice, in their native Ixil language, is filled with faith, hope, and welcoming kindness. Myself, I’m smeagoled into the corner holding back tears and trying to find a way to capture this moment so it sticks with long after I’m gone from this place.

I sit down to rest my legs, landing upon a hardened dry mound of mud that has been used as a seat, pillow, serving table, and workbench many times over I’m sure. Pulling out my phone I am reminded of those I love back home, who’s smiles light up my iPhone background and wallpaper respectively. I fumble along to find the camera app and take photographs and narrative videos that I hope might accurately capture my whereabouts - both geographically and emotionally.

I’ve never been one with words. Photographs + puns have always been my love language, but today a picture is not worth 1000 words. At this point, I don’t even know if words are. But today is a feeling, a darkness, a rawness that takes you along a perplexing journey of emotion. I find myself making notes, writing in ways I never have before. I hope they will make for an introspective, memorable take on the experience of seeing such extreme poverty. Or, at the very least, a fire Instagram post that might inspire others to take a journey on outside of our own realities.

That's all I have in me for now.