Another "Wow" moment...

Trip Start Jun 11, 2004
Trip End Jun 20, 2004

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What I did
Refugee camp...

Flag of Guatemala  , Petén,
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Before I go in to my experience at Ixuacut, I'll give a little background on the area. This is information that I found out after our trip, but it made everything make even more sense.

In 1982, there was a military coup d'etat in which General Efrain Rios became president. Soon thereafter, under his command, soldiers swept the highlands looking for guerrillas, killing thousands of Indians and destroying hundreds of their villages in their path. Many surviving Indians fled to Mexico to avoid persecution. In the late 1980s, Marco Vinizio Cerezo was elected president and he urged the return of the refugees to their native Guatemala. As a result, land was allotted to several tribes so that they could live a protected life similar to the one they had before the oppression. Ixuacut is a village on one of those land tracts.

The Ixuacut tribe is a very primitive yet productive farming tribe. They are very gentle people and many of the older tribes-people still only speak their native dialect. The government has set up a small schoolhouse on the edge of their land and encourage the children of the village to go and learn Spanish and several other subjects.

When we arrives we were only able to drive our small bus a short way down the school house path because the road was not paved and due to our (rain dance) rain yesterday, it was MUDDY! Not like mud-spatter muddy, more like put your foot down and sink down a foot muddy! The tribes people, however, walked on top of the mud in their bare feet as if they were light as air.

Austin was wearing sandals and (understandably) decided to stay in the bus, but the rest of us got down and met with the people. The children were so shy and hardly smiled, but were very curious about us. Two little girls, sisters, were intrigued by me and I tried to get them to talk to me using very basic Spanish, but they just ducked their heads down. I asked if I could take their picture and they nodded yes, but didn't smile. We sang for the little curious group of people that gathered at the schoolhouse and then returned to El Rancho to clean up.

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