I don’t really know where to start with this note back home. This experience has truly been unreal. I have been trying to fully grasp this experience, but it is a slow process. This region is absolutely beautiful, but the pollution and the living situations is sometimes enough to turn your stomach. Up until yesterday, I have felt like I have only been brushing the surface of something that is much deeper. As others have written, last night we went to the village of Palacal. The first glimpse of the people and the church was absolutely breathtaking. Words really cannot describe how I felt, but I think that it was the first of many things that will help me to go deeper in this experience and this culture.
The people were welcoming and warm and we had done nothing for them. The older men of the village were the first to greet us. The came and hugged us and shook our hands. The children were too shy at first, but quickly warmed up enough to take pictures with us. I am still processing this experience. The image of two smiling little girls with infections in their eyes and mouth will stay with me for a long time.
During mass, both in Santo Thomas and in Palacal, I have been touched by the similarities with home. I cannot understand either Spanish or Quiche, so I find myself watching the people. In Santo Thomas a young boy and his mother sat in front of me. He was starring at us from under his mothers arm and she was struggling to get him to pay attention. This bears a striking resemblance to kids at home. In Palacal mothers were trying to pay attention while dealing with several small children. These simple similarities help me to realize that they are no different than we are. Even though we may have more we are equal and we all or children of God.
So hello to everyone at home, thank you for your support in this experience and thank you for your prayers!