Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Kaqchikel Language and Mayan Families Foundation

My original intention for this post was to show a video of a Mayan speaking Kaqchikel, which is the native language spoken on this side of Lake Atitlan. To me, it sounds very much like a Canadian First Nations language and it is fascinating to hear the local ladies at the market chattering away to each other.

While I was looking for a video spoken in Kaqchikel, I came across a bunch of videos from Mayan Families with interviews of the people they have helped... and are still helping!
I have many lovely friends who work or volunteer at Mayan Families, which is well-known non-profit organization here in Panajachel. Mayan Families offers a wide range of programs to help Guatemalan people of all ages, plus they have a large yard full of dogs that need adopting.

So now this post has three purposes: to let you hear what Kaqchikel sounds like, to help you understand the life of an elderly Mayan woman here in the Western Highlands, and to connect you to a great charity in Guatemala.

I apologize that this woman's story is quite sad. I'm not trying to make you cry or make you feel obligated to rush over to Mayan Families' website and give away all your money... although any donations to them would be greatly appreciated, of course!

There are people struggling all over the world, even in Canada. I remember feeling quite a bit of disdain for homeless beggars in Canada. I would think, "Get a job! There are lots of jobs!" To be quite honest, I don't think my mindset has changed much in that regard. In fact, it might be even more "politically incorrect" now. I see the way some Mayans live, the suffering, the poverty, the hunger, and it is hard to think of going back to Canada and giving a toonie to a young man begging by the Mac's who will probably buy cigarettes and a coffee. Two dollars would buy a lot of tortillas here in Pana!

Anyway, sorry if I appear disdainful or rude or ... hmm, what's the word I'm looking for? Those people who won't let you enjoy your ice cream because children are starving in Africa? Is there a word for that? :)  All I'm saying is try to realize what you have, and even more so realize what others don't have and what they need and if you can help them at all, even if in the tiniest way.

Bert gives away quetzals all the time to people on the street. He has a soft heart! Sometimes I get cross with him because I know we need that money for our own food. But it's hard to tell someone to stop being generous. :)

Me, I try to help when I can, even if it just by buying lower quality avocados from the elderly lady with a cloth on the ground at the market rather than buying the big shiny avocados at the Despensa. I don't have a lot of money either but I know what I have is more than most, and I am grateful.

I hope this video opens your eyes to the Mayan lifestyle, opens your ears to the Kaqchikel language, and opens your heart to people everywhere.

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