I had to go to the city to renew my passport, and I was reminded again of the difference in the two areas. As we flew into the city, we passed over towns. In the rural areas there is more adobe. More space between houses. More green. More trees. And as we approached the city, all that you can see is the tin of the roofs and concrete. Oh how these areas are so different. There is such a contrast between the city and the rural area – in every aspect (economically, educationally, security, space, priorities). There is no green space, no fresh air, no place that is quiet or peaceful or safe. The stores all have bars over them. There are guards with guns protecting every store. The people that are out are always aware of their surroundings and rushing from one place to the next. And they appear to be afraid. Everywhere you go it is dirty, it is covered with concrete and rusted tin and it smells of diesel.
As we drove the streets I was so thankful that I did not have to live in this environment daily. We drove past shoeshine boys and I wondered if they were runaways or orphans that took to the streets in hopes of a better life. When cars stopped at intersections, there were different entertainers that walked past the cars in hopes of a handout, playing music or performing. I saw one mom who had a baby strapped to her back. She would bend at the waste to make a table and her about 7 year old daughter would stand on her back and juggle. There were homeless men and women wandering the streets with crutches, without shoes, collecting anything they could find that they thought useful. And my heart screamed. Where ever you go, in any big city you will see this. It is not just found here in Guatemala.
I am sure that there are families poorer that what I saw yesterday living in the rural area. There are families that come to us in need of food or resources. But the lifestyle is so different. I am thankful for the safety and security that surrounds us. I am thankful for the greenness and freshness that invades the rural highlands. I am thankful to inhale dust instead of diesel smells. I am thankful to be able to sleep at night to the sound of crickets and rain instead of trucks and horns and music. I am thankful to be called to work here and not in the city….
The mountains of the highland.
The valley in which I live.
The town of Canilla
The mountains during the dry season.