It has been real y'all, hope you enjoyed following along.
04.04.2019 - 07.04.2019
Mynor and I are a team now. We do everything together, including activities on the weekends.
This week, my ability to sit in Spanish class four hours a day was at a second-time low, so we made lots of excursions in and out of town.
On Thursday, we went to San Marcus, Mynor's hometown, by bus. The bus was intensely crowded, so much so that even Mynor thought it was unacceptable and we left the bus 20 minutes early in San Pedro. San Marcus and San Pedro are neighboring cities, San Pedro is said to be more commercial and San Marcus centers around education.
After getting off the bus, we stepped into what seemed to be a bakery, but in the back there was lunch being served. We sat ourselves at a long table. The local restaurants always serve a meat, so I asked for whatever was vegetarian, and they brought out boiled veggies and rice with salsa. In front of us was the San Pedro team of soccer players. They were all very nice. Mynor informed me that the players were no longer considered professional level because the team did not perform well. They were all incredibly attractive, as soccer players tend to be.
We walked the span of space between San Marcus and San Pedro, stopping into a beautiful plant store and chatting up the young boy who grew the plants. We walked 4-5 miles to the city center, where Mynor pointed out the military school. The military school is a school that takes young men in high school, and preps them for the military. There is not regular high school or university for those in the military, they are required to do the school. Mynor told me to be careful about what we said and did around the school. I walked up to a young guard and asked if I could take a picture of the recruits doing drills in front of the school. They replied with a curt no.
We continued walking until we reached a police building with guards out front. Mynor introduced me to his cousin, a military police officer. We chatted a bit and then continued on. We went to the cemetery, where Mynor recounted stories of people he knew. There was a photo of a beautiful woman who Mynor said was kidnapped years ago. Her husband was a very rich man. The kidnappers requested ransom, and when the husband gave the ransom, the kidnappers returned the woman dead.
From the cemetery we walked another three miles to the public hospital. The people of San Marcus were so kind, and when we arrived and asked, "I am a doctor from the United States, can I tour the hospital," they provided a security guard to take us around. As a huge surprise to me, when we walked into the emergency room, the guard opened all the curtains to every patient room. I felt that I couldn't say not to, because we had asked for a tour and I wasn't sure of the culture in hospitals. We also got invited into the maternity ward, which was us standing in the middle of a large room with 20 people in labor. When we got out of the hospital, I asked Mynor, "is that normal to do?" Mynor replied, "absolutely not." Those poor patients! But also, I learned a lot about what patients experience when in the hospital here. The SM hospital actually did have quite a bit of resources available for patients, which from what I have been told, is quite different from the regular public hospital in Guatemala.
We stopped at a restaurant to eat a quick snack before boarding our bus home. The bus was not as packed luckily, so we comfortably rode home. The first rain of the season happened while we made our way down through the green hills. It poured. We made our way home wading through the streets. I wasn't expecting the rain, so I still had my flipflops on, and in my OCD brain all I could think of was all the urine and feces that probably touched them while we stepped through the pools of whatever. It was intensely beautiful despite this and the city the next day was free of smog and dust.
The next day was the 5th Friday of Cuaresma (lint). The country is gearing up for Semana Santa (Easter) on the following Sunday. Mynor and I attended the church procession and parade. We blessed ourselves with holy water. We ate wonderful street food.
This will be my last post for this trip. It has been a long, beautiful, sometimes challenging journey. I still have the same love for Guatemala as when I started. I definitely speak more Spanish. I definitely look at the world differently. That will be another story for another day. Thank you for traveling along with me. Blessings and Love - Drea