Thread by thread, line upon line somehow turn into a work of art. Strands of color slowly come together under skillful fingers until the tapestry is complete.
Back-strap weaving – who can help but admire the craft and the woman sitting with her loom hanging from the post and connected to the strap around her waist? This is a skill passed down from generations, and it is a hallmark of Guatemala’s highlands.
Along with captivating textiles of various colors, in the mountains of Guatemala you may also discover a vibrant selection of languages. Many of the indigenous people speak a Mayan dialect, and, though they often speak Spanish as well, their indigenous words are woven in just like the hues on their looms. Of course, one can appreciate the beauty of the spoken words without understanding just as one can admire the pattern of a corte (woven fabric made into a traditional wrap-around skirt) without much knowledge of the art behind it. However, just as knowing the hours and skills that went into creating the corte adds depth to the admiration so understanding of the words deepens the appreciation of their beauty. That is one of the reasons we created Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. May all who read it grow in their value of both these words and, most importantly, the people who weave them every day.
With our 50th post, we’re sharing three of our favorite things about Guatemala.
The natural beauty. Even though the country is only about the size of the state of Tennessee, its terrain is varied and breathtaking. Mountains, waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes, rain forests, desert-like plains – Guatemala claims them all. Known as the “Land of the Eternal Spring”, you can imagine the rainbow of flowers that grow here. Budding bougainvillea vines and lush hibiscus blooms are only the beginning. If you ever have a chance to visit, make sure to stay by the volcano-bordered Lake Atitlán, a place considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
The colorful culture. One can hardly help smiling when greeted by the bright colors that are a hallmark of Guatemalan artistry. Intricately woven textiles still fill many shop stalls and bring cheer to many homes. If you’re at all familiar with the patterns, you can usually tell when someone else has done some Guatemalan shopping. Those who love Guatemala enjoy being able to spot each other this way!
The people. Yes, Guatemala has gorgeous scenery and colorful craftsmanship, but her greatest treasure is her people. With their warm smiles, gracious ways, resourcefulness and general willingness to work hard, they can win visitors’ hearts easily and can leave a lasting impact on visitors’ lives. These are the people whom the team behind Understanding the Guatemalan Patient hopes to serve and bless whether they are living in their vibrant homeland or making a home in a new land.
What about you? Have you been to Guatemala? If so, what did you love? If not, would you like to go and what would you most like to do? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below!