Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Culure & History

My Spanish class consists of conversation for about 3 hours. My teacher is Mayan & has lived in the U.S., so I get a unique perspective. Some things he´s shared & I´ve gotten from our film nights.

  • San Pedro is almost totally indigenous. The largest group is Tzutujil, pronounced zooteheel. Accent on the heel. The people treat you very well, always a buenos dias, buenas trades etc., a ready sense of humor and warmth. They work very hard. My host, Juan, is a teacher. No on vacation. so he & his 18 year old son go to the mountains several times a week to pick coffee. When not doing that he assists his wife, Rosalia, in baking and decorating the large postres (cakes) they sell.
  • Zack is the two year nieto (grandson) of the school director, Marta. He is very cute & readily relates to the students. The school property is a narrow strip of land that goes from the street to the lake, about a football field + a little more in length. The last 1/3 has small cabanas for individual classes. Yesterday as Zack was going to the beach with his abuela (grandmother) he said good bye to each student cabana by cabana. Right now he is sitting in this room avidly watching a cartoon. Well for a bit, then he was off to play, but not before coming back to say hola!
  • Los Perros, the dogs A travel blog on San Pedro commented on the dogs & concern about rabies. So I wondered if I should get the shot in advance. (Recommended for anyone who is going to be in country for several months.) Good thing I didn´t! There are lots of dogs, but they just stand & watch your progress as you walk by.
  • Marriage The indigenous, at least Tzutujil, tradition is that the young man takes his soon to be bride into his house for the night. He is then married. The next morning the son´s father takes a plate of bread to the girl´s father to say, " I am sorry my son stole your daughter." Then together they plan the boda, wedding!
  • Security in San Pedro I have had the pleasure to go to school &/or visit about 15 places in Central America & Mexico. San Pedro is by far the safest. Why? The locals say it´s because of religion. Great emphasis is placed on not doing harm to people in both the Evangelical & Catholic Churches.
  • Religion is very big here. All through the village, there are sayings neatly painted on the walls from the Bible as well as common wisdom seen in many countires. The older Mayan religion has blended with Christianity.

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.