So believe it or not, I somehow managed to sleep through a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck San Pablo around 1:30 in the morning. I don't really recall much but I do remember feeling like someone was trying to shake me awake. I also vaguely remember hearing the people in our house yelling "vamos, vamos, vamos!" but other than that I totally thought that it was a dream. When I woke up in the morning, I remember thinking "wait, did an earthquake really happen last night? No way." But when I checked my phone, everyone was freaking out about the earthquake that *actually* happened last night. Apparently, Katie and Mitchka went downstairs with the rest of the family once it hit and Nidia was asking them where I was and they said I was sleeping. Once we got to the bus, Dory also somehow managed to sleep through it as well, and John seemed particularly shaken because he's never experienced anything like that.
Anyways, we made the drive over to Chui-Mucubal to see how traditional Guatemalan women's dresses are woven. First, layer after layer of string is placed on top of each other in order to determine the vertical pattern of the design. It can take a couple of days just to get this first part of the design done, but then it'll take another 7-10 days to incorporate the horizontal threads and finalize the horizontal design. We watched as the wife of our bus driver wove thread after thread through a design that she was working on. I was positioned at the top of the design with my camera and I must have taken nearly 30 shots of her before I got the one that I was looking for.
After we watched how the horizontal design is determined, the girls in our group started trying on the garments that they have produced and the women from the village looked very happy to have the girls try on their work. Once the girls finished trying on everything, we said thank you to everyone and then we were on our way to our next stop. But first, I had to snag some photos of the beautiful scenery in the surrounding area.
Our next stop was very brief, and I actually didn't know what the purpose of the stop was until I got off the bus and turned the corner to see this beautiful church.
The vibrance of the yellow stood out so strongly because of the overcast day. The designs of the angels on the church were relatively simple but the contrast of the reds and blues amongst the yellow really makes them pop out. After stopping for 15 minutes or so, we got back on the bus for our last stop of the day. We drove over to this admittedly sketchy looking place to see how people pay their respects to San Simon. It wasn't exactly a traditional place of worship, and it was more of a combination of Mayan and Catholic traditions. But the overall vibe of the place was very unsettling and creepy. The first room that we entered was darkly candle-lit and there was a mannequin of San Simon that people could give tributes to. Upon entering, I felt a little uncomfortable to be there to be honest. But before leaving, we all went upstairs to see the areas of tribute up there. There was an area that was swarming with bees and a burnt looking bust of San Simon and there was also a fire that had firecrackers in them that would occasionally go off and scare the hell out of us. After seeing what was upstairs, we were pretty quick to leave shortly after that.
While the experience was a little uncomfortable, I think that it was still worth it to see a different aspect to the lives of the Guatemalan people. It also helped me understand another point of view that doesn't exactly align with my beliefs or practices. Today has been pretty tiring but it was really cool getting to see so many different things in one day! -Scott