When Pride Meets Ignorance

What a likely pair to find

Pride and ignorance

Led by someone blind

Racism and exclusion

Walking side by side

Finally discovering

A new place to hide

Relatively crazy

And positively insane

Random thoughts embracing

A man without a name

A woman passing briskly

Beside a mother and child

Flipping hair and rolling eyes

And looking at the time

Crystal glass and silver fork

May feed a perfect mouth some pork

But none of it can feed the mind

Hiding behind

Ignorance and pride

A child in the center of a whirlwind of movement, observing, absorbing. I perceived the rejection towards the Mayans and I perceived their deep bitterness. This explosive mix came to a head mostly in the 80’s and it divided the country in a very deep way. A division that, to this day is the driving force of many of the leftist political movements. There has been a peace treaty but no peace to be had. Because forgiveness and acceptance are the only balms that can soothe this sore.

Maya ladies awaiting free food at the Children's Oncology Hospital (UNOP) in Guatemala City
Maya ladies awaiting free food at the Children’s Oncology Hospital (UNOP) in Guatemala City.

In the middle of it all I was able to take advantage of the best education and all the while floating in a sea of brilliant colors, clashing patterns, ritualistic symbols–the Maya textile patterns shaped my imagination.

As I flew back from Alabama to Guatemala for Christmas break one year, I remember distinctly being so shocked by something that I used to be accustomed to. As the plane descended I saw mostly bare roofs—no pretty tile, just square cement terraces with black mold and water marks. And as we drove home from the airport I noticed all of the trash lining the sidewalks and the streets, floating towards the gutters that would soon clog up and cause the streets to flood.

A lot has changed since then. In the city people now frown upon throwing soda cans and Pollo Campero containers out the window, something that used to be a common site when I was a child.

2015 marked an amazing change for Guatemala: the president and vice-president were pressured into resigning under strong accusations of corruption. The amazing thing was that, not only did the pressure come from the people but it came from the people manifesting peacefully, led by none other than their conscience and the unity found on social-media.  There were no riots. There were no injuries, no looting or deaths.

International Business Times, Tuesday November 10th 2015

International Business Times, Tuesday November 10th 2015

The crowds were formed by all types of people, walking together, united for a common cause. Thousands of Ladinos and Mayas conveying the same message, shoulder to shoulder, singing the same national anthem.

Maybe pride and ignorance have parted ways and left Guatemala and its people with humility and knowledge. Knowledge to accept the contrasting differences as variety and to see the common-place resources as wealth.

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