Sensory details give rise to wisdom as space leads to insight. I am making more and more connections between now and past travel experiences. Not in words but in moments of déjà vu. My mind finds rest. An opportunity to ask questions about the self and the other. What is necessary action? What do we make of it? What we value? What they value? How do we interpret this value? Where has our influence come from? Are we here for ourselves or are we here for them? Intruders or supporters? We act to the best of our abilities. We act on what we know, what we believe, and what we search for.

"Learning is difficult, but you do it and you learn." - Rigoberta Menchú

I am learning with experience and reflection. Learning has been difficult because there is so much more to learn. Between the people and the land, I am finding myself once again, a drift the infinite, steered by a current. I believe the deeper we go, the stronger our roots grow, and the further I stretch myself, the more I overcome the need to rely on the comforts of home. I am finding myself a gaze into the abyss, the limitless and the possible, stumbling upon what is known only through separation from home. The details are beyond reason, known only to my senses. They remind me of myself once before. How will we capture this on film? I am in search of a means to share, a balance between research and motion, awaiting as stirred.

"We have to erase the barriers" - Rigoberta Menchú

The whistling boy, he watches me from the bridge, making calls as I tend to the fire, cooking rice and beans. I stop and stare. He continues his. I go back to work. A moments pass. His call now comes from the top of the path. He sits there starring back in the opening, calling once again. I whistle back. Again, he disappears. Back to work, I now chop some wood. I build the fire, giving it my air. The whistle is back, the boy now standing there, on a ledge behind, crouched in his stare. He speaks to me in Spanish, not his native tongue, but I still don´t understand. I attempt to tell him I am a student, learning, but he only stares. I whistle. He whistles and laughs, we share wind without words. He watches for awhile, as I tend to the fire once more. He whistles one last time. I look up. He is waving. I say 'adios' and he's gone. I open my notebook, his whistle echoing as I stare.

Don Augustine is the father of the family letting us rent a roof on their land. He has many children who, almost every night, have gathered around our home listening and watching four foreigners attempt to cook over an open fire. They have never once had outsiders stay in their village, let alone work in their fields. They are intrigued in our presence as we are in theirs. One of the older sons only speaks Cakchiquel, as Sean and I only speak English. Between us we watch Chris, Zach, and Don Augustine speak Spanish as a medium, crossing barriers, connecting our two cultures through words. I find myself content with laughter and good company, but there remains a growing desire to share words. I am left wondering if they share this desire, and how mediums can change our two worlds.

"You must always know how to give." - Rigoberta Menchú

We are unsure of how to go about accepting gifts, as our research can be easily influenced by the necessities we find ourselves without. We have been very conscious about how we give back, assuring that we are not takers, but givers as well as receivers. This process has only brought us closer. Two days ago we gave one of Don Augustine´s sons a box of crayons from home, as thanks for his assistance in our process of establishment. To see his reaction tugged on all our hearts. Since, we have shared more words, stories, experiences, and labor. Our relationships are only growing.

"He who has no children thinks only of himself" - Rigoberta Menchú

A man from the streets asks the white kids for money. A lonely farmer asks the white kids for free labor. He does his work alone. He has no wife, no children. He has removed himself from the culture, the community, and can receive no loans. Loans are only given to women; women in this culture are more respected and trusted than the men; they decide how the money is spent in the household and what needs to be bought in town, going themselves or instructing others what to buy. Those lonely men who beg run low on strength. They lack the humble spirit found in those who stand on the same soil. They fail to listen to the wisdom of their ancestors. They know only how to take and not to give. We are told these men have little support from others because they are known to spend the little they have on booze and pleasure. They take what they can, what might be free if they beg. What will he learn if we give him what he wants? By not giving, are we giving him more?

"That night he spent howling like a coyote while he slept as a person. To become animal, without ceasing to be a person. Animal and person coexist in them through the will of their progenitors at birth." - Men of Maize

I am falling past, words in red letters, built like statements, rise and pass as I fall further into the abyss, but I cannot read them; they have no meaning, only brief moments of presence, like many of my dreams, exploring the unknown, the sub-conscious, now being presented more frequently with a mind that seeks answers to the questions brought out in the light of day, wishing I could capture them on film, watch my dreams over, but that will only detract from their mysterious value, and I am left wishing I could sense their soft whisper. 
I know those who appear in my dreams, who I don´t hear or see from where I stand. I feel momentarily connected through an indescribable realm. I can feel the presence of their thoughts and mine, entwined, and tied by strings of the dreams that pass through the mind. In an instant, I feel connected to those I miss and I see those who miss me. The moment passes, and I am alone, for they are not here but there within a memory.

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z
6/22/2010 18:11:53

Perhaps, the language of the other is purely other: cannot be spoken to, but only heard. The language of the tongue leaves a trace, but the language of the hand leaves an impact.

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Meg Groom
6/23/2010 01:51:07

I heard Rigoberta Menchu speak at LMU last year- it was amazing. I wish you could have been there for it. I'm inspired to read her books now.

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bonnie christoffersen
6/23/2010 14:46:21

With every bite of food we take, or deny ourselves, we are thinking of you. In return, you are giving us such evocative food for thought... all our love...mom, dad, T

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5/10/2012 22:42:30

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