Marilyn Geary

Journeys Illuminating the Old Ways

This morning we were privileged to observe a family reunion. Ellie, a foster daughter of Patty, one of our group members, was raised in the U.S. from a young age. This morning she was reunited with her biological mother and siblings. It was a joyous moment for the entire family. So beautiful!

Another emotional moment came when Emma, daughter of a painter and a student in international relations, received a laptop computer from Vivien, our group leader. Here, posing with my friend Georgia, is Emma, still overcome with gratitude.


After breakfast, Georgia and I headed off to La Fuentes, where Vivien said we could find older textiles. And, oh yes, we surely did. The entire enormous patio of the colonial building was carpeted with huipiles and other gorgeous textiles.


Seven-year-old Juana props on the huipiles to work on her coloring book. She helps her mother Marta and grandmother Juanita sell textiles in the patio.
Right off the patio is the chocolate museum, which, of course, we had to explore. We sampled yummy dark chocolate, 72% cacao, along with milk chocolate and cocoa husks. I’ll return to stock up on nibbles and gifts.
Alejandro here is peeling ginger, which he’ll boil with sugar to make candied ginger. He speaks excellent English. The chocolate company was started by an American with French partners and has branches throughout Central and South America.

After a refreshing cup of cocoa which we mixed ourselves from chocolate paste and water, we headed for the big arch. Many shops in the vicinity sell handicrafts.

We found one shop, Nim Pot, where huipiles labeled from every region in Guatemala hang from the walls.


Here Georgia and I parted ways, as I headed back to the hotel to take a photography workshop. On the away back, I came across young people making colorful carpets of sawdust in front of the cathedral.


They use molds to help keep the colors in place and

spread the brilliant colors evenly over the large areas of design.
It was great to see so many young people working so intently together on a creative project.
At the hotel I met Rudy Giron, a photographer who generously shares his knowledge in photography walking tours. Thomas, one of the group members, had raved about his experience with Rudy, so I quickly signed up. He was not exaggerating.
Rudy was born in Guatemala but raised in L.A. He got me to understand f-stops and apertures in a way I hope will stick.

We took photos and compared results. Rudy took this photo also, but his was vertical and much better, as the verticality emphasized the height of the cathedral.

Rudy encouraged me to be fearless, to take first and then ask, so I took this one…
And this one….

and this one to add to my collection of foot photos from around the world. The Mayan women seem to take off their shoes whenever possible. I felt like doing the same at the end of the day.


Drinks on the terrace at La Serena gave us a chance to be with the entire group of fifteen for the first time and a magnificent view of the town.

Tomorrow we’re off to the textile museum in Guatemala City.



















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