After not being able to sleep for the past day I found myself energetic and ready to keep moving; I was eager to get to Guatemala. At arrival, a peer asked me how I felt being in Guate, I didn’t know what to answer, but honestly I had an array of emotions. My emotions varied from nervousness to excitement and happiness to nostalgia. I left my family and only saw them for two weeks, but I’m also happy, happy to delve into a culture, immerse myself in a beautiful culture; moreover, critically take a stand in a culture that is not new to me as it is my own culture. As a son of a Guatemalan man Guatemala has been a part of me before I could walk.
As the plane began to descend into Guatemala City I felt butterflies but that also might’ve been from the weird turns the pilot was taking. Any who when we landed I looked around I saw a country to which I had been before but my lenses are different ones now. Gabe had given us an article in which I found a section where it said one had to be a critical citizen. And as I stood up in the plane I saw the shanti homes and maybe a block after the airport; I couldn’t help but to think how many people had been displaced for this airport. And while I was being a critical citizen what did that do? It didn’t make things better for people who like some of my family had been displaced, persecuted and threatened.
As the day progressed we met Jenny, Jhonathan and Elena. At first I was hesitant to open up I guess it’s a personal defense mechanism to hold certain things to myself. But as they began to talk and share some experiences I felt I could relate to some of their ideologies. It made me feel more comfortable I started to see some of the things I recognized and I felt a nice feeling, a warm feeling. As we snacked and ate dinner at a beautiful Café we began to talk about several different points. Identity and oppression were overarching themes in our workshop and it was quite interesting to discuss academia in a way were we focused it in the environment and in the personal. Unlike in school we discussed not only ideas but actions and the effects it has to us as individuals.
Not only was I afraid and almost regretting coming to Guate I felt distant to the place where some of my origins came from. Thanks to Jhonathan, Jenny, Elena and Gabe and my peers of course I am excited to continue learning not only about the culture and the environment but also of myself and of growing as an individual and bringing back my knowledge to campus.