on the road

To be able to go through with my project here in Guatemala I have to travel some. I guess I will make some longer tours to the capital to get some specific information or meet people who work there. I will probably also do a few trips to the more touristic places in this beautiful country to get a bit of change and vacation. But the kind of trips I will have to do the most is between the small city of Cobán where I live and the market town of Tactic where I will conduct the main part of my study.

I've already been there three times this week and it's always the same feeling of reality that hits me when I get on the 'micro' (those smaller busses, normally with seats for about twelve persons) outside the big shopping mall. The radio is playing bachata, cumbia or reggaeton and sometimes a former american song, now with spanish lyrics. First time I went to Tactic this week we were twentyfour persons in the buss, plus the driver and some chicken in a fabric bag. The trip takes about forty minutes and I was half sitting, half standing in the front, holding on to the roof as good as I could so that I wouldn't cruch the small girl sitting next to me. The road is full of bends and surrounded by a beautiful green landscape with high hills and steep slopes. "Sometimes one is lucky" I think for my self when our driver makes a crazy overtaking just before a sharp bend. We pass the 24-hours hotels where the young (and older) lovers meet to keep away from their family (sometimes from mum and dad, sometimes from whife and children). We pass the men walking on the side of the road with their big piles of wood on their back. One man could afford a bike on which he now transports all the wood, trying to bike at the same time. We pass the women in their beautiful traditional skirts and huipiles (google it!), carrying children on their backs and big baskets on their heads. The young man who's been hanging out through the window shouting out his "tactictactictactiiiiiic" everytime we pass people on the road, trying to get even more people on the allready overcrowded bus, now turns to us and ask for 'el pasaje', the payment. He charges everyone, except from the poor chickens in the bag, 6 Quetzales which is about 2/3 of a US Dollar.

But it doesn't matter much that we all squeeze in, almost sitting in each others laps, in the small bus. Everyone is in the same situation and almost everyone has a friendly smile in their face showing that "I'm not dangerous, you can sit even closer if you want to". I think I will never stop being amazed about the friendliness and nice smiles I meet here. And the helpfulness and will to share. Even if there are many bad things happening in this country, even if the people here have been put through a lot of suffering the latest decades (the about thirty year long civil war ended 1996, and after that came the drugs...) most of the people still meet you, but also each other, with a lot of friendliness and respect.

Postat av: Anonym

Hej Jonna,

Det var ett nöje att läsa din blogg. Fint skrivstil, måste jag säga. Det du gör är verkligen något viktigt och stort, känns det som. Lycka till med arbetet!

På grund av alla mina resor, jag har inte läst din glogg före nu men jag ska försöka följa händelserna i Guatemala mer noggrant i framtiden :))

Jag kan bara tänka mig allt bra du kommer att uppleva.

Stor kram från Serbien

Nikola :)))

2009-03-22 @ 13:27:28
Postat av: Felix

Fascinating, Jonna. Keep the stories coming.

2009-03-23 @ 07:35:57
URL: http://dingobearfoto.blogspot.com
Postat av: Leo

Wow.. so interesting to read all thoses stories and facts about Guate that changed in such a short period of time... the fact that you are a tall girl.. maybe I will be a tall guy too, well not so much =)

You are doing a great job, just take care of yourself, ok? Don't get in trouble, be safe!

2009-03-23 @ 15:24:47

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