Chiapas Day 07—Chamula, Candles, and Bare Feet

Happy Father鈥檚 Day!聽 To all the fathers who are reading along with us, we celebrated you today.聽 Some of us were able to make a phone call or send an email, but many of us were not able to do so.聽 Instead, we took a moment to think of all of you—the wonderful fathers who have loved us, helped us, and encouraged us.聽 We thank you and celebrate you for making a difference in our lives.

We were able to have a late start today, which for me meant sleeping in and catching up on some rest.聽 Then we all walked to a street where buses were parked for hire, and we again avoided the Clowns in a Bus routine by taking two buses to Chamula.

Chamula鈥檚 Marketplace

It was a genuine privilege to even be allowed into Chamula.聽 Though it is only a short drive outside San Cristobal, for many years it was closed to visitors.聽 It was on the last UTS global justice trip to Chiapas two years ago that one of our groups was allowed to enter for the first time.聽 We were invited to come to the Catholic church in Chamula by Father Pedro.聽 Even with the invitation, though, we had to stop by a government building to purchase passes that would allow us into the church.聽 We were advised to not take any pictures out of respect.聽 Continue reading

Preparing for the Trip

When I first signed up to go to Chiapas, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into.聽 As the date for our departure slips ever closer, I review my preparations and realize just how much I鈥檝e learned about this far-away place that is going to become home for myself and my traveling companions over the next couple of weeks. 聽While our trip will bring to life the people we’ve (so far) only read about in books, I pause here to talk a little bit about the physical place of Chiapas.

Climate

For a while this year, it was unseasonably hot for a Minnesota spring.聽 Temperatures soared into the 90s, and it seemed unthinkable that the outdoor pools weren鈥檛 open yet because Memorial Day hadn鈥檛 arrived.聽 I found myself wondering聽uncomfortably what it was going to be like a month later in June when our group was hiking around in southern Mexico.聽 I had Dali-esque visions of all of us melting into limp puddles, unable to withstand the terrible heat: a bunch of silly gringos, thinking it was a good idea to go tromp around a mere 15 degrees north of the equator over the summer solstice.

Needless to say, I was surprised (and relieved) when Professor Chris Smith and fellow trip leader Don Christiansen explained that Chiapas has a very different climate from what I was expecting. Continue reading