MARTES: Tuesday has always been one of my favorite days of the week. This morning, the Choltun, Mayan birthday book was on the table. There are 20 different nawals/spirit animals and they are specific to the year that you were born. I was pleased to find out that Lauren and I are both KEJ. (The Deer. Symbol of the Bearers of the four directions. The four pillars of the Sky and the Earth. This day compels us to carry out good actions.) Everything that I had read about nawals and the people they belong to have been pretty spot-on! 

This morning was extra rainy. I immediately wished that I had owned hiking boots, which is definitely going to be on my list for the Fall. (Pro-tip: If you ever have wet sneaks, stuffing newspaper inside of the shoe will seriously zap the moisture.) We were heading to Espujuma to attend a women's circle. This is a community of Mam women and the students were going to demonstrate their midwife-patient relationship from prenatal to postnatal. The women's circle started off with a few games, including a theatrical version of the game telephone called 'Chicho'. It was a great way to break the ice and connect with laughter since there were so many different languages being spoken. 

In this particular dramatization, the woman thought she might be pregnant and went to find the midwife. She missed her period and was feeling dizzy. It was at this moment that it dawned on me, they can't just run up to Walgreens and buy a generic brand pregnancy test. If it wasn't for my Eve by Glow app, I would never know if I missed a period. It was determined that she was 5 months pregnant by measuring her stomach and doing a little bit of math. She would visit the midwife once a month until her 9th month of pregnancy, where appointments would go to every week. If medical assistance is needed, they patients will go to the hospital. Mothers generally rest for 2-3 weeks before they resume back to daily life. 

A few of our VCU Nursing students explained the idea of The Golden Hour, which is an undisturbed hour right after birth where mother and baby engage in skin to skin contact and rest. There are numerous benefits to this simple hour, promotes mother-baby attachment, boosts immunity, and improves breastfeeding rates. The midwives had never heard of this but were intrigued by the idea! We also discussed postpartum depression. It is not a term they are familiar with but they definitely acknowledged the body/hormone/psychological changes that happen after having a baby. 

It was still raining like crazy when we left, I will continue to be impressed by Margarito's incredible skills of driving on a mountain through fog and rain. After lunch, we had a meeting with advocates from CARE, the largest humanitarian organization that works todays ending global poverty. In Guatemala, their focus is on young women ages 13-17, who are at high risk of becoming domestic servants within their country. It is certainly a form of labor trafficking and CARE hopes to give these young women access to resources that will encourage them to grow their skills beyond housekeeping.


Within the Wach Lal House, there is a fair trade textile workshop. It is staffed by indigenous artisanal weavers, who specialize in back-strap and pedal loom weaving, as well as embroidery. Paula gave us a weaving demonstration and showed us a traditional Mayan blouse called huiipil. Many of the embroideries are specific to the indigenous group and community that the wearer identifies with. If a weaver wanted to make a huipil, it might take her about 30 days, if she was working on it for 8 hours each day! There is an AlterNatives Boutique connected to the house, where we could purchase items that were being made in the workshop! Of course, I wanted to spend all of my money there because I knew the profit was going directly to the maker! I had my eye on a bag all week and on the day that I went shopping, I bought a totally different bag at the last minute. I brought back so many souvenirs, including a new leash and collar for my sweet perrita. Check out Pixan House on Facebook, Insta, & Twitter

Luscious Lupe mentioned that we might want to have a cerveza with our meal this evening. My housemates and I went on a trek to the supermercado. We left out of a different door and I totally got us lost. We asked for directions on the street and ended up going to the fancy La Torre. I have been enjoying Gallo Cerveza and was really not trying to buy anything that I could get back home. Then I bought pads and chocolate because I am so typical. 

We ended this very educational day with tacos, beers, and a game of Never Have I ever in the room with the bunk beds. I went to bed 'late' this night and it was probably 10pm. 

Check out my complete Guatemala album on Flickr!

Luscious JudyComment