In Guatemala, life is surprising, shocking, funny, tragic, uninhibited.
Health and safety and ethics.
Some things that the developed world would question or condemn are celebrated, or accepted there. And vice versa. Every day allows me to question my morals and my values in a way I never have to at home. Teenage pregnancy – condemned in the UK, celebrated in El Paredon. Turtle egg eating – same. Drinking alcohol – condemned in Guatemala, celebrated in the UK. Families living apart – same.
Before I left to come home for a month, the circus came to town. A great night out for only Q10 (80p) I shot a video below of a clown with his son. Is this funny and entertaining, even amazing? Is it abusive? Is the kid happy? Seeing the family together wandering around town, they are together, loving and just trying to make ends meet like every other Guatemalan.
Now I am home, sitting safely by the fire in my parents house in Scotland, rain drizzling down the window pane, listening to the grandfather clock tick and looking at recipes with my mum.
Ah what a different life. I am trying to work out which life is the better one for me.
3 days home, I am still searching for the bin to put the toilet paper in, still revelling in a hot shower without sand or frogs, savouring mouthfuls of warm brown bread, fruit cake, cheese, appreciating being cared for, loved and the humour and warmth of my family.
But I already miss those incredible small people running out of their homes calling my name, big open hugs, a big sense of home created by being part of a community, the everyday adventures in a life that values living, not just working.
At the doctors today, she told me the brutal facts about the dangers of contracting dengue again. Five tubes of blood were taken from my hiding vein, to be sent to some tropical medicine clinic ‘down south’ when I will be given serious advice from a Western expert about living in a dengue area again.
So let’s just wait and see.