Friday, January 25, 2008

Cultural Adaptation...

I had another opportunity to visit another police officer's home this month. The city was the community of Pueblo Nuevo Tiquisate. The officer's name is Mynor Medina. What a rush!

The travel time was just under two hours from Antigua, just this side of Masatenango. While these names may not help just know it is on the Pacific edge of Guatemala in the lower altitudes that are perfect for growing Palm Trees, Corn, Tobacco and Bananas. We were within 20-30 kilometers of the Chiquita Banana fields.

Upon arrival, Sunday night, I was blessed to be a part of a Birthday Party for Mynor's wife - Helena. Also present were Helena's mother, brother in-law and nephew Fransisco. They live with their children Allan and Ashley on her families property, 5 separate homes and a tienda (local store).

Later that evening we took the oppotunity to walk around the community. Mostly agricultural and industrial in many ways is was like walking through rural Iowa in the states. They even had their own version of Dairy Queen. After a walk through their Central Park and a stop for ice cream we returned home for dinner. Which surprisingly was eggs and frijoles. Mynor typically eats one egg and the side dishes. Helena figured that since I was three times the size of her husband, clearly I need that much more food. It was delicious. By the way the next morning breakfast included the Latin American derivitive Frosted Flakes & Coco-Krispies.

Monday was very educational. On the way to visit his brother-in-law's farm, there was a Palm Oil farm. I didn't know this but palm oil comes from a fruit that is lethal to humans if consumed straight off the tree. Once it is processed then it is suitable for human consumption. As far as the eye could see were the palm trees.

His families farm has a rotational crop. At present, they were growing Tobacco. You read that correctly - Tobacco. Putting my philosophical disagreement aside, this was cool. I have been to farms in America and in many ways the process is the same. You find the best soil, put in some seeds, water them, trust God to bless the process and you have a crop. But there was a serenity in the fields - very peaceful.

We stayed for lunch in Helena's sister's house which is also a local tienda. As we had stopped off there for a moment before going to the farm, I had noticed the chicken coop... there were two less chickens when we returned for lunch. I didn't ask. As well there were eggs hatching and Mynor's children couldn't wait to have their own show and tell.

All of these events for me were incredible. The Coca-Cola bottling company, seeing 5 volcanoes from a single vantage point, the moto-ride of 300 kilometers; the lessons in Spanish - very helpful; and the opportunity to share the life of another friend in the police.

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