Meeting Deaf Mayans

San Cristobal Travel Blog

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Deaf Mayan runs his own clothing business at his own home.
I woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains of Totonicapan. We left the house once again for the day’s assignments, and met a Deaf Mayan, Jom, in Xetul, San Cristobal. He welcomed me as if I was an old friend of his. We took to communicating quickly through gesturing, but Marco aided us with the local sign language and ASL. Jom is well known in the area for making the best clothing. He even sells his work to different states in Guatemala and Mexico! He has three machines (tejido e hilado) to help him with the work, and he showed me how to make a sheet of corte (which goes to become a Mayan dress). I couldn’t believe my own eyes as to how he used each thread to make beautiful designs, such as birds, eyes, suns, and other imagery.

He works so hard every day, doing about 12 to 14 hours of work a day, and then brings his material on Fridays and Saturdays to different suppliers and customers.
Beautiful Deaf Mayan Family
Jom had me put on one of his colorful cortes. It was for women only, but he just wanted me to experience what it’s like wearing a corte. Meeting his wife was an exciting moment because I had my mind opened to other cultures. She had walked to the small market by her home and surprised my crew and me with some bottled waters and crackers that they couldn’t even afford. It was a moment of great hospitality! I purchased some sheets from them, to help recognize their hard work. After leaving their home, I wondered why Jom wasn’t wearing any real Mayan clothes. He said that other people could kill him, even other male Mayans, due to their jealousy about other successful Mayans doing their craft. It left me concerned about their valuable culture, and how it would hold up in the future.
Surprise to see Taco Bell here? winks

Once again, we drove through Quetzaltenango, seeing many new buildings mixed in with old markets. I saw many Mayans selling their wares along with common vendors, and it was a fascinating sight. We saw a new mall, and decided to stop by for some food, at Taco Bell. It was just for fun because Taco Bell’s menu is definitely not native to Guatemala. It was a fun lunch! The mall had everything that American-style malls have, and it was a good thing to see. I hope that the new generation of Guatemalans and their government will help preserve the Mayan race and their culture because considering the world as it is now, we can’t afford to lose more chapters in the history of our planet.
Deaf Family invites me to their best Guatemala dinner. Yummmm

We then returned to Cantel to meet up with Sam’s family. Sandra asked me to join her in cooking some special Guatemalan cuisine. I couldn’t say no to that offer! We made some Jocon and Caldo de res. Flor, Sandra’s daughter, made the dessert �" tres leches cake. All of us had a good laugh and great conversation during the meal. It was interesting to learn about Flor’s job as interpreter. Deaf Guatemalans always pay their interpreters for job interviews, hospital visits, work meetings, and other events. I asked her about the cost because interpreters tend to be a little pricey, and because many Guatemalans would be unlikely to afford their services. Flor said that the client usually negotiates the rates with the interpreter before the point of satisfaction is reached. The rates usually fall in the range of $3USD to $8USD per hour. She was amazed by the fact that we Americans don’t really pay for those services except for private occasions. Flor was also impressed by the relay services back home in America. We then had a discussion about Sorenson Epansol and its tri-language capabilities. She hoped that the Guatemalan government will help improve the standard of living for Deaf people in the country. It was a great end to the evening with them, having had good food and good discussions!
I definitely will miss them tomorrow when I leave in the morning at around 6 AM, for the next assignment. I greatly appreciated their hospitality and their taking excellent care of me, David, and Alvaro. I also extended my thanks to Marco who was more than willing to join us for the past three days here. Buenos Noches!
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Deaf Mayan runs his own clothing b…
Deaf Mayan runs his own clothing …
Beautiful Deaf Mayan Family
Beautiful Deaf Mayan Family
Surprise to see Taco Bell here? wi…
Surprise to see Taco Bell here? w…
Deaf Family invites me to their be…
Deaf Family invites me to their b…
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San Cristobal
photo by: joeldeafnation