So far, the past two days have been packed with a lot of sunshine and hard work. On Tuesday, Gianna and Linda spent the morning and afternoon digging and collecting organic dirt for the Maya Tradition herbal garden. They traveled via pick-up truck to the small village of San Andres. With the help of a local landowner and his workers, they cleared and loaded nutrient-rich dirt into a truck and brought it back to Pana and the Foundation’s garden. It was a great experience getting to know the workers and seeing a completely different town but boy was it tiring!
Anisah, Jenny, and Aarti learned to make herbal creams with traditional Mayan medicine techniques. The herbal creams, consisting of herbs Santo Domingo and Chilca, were made to treat rashes and skin allergies. They were additionally able to converse with the native gardener and discuss the origin of holistic homeopathic Maya medicine and why it is important to preserve such knowledge gathered over the years. An important take-away point from the discussion was that while herbal medicine is proven to work because it has been the sole treatment for common, known illnesses (i.e., sore throats, stomachaches) throughout the Lake Atitlan communities for several decades, the spiritual aspect of herbal medicine also plays a significant role in the potency of the alternative treatment. Also the discussion stemmed questions of the effectiveness and effects of western medicine.
Erin and Kira started their first weaving class, and throughout the week, we will continue to weave and hopefully have a beautifully woven scarf by the end. This kind of weaving is called back strap weaving is the main method used by cooperatives that Maya Traditions supports. It is definitely difficult and takes time and patience to complete. We’ll see how it goes next week!
At the end of the day, we all had pot-luck dinner with a Maya Tradition friend at her house and enjoyed traditional Israel food and the food we prepared. We had an interesting discussion about facebook and social media.
Today, a couple of us spent the morning in the garden and helped clear out the pathways for future tours. We spent the rainy afternoon indoors and working on a booklet of Mayan medicinal plants in order to share them with tourists. We also had the opportunity to have lunch with the president of Maya Traditions, Murray, where he explained to us the creation of this foundation! La sopa de pollo was delicioso!
Day by day, we are adjusting to the easy-going Guatemalan lifestyle and are enjoying the daily walks through the markets of Panajachel. We will begin building a fence for the garden tomorrow and will be heading for Antigua over the weekend.
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