Felt quite sad as I talked to Maria about her illiteracy and how sad that was, and how her daughter is illiterate and her sons can read a little. 30% of Guatemalans are illiterate. I find that to be incredible. Maria is not that much older than me (19 years); I am still astonished that someone from the previous generation could not read. I had never thought about how hard it must be to handle this world if you couldn’t read signs, forms, words on TV… I passed a billboard showing three women holding their stained thumbs i.e. an advertisement to encourage voting. I felt sad that people had to use finger-prints and not pen-markings to cast their vote. Part of me wants to drop everything and find volunteer work for adult literacy programs, or programs that promote reading amongst children…but I would need to be fluent in Spanish in order to do that :(
I had forgotten to talk about the steep terrain at Chichicastenango and how I felt about that, especially in the context of being with other people. I was surprised by how easy it was for me to explain my difficulties (just a basic, “I have a slight disability that makes walking, especially up and down inclines, a bit challenging”) and that being completely sufficient an explanation for people. On the otherhand, I was in the company of an older, slightly unfit Irish lady, so it wasn’t like I was holding her back.