There is an idea in many places of the world that some lives are more important than others. I for one, stand against this idea.
To my understanding, we are all children of the same creator. Over the many years, Adriane Kim and I have been among the Mayan people, we have met scores of kind and loving people who are helping to improve the plight of forgotten people; who are living in the margins, trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty.
Occasionally, you run across an entire group of people who have so oppressed, they have forgotten who they are.
Sometimes, you must step in and dismantle Messages of Disgrace that get in the way - so the individual soul can feel its worth.
You see, you don't hold up a bar and tell people to measure up to it. Instead you hold up a mirror and say - You are exactly who God intended you to be when he made you. And then you step back, and watch people begin to reside in that truth. And eventually, through a process of interactions and time they actually become that truth!
With this transformation intact... - No fire can destroy it! - No bullet can pierce it! Death cannot touch it! And no man-made boundary can keep you in or keep you out!
Our first meeting with a few artisans in Chisec.
Many years ago, in Chisec Guatemala, we started working with a group of people who, we had been told, were local artisans. There were potential Wood Carvers, Weavers, Purse Makers and Gourd Painters. As we visited with each person in their home, we asked them to make a sample of their products for us. We needed to assess what they were making in order to help them find domestic and foreign markets to sell their artistic creations.
A few days later we returned to the homes of each artesian, to pick up the products they had made. With one exception, as we looked at the crafts being presented to us it was next to impossible to find anything good to say about the items we were looking at. The products were poorly constructed and uncomely in appearance Because of the lack of workmanship and imagination would be impossible to these products to anyone anywhere in Guatemala, not to mention any place else in the world.
It was instantly and painfully apparent, the trauma and devastation that had ravaged theirs lives in the 36-year long revolutions was much worse than we had previously thought. It had not only left many of these beautiful people isolated and destitute; much their culture had been replaced by the daily need to scavenge for food and the fear of their crudely constructed shelters, again being destroyed by the marauding forces of opposing armies.
All their hopes had been left behind and were still smoldering in the ashes of hate; the original fires having been lit, fueled and spread by the greed of foreigners using misguided and misleading propaganda among the already impoverished Mayan people.
Like so many millions of people, caught in the crossfire of revolution, many of the people in Chisec region had completely forgotten who they were and from whence they came.
We had a real dilemma on our hands.
We determined to leave the area for a week or so and visit some friends in the wood carving village of El Ramate in the Northern part of the Guatemala; The quality of their designs and workmanship are recognized as some of the finest in the world. We also visited with Purse Makers, Lap Loom Weavers, Guacal Gourd Painters and Crotched Frisbee Makers in other locations of the country. As we traveled, we gather samples of products to show the people in Chisec.
Before we departed we asked our dear friend Nixon Lima, to help organize a meeting with the artesian we had originally met with in Chisec - We told him we would be back 8 days. Nixon organized the meeting and invited the potential artists to come to a beautiful place on the outskirts of the Chisec for a meeting.
When Adriane and I returned we went to the previously agreed upon meeting location and set up 2 large 8' tables with the samples we had purchased from some our friends in other locations in Guatemala.
As the Chisec artists arrived, we watched with wonderment as they went to the tables and picked up the items one by one and studied them over and over again. After about 30 minutes we asked Nixon to help us tell our new friends in Chisec, in their native Q'eqchi language, about the products they had been studying and who had made them. As he translated our words from Spanish into their native Mayan Dialect - We helped them understand the beautifully crafted products they were looking at had been made by other Mayans who were of their same ancestry. We explained the quality of the products reflected the pride the makers had in their work as they expressed their natural God given talents. That was all that needed to be said. We all shared in a wonderful lunch and went our separate ways.
You see the people in the Chisec region had been isolated and much maligned during the 36 year long, bloody revolution war in Guatemala. The people hid in caves and the jungles suffering unspeakable atrocities. Even though the revolution officially ended in 1996 – many of the people in the Chisec region of Guatemala remained isolated and hidden until 2006. They were broken! They had almost completely forgotten who they truly were.
A few days later we visited each artist again in their homes. The changes in the quality and workmanship were miraculous. They had looked into God's mirror and had seen themselves in a new light. For the first time in many of their lives they saw themselves as God had created them to be. They believed what they saw.