Last week I traveled with 17 people from First United Methodist Church of Seattle (where I work) to work with Project Salud y Paz, a medical and dental mission in Guatemala. Guatemala is a beautiful country and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to visit. I’m sharing a few photos and memories from the week here on the blog.
After stopping to tour in Antigua we headed to the city of Chichicastenango. This mountain town is vibrant and colorful and I especially loved experiencing the elements of Mayan culture that were present in the city and the famous Chichi market, one of the biggest markets in Guatemala. We had the experience of staying in Chichi all week so I got to know the city fairly well; I’d go back in a heartbeat!
The Church of Santo Tomas/Church of the Living and El Calvario Church/Church of the Dead (pictured above) are fascinating fusions of Catholic and Mayan religions. They are across from each other—The Church of the Living is on the east side of the street where the sun rises, and the Church of the Dead is on the west side of the street where the sun sets.
To me, these two churches of Chichi were more beautiful than the churches in Antigua. Something about these dark candlelit churches appealed to me more than all the shining gold. Simple wooden platforms sat in the center aisles covered in remnants of melted candle wax and flickering candles, and graced with scattered flower petals. The ancient artwork was covered over with years of smoke, barely visible, in need of restoration. The steps leading up to both churches were old and worn. The white-washed exteriors contrasted with the dark wooden panels and benches inside. Depth in simplicity; beauty in disrepair; full of mystery and meaning.
I bought some fabric from a shop in Chichi on a non-market day, and I’ve already used some of my fabric to make curtains for our new house. I’ll have more snapshots from the market to share later!
See all the posts about Guatemala here.