Postcard from Guatemala : DREAM, TRAVEL, REFLECT
"Traveling ~ it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller."         ~Ibn Battuta

Postcard from Guatemala

by Patricia Thayer on 08/23/20

"¡Esos no son mis hijos!!" ("Those are not my children!")  the Guatemalan mother calls out to me, grinning widely.  

While relaxing in the central plaza of a small, peaceful village in Guatemala, I admire a mother and her four young children.  They are doing the family laundry in the open-air pila, a communal wash basin at the edge of the plaza, laughing and chatting among themselves as they work.  I very much want to take their picture, but approach cautiously.  Speaking Spanish haltingly, I first compliment the mother on her beautiful and helpful children.  Then I ask if I can take a picture of them with my camera.  The mother smiles and asks her children.  The four eagerly agree . . . for a price.  They name their fee, and as I am getting the money out of my bag, four children surround me with hands outstretched.  I proceed to pay them.  Immediately, I  hear a commotion from the pila.  Looking up, I see four squealing children and their grinning mother yelling, "Esos no son mis hijos!"  At this, the other children run away laughing with money in hand.  But a deal is a deal, so I pay the young entrepreneurs to pose for my photo as I join in their laughter.  As I part, I  hear the mother and her children still laughing and chatting among themselves as they resume their work, now with something new to laugh and talk!  Why do I travel?  To share laughter and good humor with others wherever I am in the world.  (July 2004)

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"Why do you travel?" asked a friend as I was preparing for a summer trip to Guatemala.  At the 
time, I replied, "To see the world," or some such trite response.  It is a difficult question because 
I don't have just one answer.  But the question deserves a better response so I decided to write down my reasons in the form of "postcards".  These postcards are an ongoing attempt to answer the question posed by my friend those many years ago. I hope they will encourage you to enrich 
your life through more travel experiences and find your own answers to this question.  
Dream ~ Travel ~ Reflect