Sr. Liza: Life in Chisguachín
We continue to travel around San Sebastian to get to know the people, customs and especially the needs. The needs are many and very steep, even for just the basics such as food enough to feed a family. Once I am clearer on how we can build some outreach in this area, I will put something together for us to look at.
I’ve been writing about all the surrounding areas I have visited. However I have not written about my own little corner in San Sebastian. Let me get to it.
I live in the village of Chisguachín. It is located about 2.5 miles outside of San Sebastian. We are at approximately 2,800 meters (about 9,186 feet) above sea level. Our close neighbor, the super sleeping volcano Tajumulco is at 4,222 meters or 13,851 feet above sea level. I hear it’s very cold and desolate at the top. People do pilgrimages to the top. I have not had the courage as of yet.
There are no main roads leading up or in the surrounding areas of Chisguachín. All our roads are made of stone, laid down by the local people. Repairs to our roads you say? Just the people of our village. Once someone sees a hole forming, a few of the farmers get together early in the morning and fix it. This is a heavy volcanic area, so rocks and stones abound.
As you can imagine, we don’t have much traffic. However, once in a while a big truck will go by to deliver goods. And yes, that is a Pepsi truck. As you can see, we have most products, even Pepsi. Good thing no cars were coming down the road or we would have had a traffic jam in Chisguachín.
Chisguachín is an exclusively agricultural area. Sometimes the crops turn out, sometimes they don’t. The people suffer terribly if there is a mishap with weather or their crops. People plant potatoes, corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, squash and other leafy vegetables I have not identified yet. Right now, everyone has cleared their plots and has begun to plant their next crop. Our next door neighbors have been busy for weeks. Everything is done by hand, the clearing, the rows, the planting, everything.
No animals are used to clear the land. The land looks brown for miles around the hills now. Sunday is no exception. Everyone is out checking their plots, watering and cleaning.
We are now getting ready to move into Lent. It will be a new experience for us Sisters. We are sure there are more cultural customs to learn during the upcoming season. That is life for now in Chisguachín. I would like to wish each of you a very blessed and holy Lenten season.