Chapter 19.7 – History and Hospitality

Guatemala! A new chapter in the adventure. I have a good friend who was born and raised in this beautiful country. He decided to return for a visit and graciously offered for his friends to come along. Three of us took him up on the offer.

We arrived to Guatemala City on a Sunday afternoon. Hubi’s older brother drove us the three hours back to the family home over rustic bouncy roads. There were rolling hills and mountains along the way. In the midst of one of the scenic views we stopped at a local restaurant on the side of a hill. The restaurant was made of wood with a roof of palm branches laid intricately together creating a thatch. A colorful meal was laid before us of ceviche, fresh orange juice, guacamole, and a whole trout for each traveler.

Three hours later, the family home had a crowd of people waiting to welcome our caravan with hugs and warm smiles. His mother a beautiful older woman, still with jet black hair, was hospitable and attentive offering us food, drink, and comfortable beds.

The home itself was made of concrete and rectangular in shape. Colorful paint adorns the walls, giving it a cheerful atmosphere. In the center of the home is an open air greenery with an array of plants, flowers, and one tall papaya tree poking up above the rooftop. Indoor and outdoor space is intertwined seamlessly. The square around the courtyard has doors entering different bedrooms. To the side of the yard is a small cooking area with a wood burning range where they cook fresh tortillas. Opposite of this, there is a concrete basin of water for brushing teeth and doing laundry by hand.

The family business is in one of the rooms to the front of the home. A small convenience store for the neighborhood offering snacks, drinks, and an array of house goods. If you open yet another door from the center yard you arrive to the back of the home where you are greeted by a flock of chickens, a rooster and a friendly white dog. To the left is a large bee hive where the family gets fresh honey.

In the morning we wake to the crow of the rooster and are quickly served the bounty of the farm. Fresh ground home made tortillas that will ruin me for all tortillas of the future. Eggs from the family chickens, freshly made cheese and black beans were a colorful and extremely taste filled way to start our day.

As we sit and eat we notice the wall of family pictures in front of us. Years of history and love displayed across the kitchen and living room walls. Hubi pointed out members of the family and told the stories surrounding them. Each member with the same jet black hair. It is clear that just like the courtyard is the center of the house, family is the center of this home.

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New Yorker, photographer, blogger, and life time dreamer.