Sunday, October 12, 2008

back from the village

I'm back from a few days in Campanario. Jess stayed in San Cristóbal to work, and I headed out with my notebook, recorder, and over 100 photos from the inauguration of the Catholic church to be distributed to various parents and god-parents of baptized and confirmed children. Campanario looks like this:
Virginia, the woman I have been staying with since I first started going to Campanario, really liked her pictures. But then looking through the rest, explained to me that I had taken pictures not only of nice families, but also of some not-so-nice families, and now we were going to have to go give them out. Oops. (The picture below includes some members of the family I stay with, and the bishop in his funny hat.)

She asked how much I was planning to charge for the pictures, and I said nothing, they would just be gifts. (They only cost me 2 pesos each to develop.) But she explained that you don't just
give out photos as gifts... especially not to the not-nice families. (Usually the photographers who come for things like school graduations charge 15 pesos a photo.) I insisted I would just give them away, so she then explained that some of these not-so-nice ladies, when I had first come to the village, and said things like "what is that güera doing here?" (she knows I don't really like being called güera, feminine "whitey") and "why don't they tell her to go back to where she came from?". So we agreed that I would charge 5 pesos and in the end we split the earnings. Picture distributing, and the gossip surrounding it, occupied a good chunk of my trip, and I got to visit with some people who I've never really met before. It was lots of fun and I am becoming fairly competent in Chol chatting.

The family also really enjoyed the story of the abandoned puppy, which made me wonder if I should have brought it to them. But then last night (tamale night), we bought tamales from the family who adopted the puppy and they say she is doing well and eating lots. I think she will enjoy city life.

Virginia also wanted to know all about the house we are staying in in San Cristóbal. Is it a whole house you're renting? or just a room? You have to clean the whole house? I said yes, and she looked at me with some surprise. You sweep it yourself? You do the laundry? I think because I have shown myself to be so incompetent in some basic areas of women's work–carrying water on my head, making tortillas, washing clothes on rocks in streams–it is hard to believe that I can take care of my own home. I explained that yes, I did, but we have a washing machine so it is easier. She wanted to know if Jess also did these things. Did he cook? I said he did. She looked at me suspiciously. Did he wash the dishes? Sometimes. I had to lie when she asked if he swept, because I think the idea of a husband sweeping would be just to much to handle, and would make me look like a bad wife.

In keeping with the theme of cute animal pictures, here are some who hang
around Virginia's kitchen. Chickens aren't especially cute after they lose their baby fluff, but snuggling with cats helps.


Laurel said...

k' cha'an hingi cha a kot shmis

not bad, eh?

Jessica said...