Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - 2014
Educational Purpose: My goal for this trip was to experience the spiritual heart of the Mayan people and to study their language. Part of that involved getting out of my comfort zone, traveling to various parts of the country by various means. Highlights for this trip include studying the indigenous
K'iche' language, participating in a traditional Mayan ceremony as well as a cacao ceremony, ascending the pyramids, looking for crocodiles, learning to play the sidewinder wooden flute, meditating in the woods, and learning to read the ancient writing system.
The K'iche' name for the city of Quetzaltenango is Xelajuj No'j ("Xela" for short), which means "under ten wisdoms" or "under ten rulers." Some have also translated it as "under ten mountains" because the word for mountain, no'j, is the same as the word for wisdom. One legend has it that in ancient times, the ruler of the settlement decided to call upon nine of his most trusted advisors to help him govern more wisely, making the total number of rulers equal to ten (the K'iche' word for ten is lajuj). Thus, in the spirit of lajuj (which is also my birth number as given by the Mayan calendar), you'll see my photos categorized by the ten locations I visited, representing the ten sources of wisdom that governed my travels in all of Guatemala, the country which the K'iche' call Iximulew ("Land of Corn").