Upon first glance, these Mayan people are charming as hell. "Oh, the Mayans, and their ancient culture. Their typical clothing, and their native languages, their cute brown babies running the streets" are among some of the things I have said and thought. However after months of living here, I have seen all sides, and now I only look at these people in disgust.
My ability to post photos was stolen the other day, from my house, in broad daylight as my brother and I ate dinner in a nearby restaurant. A group of little shits climbed over my front door/gate and stole my backpack sitting on a bench, inside the bag was my camera. My camera had every single photo I have taken since living here. Gone.
This robbery comes only two short weeks after our house was broken into as we slept one night and my former roommates $7000 computer was stolen(she is a videojournalist, her only reason for traveling with something so expensive). That was her second computer stolen in her time in Guatemala. She will likely not return to finish the documentary. "Why am I here helping these people when this is what they do to me?" she said the morning after discovering her second computer was gone. I could not agree more amiga.
These people steal every chance they get. Charging us more for the same bus ride as the locals/other natives, charging us more for the same damn food in the market. Looking us up and down before quoting a price for anything, just to make sure they can milk us for every single Quetzal(Guatemalan currency)they can squeeze out of us. My same friend whom had her computer stolen, had her clothes and shoes stolen as her and her brother swam in some natural limestone pools in the jungles here. Gone for ten minutes and when they returned, no clothes and shoes. Clothes and shoes! They stop at nothing.
If you can even believe this madness, you are probably asking yourselves why I am choosing to live like this. I am not going to as of August 17. I have had a trip to North Africa planned, with my departure from Guatemala being August 17. The plan was to return to Guatemala after my two months in Africa, but I won´t. I cannot and will not live like this.
I cannot pass any natives in the streets with any inkling of a positive thought. I´m looking at every 14-year-old boy, looking for my backpack on his back. Saying Hola to these people is not something I really do anymore. I do not want to live with this resentment and bitterness, thus, it´s time to move on. Barbers without borders will be crossing this border to likely never return.
I know as well as anyone, that robberies happen everywhere. But it´s the particular way of thievery here that I will not tolerate. They think we are all rich beyond our wildest dreams and they can steal all they want, because we have endless riches to buy to more. Unfortunately, money cannot buy back my 8 months of photos.
It is racist, plain and simple. As victims of racism, I would think the Mayans wouldn´t perpetuate more, but it seems to be all they know. This place will not develop, ever, if these people keep up with their own cycle of repression. Ripping off the very people that are trying to help them break free of their dysfunctional lifestyle.
Maybe you are also asking yourselves, why not stay and help? Once you give here, they just take more, something I have learned the hard way. People like me come here, our heads swimming with ideas and intentions to help. After time, and disappointment after disappointment, 95% of us gain my current attitude. We can´t even help these people, they do not include us, they do not respect us. They use us and spit us out, with their hands in our pockets the entire time. I´m sure there are success stories with helping native Mayans, but I have not heard any except in story books. Every single expatriate that I know with real time spent here in San Pedro, has little if nothing to do with the natives due to endless negative experiences. Not to mention a deep bitterness attached to it.
This place has broken my heart. Nothing looks the same here, nothing feels the same. And to be very honest, this place doesn´t deserve me.