The village of Aguacatán is so small, it’s not even on this map below. It should be marked in the department of Huehuetenango, bordering Mexico to its north and west. If you go there on market day, though, you’ll see that Aguacatán is a bustling village, where the women continue to wear their traditional huipiles, cortes, and the lovely headdresses.
As you may have guessed, the name “Aguacatán” comes from their abundance of aguacates, or avocados. Sounds delicious, right? But when I was walking through their Sunday market, avocados weren’t what caught my eye. Rather, what stood out to me were the cheerful local women wearing their Sunday Best with big curious smiles, surely wondering what this strange foreigner was doing in her town.
Let’s take a moment to remember that the indigenous Mayans in Guatemala have been marginalized for centuries, and that the violent Civil War left the Western Highlands devastated. Though poverty is widespread in the entire country, Huehuetenango is considered to be part of the “poverty belt.” So it’s almost incredible to be welcomed with so many smiles in this lovely village. Not all indigenous villages are so cheerful, as life continues to be a struggle for much of rural Guatemala.
It’s a pleasure to report that my visit to the village of Aguacatán was wonderful. The people were so friendly, and even agreed happily to have their photos taken (especially the women, who were very proud of their best outfits). I hope that these photos can offer a little glimpse of this welcoming village.
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