November 11, 2019

by Lydia Jenkinson

We gathered this morning at 6am in the courtyard of our Rabinal hotel. Our water bottles were filled and we all had shoes on suitable for hiking. We knew our itinerary for this day was filled with meaning-filled things but I don’t believe we had any idea just how full it would be.

We began the day with a hike up the sacred hill on the north side of Rabinal. Kayup is an 800+ year old sacred place where the Rabinal people go to perform their sacred ceremonies. Oswaldo, a longtime friend of BTS and teacher at New Hope School, was our most excellent guide. It seemed to me that even the rocks moaned in solidarity as we all stood together on top of this sacred hill and space and thought about all the people who had been there in years past.

Our next stop was the Rabinal Legal Clinic. Jesus Tecu Osorio sat in a circle with us and shared several cases they have or are currently working on. He explained that the clinic takes on human rights cases, land claims and women’s rights cases. It was very difficult to hear about the violence and shame that the people (adults and children) of Rabinal have experienced over the last 30+ years. The ability of Jesus and the team at the Legal Clinic to walk with the Rabinal people through all these horrific experiences is nothing but incredible.

In the afternoon we were invited to Isabel (Jesus’ wife) home. Isabel shared her personal story of the massacre that took place in her village. The courage and strength she had and has is so powerful and radiates out from her being. She was so generous to make tortillas with us and then also made a special drink to share with us as well. Such grace!! We then had the privilege to see her beautiful weaving products. Several of us purchased items which I am sure will be very special memory items in our homes for a long time.

In the later part of the afternoon we all walked down to the cemetery. Here we met up with Jesus who directed us to several monuments and then told us of the various massacres they were erected for. The many names on plaques and paintings on the monuments helped us to see the numbers and faces of the many who died in this place and surroundings villages.
There really are no words to say how much heaviness we felt today. To hear about how so many have suffered and died in this beautiful place in Guatemala was truly heart wrenching.

May justice come soon for these people!

Read day 1
Read day 3