July 23, 2009
Chichicastenago, Guatemala
Elevation 2233m

Chichi is supposed to be one of the biggest markets here in Guatemala. What I have learned from my years of market hunting is that the biggest may not always be the best, sometime the random no name markets in no name towns are better (at least for me) than the ones that drawls the biggest crowds. Some friends of mine loves market day at Chichi, while others are less than impressed. No matter, I am gonna check it out anyways.

The market is mostly craft. I must say that I am not impressed. Its alright, at least I tried.

I end up in the main church here in Chichi. There is still another couple of hours before my bus heads back to Antigua, I am literally seeking sanctuary from the vendors and the sun.

There are these low wooden risers all through the center isle, covered in flower pedals and candles. I watch this old man kneel by one and repeat his prayers over and over and over as he light one candle after another and sticks them on to the wood flats. There are women chanting, there are other prayers being prayed, it all intermingles and it echoes through the church. Yet this old man’s raspy whispered prayer some how rises above them all, in the midst of it, I close my eyes and send up a prayer of my own.

I watch him some more and take a photo on the sly (photos are not allowed in the church, lucky for you I don’t do too well w rules). He brings out a small bottle of alcohol and pours some on wooden riser, around the candles and flowers. He is finally done, but he is having trouble getting up. Bad knees and stiff joints, I could almost hear them crack. I wanted to go over there and help him but I didn’t want to offend or let on that I have been observing.

Something about these last few minutes of watching is old man pray really touched me. This is what I will take away with me from this market day…

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