I met a new friend named Carol who works for Servants 4 Him in and around Antigua, Guatemala. After supper last night I was trying to get Grace to fall asleep and was wishing that I had brought my Moby wrap. Carol said that the women in the villages that she ministers in have asked her “Why don’t American women like their babies?” She asked why they thought that and the women replied “Because they leave them at home when they go to the market or to work. They also kick the children out of their homes as soon as they turn 18. Our children stay in our homes until they get married and even then our sons usually bring their wife home to live with us.” Carol explained that American women do in fact like their children, they just prefer to be hassle free in the market. Also she told them that in America we like our children to become independent of us and have homes of their own. We like to spend time with them, just not all in one house all of the time. In the villages here the women pretty much toss their baby on their back and wrap a blanket around themselves to hold the baby on. They carry them around all day no matter what they’re doing. This goes on until the child is at least two years old. Children in villages here don’t really ever crawl. They just go straight to walking. I asked Carol if she knew why they did this and she said the women think the ground is too dirty for the kids to walk on.
It’s easy to look at the ways that people here do things and think they are silly or weird, but it makes sense to them. In a village where clean bathing water is hard to come by it does make sense to not let their children crawl around on the ground. I personally LOVE having my own home and get a little overwhelmed when I spend long periods of time with any friends or family other than my husband and children (and even then I need to get away ). But you could argue that the Guatemalans have it right. They are more concerned with quality time with family then getting their children to the right college or the right job. They are almost never too busy to have a conversation with you. I’m excited to see what God will teach me through Guatemalan culture. I’m planning on taking a trip with Carol into some of the villages that she goes to as part of my language learning!