Goodbye Letter

This is it. My last post from Guatemala. For this last post, I want to translate into English the speech I gave for my final graduation from the mountain school. I think it says everything I want to say:

There aren’t words. There aren’t words to describe my experiences here in Guatemala, here at the escuela de la montaña. How can you describe the subtle changes inside of a heart?

I’m a gringo. I come from a country, a culture where latinos and latinas are almost invisible, as farmworkers, gardeners, maids, mechanics. Where my students who don’t speak English are treated as if they don’t have brains. We, we white folks, are so lost in our things, in our money, in our TV, in our conquests, and in our racism that we don’t listen to latina voices. We don’t listen to the powerful stories, the touching dreams, the brilliant ideas. We don’t know the history of Guatemala…we don’t even know where Guatemala is on a map.

Supposedly, I’m different. Before traveling to Guatemala, I did know much of the history of Latin America. I have read many books and almost every day I would read news from Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brasil, and Guatemala. But this was just words and paper. Actually, I wasn’t prepared for this trip.

When I arrived in Guatemala, especially when I arrived at the escuela de la montaña, I realized how much I don’t know, how much I don’t understand. I noticed many little absences in my heart that I had never recognized before. There are no words.

My time here has been so much more than the grammar and the official activities. It has been a wonderful mix of sights, experiences, jokes…and, the most important thing, relationships.

Because of y’all’s affection and because of this project, I am returning to my country a different person, with love, rage, and solidarity. And an ear that is larger and more capable of listening to latina voices.

Well then, thank you all. You will be in my heart forever.

I am crying now, in the internet cafe, just I was crying then, in the mountain school. I think, with our without visible tears, I’m going to be crying for a long while now.

Thank you all for reading and caring about me, and I hope you know how much I love you and care about you.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi